By Daniel C. Luthi
Asians eat so
much healthier than Westerners, right? Well, that previously correct
statement surely has lost its validity here in Taiwan. With the increasing
popularity of fast foods, fried foods, instant noodles, and sweets, we are
now facing an enormous threat: It is estimated that close to a million
people in Taiwan (190 million worldwide) have Diabetes Mellitus Type II
also known as Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM), and around
350’000 people don’t know they have it!
genetic factors increase susceptibility to NIDDM, diet and lifestyle
factors must be present to trigger it. The most important factor is what
is known as SAD or Standard American Diet which is rich in refined
carbohydrates, fat and animal products, and very low in dietary fiber.
Refined carbohydrates are the primary component of white rice, white
bread, noodles, cakes, chips, cookies, crackers, and sweets.
carbohydrates, bad fats, and animal products can cause inadequate insulin
production by the pancreas or resistance to insulin by the body’s cells.
This condition will lead to high levels of sugar in the bloodstream and
not enough sugar entering the cells which significantly increases the risk
of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, loss of vision, decreased blood
circulation as well as impotence in men.
another contributing factor to NIDDM, and therefore weight loss, in
particular fat loss, in conjunction with a healthful diet improves all
aspects of diabetes and may result in curing NIDDM.
changes preventing or treating NIDDM are complex and require a new way of
looking at food. Weight loss and regular exercise should be part of any
Every meal should
include some protein such as beans, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, and fish.
Whenever possible animal protein should be hormone-free, antibiotic-free,
range–fed meat, poultry and eggs, and at least three times a week should
include deep-sea, cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel, and
consumption of good fats are essential for good health and they include
butter and pure olive oil for cooking as well as flaxseed oil and extra
virgin olive oil for salads, dips, and cold sauces. Fats found in nuts and
seeds are good fats especially if they are organically grown and properly
consumption of animal fats and avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils found in
instant noodles, cookies, cakes, potato chips, ice cream, milk powder,
French fries, onion rings, salad dressings, and virtually all fast foods.
vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and fiber and are therefore
essential for a healthy, functional digestive system. Non-starchy
vegetables have a low Glycemic Index (slower and more even absorption into
the blood) and can be consumed as desired. They should include bell
peppers, broccoli, cabbage, raw carrots, garlic, green beans, all
dark-green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and others.
vegetables have a high Glycemic Index and are therefore absorbed more
rapidly into the blood. If NIDDM has been diagnosed or is suspected,
starchy vegetables (cooked carrots, corn, potatoes
and yams), legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fresh fruits and whole
grains should always be consumed together with protein and good fats to
avoid a rapid increase in blood sugar.
consensus among leading nutritionists is that in addition to a
health-promoting diet everyone should daily take a high-potency,
high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral. These supplements should be derived
from natural sources and should include blood sugar regulating nutrients
such as chromium, vitamin C, inositol hexaniacinate (a safe form of
niacin), biotin, B6, B12, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, zinc, carnitine
as well as Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Consult with your
nutritionist for dosages and with your physician for interactions with