There is been a lot of data coming out about diabetes. Obviously, it gets heavy focus from researchers. Rates have been worsening for the entire 20th century and into the 21st with the majority of the American population now being diabetic, prediabetic, or insulin resistant. But recently, there is some evidence that the rise is finally leveling out, maybe even dipping down a bit.
One could argue that the emerging public debate about and popularity of low-carb diets might finally be having an impact. On the other hand, the data is mixed. Diabetes is getting worse for the young. And it is happening earlier in life. That is the strange part. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes. Yet this condition, once rare among children and young adults, has become increasingly common. And type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, whereas it is presently found in 42% over the age of 30.
A distinction between these two types is that type 1 diabetes was assumed to be primarily genetic. If that were true, we wouldn’t be seeing the pattern of diabetes increasing the most in type 1. It turns out that we’ve found that both types respond to dietary changes and lifestyle interventions (incidences of type 1 diabetes fell by 60% during WWII because of food scarcity). Many with the genetic predisposition of type 1 diabetes aren’t getting it until late in life, which indicates that what triggers the predisposition might be dependent on other factors.
This confusion can cause further problems. The two types can be mistaken for the other. Children with type 2 diabetes sometimes get misdiagnosed with type 1 and vice versa for adults with type 1. That can harm the patient, since how they are treated is different. Further complicating the situation is the realization that insulin resistance also plays a role in Alzheimher’s, what some are now calling type 3 diabetes.
As with the other two, diet and lifestyle have been proven to improve or even reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms. The same changes that are useful for treating all types of diabetes are also useful for nearly every health condition imaginable. So, despite all the uncertainty and disagreement, we do know this much. A low-carb diet will probably be healthier for anyone. And if you don’t have diabetes, a low-carb diet might help prevent it.