Pre-Insulin treatment of diabetes: the non-pharmaceutical approach

My first introduction to diabetes specialist Richard K. Bernstin was from a YouTube video in which he debates registered dietician Hope Warshaw.  Berstein handily puts Ms. Warshaw in her place. It is no injustice to Warshaw to characterize her approach to diabetes treatment as a pharmaceutical approach: “The vast majority of people with diabetes need medication.” But Berstein says, “Large doses of insulin don’t work in a predictable fashion.” Berstein’s solution is to greatly limit the intake of carbohydrate and protein, and to permit the patient to eat fat to make up any calorie deficit. This is quite clearly because protein and carbohydrate require an insulin response. But as he explains in his book, Diabetes Solution, the absorption rate of doses of insulin above 7 cc is unpredictable, and therefore it is necessary to keep numbers low: small amounts predictable quantities of protein and carbohydrate accompanied by small doses of insulin will help type 1 diabetics (and type 2 diabetics needing insulin) to maintain glucose control. In this manner, a type 1 diabetic has the best ability to eliminate diabetic complications and to live out a full and healthy life. Thus, Bernstein recommends that both type 1 and type 2 diabetics eat no more than 30 gm of carbohydrate, and also only enough protein in the diet to provide satiation.

Thus, Bernstein’s approach puts nutrition on equal footing with pharma–indeed, a higher footing in the case of type 2 diabetics and “prediabetics”  who can often control their diabetes through diet alone.

Now Berstein’s approach is fully integrative of the old and the new.  It is entirely reductionist to believe as Warshaw that a pharmaceutical approach will make it possible for diabetics to eat what she calls healthy carbohydrates, e.g., fruit and whole grains.  While diabetics may “deserve” to be able to eat such things, before insulin, treatments of diabetes recognized the toxic nature of carbohydrate and protein in the diet, and therefore, placed very strict limits on the quantity of each.

In the pre-insulin study, The Starvation Treatment of Diabetes (1915), Massachusett’s General Hospital physicians, Hill and Eckman, explain their treatment of both adult (type 2) and juvenile (type 1) diabetes. The therapy consisted of starving diabetic patients on a strict diet of coffee and whiskey until they  stopped peeing sugar. At that point, they would gradually introduce extremely limited carbohydrate and protein into the diet of their patients until once again they urinated glucose, at which point they would once again cut back protein and carbohydrate from their diet to the point that sugar no longer appeared in the urine tests. The bulk of the calories which the patients would need for their daily energy requirements would come from fat. The whiskey therapy is a curiosity, but we can now scientifically verify its usefulness: the liver busily converts the alcohol to triglycerides (fat), thus reducing concomitantly the liver’s production of glucose from protein (gluconeogenisis). Now, when the patients left the hospital, their dietary profile might look something like:  “Carbohydrate, 20 grams. Protein, 40 grams. Fat, 200 grams.”  This equals 80 calories from carbohydrate, 160 calories from protein, and 1800 calories from fat for a total, 2040 calories: certainly enough to live on. These numbers are similar to those in Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution.  Only today, we can also add drug therapy to greater enhance glucose control.

In 1922, 14-year old Leonard Thompson, was the first patient to insulin to treat his diabetes. This was an unquestionable breakthrough in diabetes treatment, and insulin treatment is undoubtedly, along with antibiotics for the treatment of infectious diseases, what has greatly established the reputation of the medical profession today. Child patients, who would otherwise die within a brief time, could now live into adulthood, and even carry out a normal life, almost. A devastating consequence of this breakthrough is the vast ignorance of the dieticians regarding the toxic effect of carbohydrate in the diet of diabetics.  As Warshaw suggests, just take insulin, and you can eat the food you deserve.  This approach has led diabetics to suffer decades of diabetic complications and death, because of still uncontrolled blood sugars.  Berstein, in his own testimony (in Diabetes Solution), said that he developed his method in order to eliminate the multitude of diabetic complications from which he suffered, and his method has been very successful.

