The Two Types of Diabetes

At this point we should take one step back to clarify that the two types of diabetes are truly so different that they should be considered two quite different illnesses. This chapter addresses only Type II diabetes.

• Type I diabetes typically occurs in childhood or early adulthood and is unrelated to dietary habits. It appears to be an autoimmune disorder, in which the body mistakenly attacks the pancreas, largely or totally destroying its capacity to produce insulin. Only five to ten percent of all diabetics are Type I.

• Type II diabetes is caused by a genetic propensity for the disease combined with improper eating habits. The research done by Cleave (referred to on page 314) showed that certain genetically predisposed races and cultures do not get Type II diabetes until exposed to significant amounts of refined carbohydrates. (I should point out, however, that it is possible to be at risk for Type II diabetes even if you don't have a family history of the illness.)

The great majority of people who suffer from Type II diabetes actually produce more insulin than do those who don't suffer from the illness. The reason the diabetics have elevated blood-sugar levels is not due to lack of insulin, but rather to insulin resistance. Therefore, insulin and insulinstimulating drugs usually make matters worse. Only in the later stages of Type II diabetes does a person's insulin output decline.

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