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15 years of clinical experience and striving to make a difference in my patient’s lives  leaves me with the one undeniable observation:


I have lamented this topic for years.  I’ve intellectually wrestled with colleagues, educated patients, and counseled till I’m blue in the face.  The observation stems from an ongoing quest to seek not treatments for symptoms but cures for diseases–like diabetes.

Research now ties the rate of sugar consumption with the incidence of diabetes:  

(The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data)

“Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes.”  

This has tremendous implications and correlates with my clinical observations for years.

Diet plays the biggest role in the development of Type 2 Diabetes!

So much has been made of genetics, and genes do play a role.  Certain groups have greater genetic potential for the development of diabetes; however, the latest research reveals sugar consumption plays a primary role in the manifestation of diabetes.

Let’s look at this through the filter of Pareto’s Principle.  In other words, when trying to cure or prevent diabetes, what is the most important 20% of advice or activities that would lead to the greatest benefit for 80% of the diabetic problem??  Well, if DIET and consumption of SUGAR are the primary cause of diabetes, then the medical community ought to pay more attention to very specific dietary instruction.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to advise patients to severely limit or remove processed sugars, sodas, alcohol, wine, and beer from the diet?

Fussing over the latest drugs, medical gadgetry, and spending entire medical office visits procrasturbating over drug interactions and lab tests seems pointless.  After all, research is showing it’s what people are eating!!

Think of the billions of dollars spent on healthcare.  Think of the countless numbers of medication side-effects, lab testing, follow-up visits and general medical busyness that doesn’t focus on the core problem.  Specifically, for maximal effectiveness, physicians and health providers should spend much more time hammering this point home with specific prescriptions to decrease sugar intake.

This research should serve as a wake-up call not only to the medical community but also the FDA and food industries.   Most importantly I hope individuals begin to understand the power they have over their own health.  We are eating ourselves to death and spending tremendous amounts on a problem likely more costly and deadly in terms of lives affected than drug abuse.

Yet, processed sugar, hustled like crack cocaine, finds a home on nearly every corner of the local market.

Maybe we need a national “JUST SAY NO TO SUGAR” campaign like the old “JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS” mantra?

I shall now step away from bull-horn and down from my soapbox….  

Time to go back into a patient room and do what I’ve done for years, explain the relationship between food and disease.

Eating Sugar=Higher Insulin=Weight Gain=Obesity=Diabetes=Heart disease=Death

Hope this information helps readers make better choices.

As always, I look forward to your questions and feedback.





{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Chris Story March 4, 2013, 2:39 pm

    Awesome insight Doc! Now how does exercise vs. sedentary lifestyle impact/help insulin sensitivity, diabetes, etc?

  • William Curtis March 5, 2013, 5:26 am

    Exercise benefits the body and retards the process described in the aforementioned blog. Exercise triggers a few interesting events.

    Exercise increases energy=sugar utilization. In essence, exercise burns stored sugar in the muscles. The stored energy (glycogen) must be replaced. Muscles become like blood sugar sponges during the recovery phase after exercise. (Especially strength and high intensity activities). How do they become like sponges? Insulin sensitivity increases, lower insulin requirements. That basically means the fundamental fat storage mechanism in the body and a primary factor in the development of diabetes reverses.

    Eat sugar=raise insulin=store fat=diabetes=heart disease=heart attack (or other bad outcomes)

    Tribe based on lifestyle, nutrition, and FITNESS. That doesn’t imply eat all the sugar you want if you exercise enough. Just ask any hardcore type 2 diabetic. Genetics do play role. Some people cannot tolerate even the smallest amount of carbohydrates/sugar without a huge jump in blood sugar, weight gain, and fat storage.

    Hope that answers your question!

  • Dallas Jones March 9, 2013, 8:24 pm

    I can appreciate your passion. While I DO agree sugar is the culprit and wreaks havoc on the body, I also know we are either in denial of these findings or plain just don’t care. I have been on a quest to become more healthy for several years after treating it like a garbage can for most of my life –just not knowing better. But I will say, sugar has been the hardest thing to limit. I’ve switched to mostly honey, but I still love the sweets!! Fortunately, having a toddler helps me to watch what I eat even more since he usually wants a bite. Now it’s time to convince the extended family of the consequences of excess sugar so I’m not seen as evil mom who doesn’t let her kiddo eat sweets. Argh!

    • William Curtis March 10, 2013, 7:42 am


      Treat yourself to an traditional raw sugar, honey based dessert occasionally. Sugar is very addicting as it triggers cortisol release and surges of serotonin in our brains. Many of our readers and patients who have eliminated or severely reduced sugar intake have noticed an interesting phenomena…they don’t crave sugar anymore.

      The research I blogged about finally says what I’ve known for years. The percentage of sugar consumed by modern man, especially in American and South Texas IS the cause of diabetes. The research didn’t pull out details but I suspect liquid calories rank as the worst offenders. (Sodas, diet sodas, sweetened beverages, fruit juice)

      As far as kids go, they don’t know any difference if they are taught to stay away from I sugar foods. I’ve raised all 3 of my children to understand the pitfalls of sugar. While they have “tasted the fruit” and like sugar, they understand moderation is the key.

      Awareness is half the battle. In the big picture, I just don’t want people going through life thinking, “Darn my genetics” when in all reality it’s the 2-3 cans of soda they drink everyday ruining their health.

      Bottom line, I’m not a sugar Nazi. Live your life, enjoy a high quality dessert– occasionally. Keep the portion small and enjoy without guilt. However, if you are a diabetic, have poor health, weight gain, fatigue, joint problems, etc. Please understand the link between food and health. All calories are not the same.

      I appreciate you follow-up and comments. As always, feel free to call on the Tribe with questions.

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