How great has the supplanting of the dietary approach been?  In her Diabetic Cookery (1917), Dr. Ruth Oppenheimer lists baking ingredients that even the internet knows not from what they are made: Casoid flour and Aleuronat flour. She writes regarding the former:

Casoid takes the first rank as a flour for diabetics, and therefore a special chapter is devoted to its use in the preparation of Bread, Muffins, Desserts, etc. Casoid, to a great extent, has solved the problem which confronts the cook as to a substitute for wheat bread, and, as a diabetic naturally craves bread, the substitute must come as near to the real article as possible.

Oppenheimer also employed ground almond, which is the most common substitution for wheat in today’s Wheat Belly cookbooks, and she claims that Casoid flour is better. So why would Casoid and Aleuronat flour have disappeared from our usage and knowledge? My guess is that apparently no one still saw the need for the best substitutions for wheat flour, because diabetics could, as of 1922, eat standard bread and shoot themselves with insulin. They weren’t going to die right away. But eventually, with such an approach, their unregulated blood sugar levels would cause them to die either of a diabetic coma from fatally low blood sugar or too high regular blood sugar which leads to such complications as retinopathy, kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, to name a few. Clearly, an integrative approach, which implements the strict dietary approach of the pre-insulin treatment and judicious usage of insulin and other drug therapies, is superior. Hats off to Dr. Berstein!

BMI: Body Mass Index and the reification of a mathematical formula that makes health professionals look stupid and philosophically unscientific

Health professionals:  Please, stop using BMI as a means of assessing the health of patients and clients.  Everyone can look at a person and see if he or she is overweight, obese, morbidly obese, or underweight and in need of some muscle and fat on their bones.  But when you apply arbitrary numbers into a formula, you’ve created an abstraction, and when you use it to assess whether a person is underweight, normal, overweight, or obese, you are guilty of reificiation (for those professionals who have never heard this word, please, it is a logical fallacy).

My BMI is 32.  I am thus obese, as you can see from my recent photo:

slimmer me

Oops.  I am not supposed to look like that.  Here is what I’m supposed to look like (slightly smaller than the guy on the right):

It is time to dispense with BMI.  Stop using it because it makes you sound stupid, philosophically unsophisticated and intellectually lazy.  Is that what you want?

Sugar: The bitter truth, by Robert H. Lustig

This is my counter to all my Facebook friends who share sugary recipes.  Dr. Robert H. Lustig is the intellectual heir Dr. John Yudkin, who proved the toxicity of sugar in early 1970s in his book Pure White and Deadly.  Sugar contributes to health problems like obesity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, MS, mental problems including depression, and inflammation.  This is just the beginning of woes.

Paternalism and how it works

This post first appeared at the Isaac Brock Society.

Bayaka pygmies in Central African Republic, photo by Peter W. Dunn

I have been reflecting over the last few days on the question of paternalism as a type of leadership. I talked this over with my next door neighbor from Burkina Faso with a PhD from Laval University (Quebec), as he has some experience in Africa with paternalistic leadership styles. His own country is a former colony of France and continues within a neocolonial, paternalistic relationship with France, and he also experiences paternalism in his church-missionary relationships. Here are the main points that he and I discussed (though I am entirely responsible for this write-up):

  1. A relationship of protection: In a paternal relationship, the superior party is more powerful than the inferior and is therefore able to provide protection, benefits or honors to the inferior party in exchange for obedience. However, in paternalism, the superior forces the inferior to accept this protection. The Canadian government forced the children of aboriginal people into residential schools. The inferior must accept this protection and usually has no choice in the matter, because with disobedience comes the withdrawal of protection, loss of privileges, or even violent punishment. Continue reading

These are the Neanderthals that claim the right to tax you no matter where you live

Some Americans disturb me. Yesterday, a commenter told me to eff-off on my timeline on Facebook. I had expressed opinions at Think Progress that he didn’t appreciate so he came over and told me to eff myself (but he used the real f-word). Later he took down his comment. Still, we cannot judge an entire country on the basis of isolated trolls on the internet, who may only be interested writing offensive comments in order to piss you off. However, some months ago, I received from a former US government employee a private email that mocked me because I am a Christian. Of course, this same man also scorned my views on his own blog (without mentioning me or the Isaac Brock Society by name), but to take it to the level of sending me a taunt to my personal email is somehow barbaric. This former government employee undoubtedly has a very high opinion of himself. But why do these Americans drop the level of conversation to a child’s game, whereby they get their five-year old jollies? The man that told me to eff-off on Facebook claimed that he represented the majority of Americans, judging by the last two presidential elections. So alleged US persons, please meet your persecutor: the Obama voter.

