THINKING ABOUT TAKING DRUGS FOR YOUR DIABETES?
I have reviewed articles from John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previously (HERE are a few of them), but his recent article (The Slippery Slope: A Bittersweet Diabetes Economy), knocks it out of the park. It's just one more of a steady stream of revelations that show us that what we call Evidence-Based Medicine, isn't as "Evidence-Based" as we are being led to believe. Fauber lets the cat out of the bag by making an incredible statement early in his paper.
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved all of those  drugs based on a surrogate endpoint: the ability to lower blood sugar. Many of the new drugs have dubious benefit; some can be harmful."
In other words, there are numerous drugs out there that do at least an "OK" job of lowering BLOOD SUGAR. However, according to what Fauber is telling us, beyond that, they provide exactly zero benefit to one's health. That's not my conclusion; it's the conclusion of the physicians that Fauber interviewed for his story as well as what is revealed when you take a hard look at the studies used to justify these drugs. The funny thing about the above quote is that the exact same thing is true of STATIN DRUGS that are given to lower CHOLESTEROL. I would never argue that Statins don't lower Cholesterol. The truth is, many of them do an amazing job of doing just this. What numerous people (including me) have argued is that using drugs to do so does not change outcomes (strokes, heart attacks, or death rates, etc).
As a side note; results that diminish a specific symptom but do nothing tangible to reverse or prevent the disease itself are called "surrogate measures". In other words, a drug might not significantly increase one's chances of surviving cancer one iota, but helps to shrink a tumor, would have nothing to validate it's besides surrogate measures --- an all too common deception within the scientific medical community. It's why I always tell patients that no matter what you are talking about in the field of health, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
But what about the people who say to me, "Dr. Russ, I'm 45 pounds overweight but I think you're being a bit harsh --- MY DOCTOR TOLD ME I DON'T HAVE DIABETES? Good for you. Unfortunately, if you are LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE, Diabetes is exactly where you are headed, whether or not you have "officially" crossed the blood sugar threshold of 126 yet.
Allow me to follow a rabbit for a moment. This past weekend my best friend from Kansas (HERE) was here with HIS WIFE and family, and we were all sitting around talking about health issues, nutrition, etc. He read me something from his Facebook page from Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-Based Approach called 20 Nutrition Facts That Should be Common Sense (But Aren’t). I read it and agreed with most of it. There were, however, two points that I just couldn't buy --- #13, Calories Count, But You Don’t Necessarily Need to Count Them, and #15, Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat, but Neither Does Carbohydrate.
The thirteenth point was disproved by Gary Taube's in his book, Good Calories; Bad Calories (HERE -- video at end of link). And as far as the fifteenth point is concerned, it's carbs; not proteins or fats (unless you count TRANS FATS), that hijack your blood sugar and ultimately leave you fighting the battle of the bulge. Excess dietary carbohydrate is converted to blood sugar that has to be dealt with in some form or fashion (burned as energy or stored as fat). But this is sometimes an oversimplified explanation. Be aware that you can actually be quite skinny and still have Type II Diabetes. These are typically folks that are referred to in the medical community as MONW (Medically Obese Normal Weight) or in the lay community as "Skinny Fat". Which leads me to the most underlying culprit behind our nation's DIABETES epidemic ---- Inflammation.
GLUTEN and DAIRY are two common ones. It could be BLACK MOLD. How about toxic chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, or food additives like MSG? PARASITES could be a culprit as well. What about MERCURY & ALUMINUM? How about the person who has taken way too many ANTIBIOTICS (or any number of OTHER DRUGS) and screwed up their GUT HEALTH? Even something like EMF's can be a problem for some people. The truth is, there are any number of things that could be driving Inflammation in your body and causing you to lose your ability to tightly control your blood sugar. If you fail to figure them out, you may not be able to get your Blood Sugar under control with even the most stringent PALEO DIET (my personal favorite for dealing with Inflammation --- HERE'S WHY). But back to Fauber's paper.
Now that you understand that Diabetes is not just a Blood Sugar problem, but a problem caused by Inflammation, it should help you understand why drugs have not proven to be much of an answer. If you've been following my blog (HERE), you'll also understand why the thousands of people that Fauber claims are dying each year as the direct result of their Diabetes Medications are just the tip of the iceberg. Furthermore, you'll realize more than ever that when it comes to the drugs you're prescribed, it's neither love nor concern that makes the world go round.... It's MONEY --- pure, plain, and simple (HERE). And finally, if you are truly interested in looking at the "Best Evidence" as far as treating Diabetes is concerned (by physicians and for physicians), look no farther than THIS.
I would suggest that you take a few minutes to read the entity of Fauber's story (HERE). Just make sure you have a barf bag handy, because this sordid tale is sure to turn your stomach.