These Neanderthals elected the Obama regime, the same regime that enacted the HIRE Act (2010) with its FATCA provisions. These are the same Neanderthals that are telling Canadian citizens that they must cross the border with a US passport, then entrapping them with FATCA into paying taxes to the US Treasury, in violation of the Master Nationality Rule. But what makes us think that these cavemen would understand international law when they don’t even understand their own laws? Insisting that a Canadian citizen cross the border with a US passport is a clear violation of that person’s right to expatriate, a fundamental right. They should be saying, “Sir, if you have relinquished your US citizenship, you need to inform the US Consulate nearest you and obtain a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.” But instead they act like total prats and say, “You are an American until we tell you that you aren’t!” Well actually, sir, that is not what the law says. The law says that a person who commits a relinquishing act with intent is no longer an American–it is not a question of whether they have informed a US State Department, and you would know that if you weren’t an imbecile. But how can we expect the Neanderthals who guard the border to know the law when their counterparts at the State Department are such ignoramuses? Here are some comments yesterday at Isaac Brock from MyKitty (emphasis mine):

I had my appointment at the U.S. embassy … and it didn’t go well.

Just a recap – I am a dual citizen by birth (us/can). I worked for the federal government. I requested a CLN backdated to when I began working for the government. I had the contents of my employee file, including the oath that I signed.

I was told that the only way a dual citizen by birth could get rid of U.S. citizenship was to 1) renounce 2) commit an act of treason.

Has anyone else been told this?

The agent told me that she was going to recommend that my request be denied. I insisted that she send all of my documentation to the lawyers in Washington anyway. She said she had denied three of these cases recently. …

I don’t think the agent even knew of 4(a) and/or 4(b) of the Section 349 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1481).

MyKitty did the right thing. Stand your ground! When you go to the US Consulate you must know your rights and the law, because you can’t expect those who receive a full-time salary from the US government to know them. They have violated one of the oldest principles of common law in the English-speaking world: those who enforce the law must know the law. But these American enforcers are dumb and dumber. And this has caused them to become international rights violators of the first order: by denying the Universal Human Right to change one’s nationality.

In 2010, I first learned of the construction of the New Berlin Wall, a provision to tax citizens who relinquish their US citizenship whose wealth exceeds US $2,000,000. This law, called HEROES Act, made me so angry that I decided then and there that I would expatriate, and applied for Canadian citizenship immediately. On February 28, 2011, I became a Canadian and filed, in June, 2012, my final tax forms (2011 1040; Form 8854); I managed to stay well below the $2,000,000 dollar threshold. (One must relinquish citizenship and file the final forms only after receiving the CLN.) Adios, America!

This post originally appeared at the Isaac Brock Society.

While I was preparing to relinquish, it was only when I learned about FBAR and then later FATCA that I became panicky. I experienced many of the symptoms about which many of our readers complain after learning: stress, panic attacks, sleepless nights, weight gain. I especially felt the indignation of becoming a targeted, oppressed person abused by a country which was out of control. This country abuses its expats but considers itself superior to everyone else, and so condemns the only other country with citizenship-based taxation, Eritrea. This is hypocritical to say the least, but I doubt that the average policy maker in the US even is aware of the contradiction. Even the average elite student, who thinks he or she is smarter than everyone else, isn’t nearly as damn smart as she thinks she is. Consider the following question: What is the capital of Canada? Do you think that the elite students at Harvard should know the capital of Canada? Harvard is America’s most prestigious institution, the alma mater of Obama, Bush, and Kennedy. Well, these Harvard students themselves think they should know it, judging by their embarrassed responses:

Americans are not nearly as smart as they think they are. And this is an extremely volatile situation: arrogant ignorance is the worst kind. Finally, I want to apologize for calling these Americans Neanderthals, because it is an insult to the true Neanderthals.