Could beef be the simple cure for diabetes?

Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that if current trends continue, as many as one in three U.S. adults will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050? That’s a huge jump from one in 10 U.S. adults who suffer from diabetes currently. There are 24 million people who deal with the troubling complications that come with a diabetes diagnosis, including kidney failure, blindness, leg and foot injuries/amputations, and staggering medical costs.

With these startling statistics, it’s no wonder there are so many programs, initiatives and weight loss “snake juice potions” out there promising to alleviate the effects of diabetes. With all of the information out there, it can be overwhelming for folks trying to find answers, but could the cure rest with a simple food item like beef?

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and yet, thanks to decades of misinformation presented to us by USDA Dietary Guidelines, we continue to shun simple, wholesome foods like red meat and dairy products while fully embracing processed sugars and carbohydrates. As a result, we’re sick, undernourished, overfed, and wondering what to do next.

READ: 7 ways Dr. Oz is lying to you about red meat

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the growing popularity of a $26,000 weight-loss surgery, which is being called “medically sanctioned bulimia” because it’s a thin tube that is inserted into the stomach which ejects food from the body before all calories can be absorbed. Now, does that sound healthy to you?

How about a simpler solution? Sarah Hallberg and Osama Hamdy for New York Times write, “It is nonsensical that we’re expected to prescribe these techniques to our patients while the medical guidelines don’t include another better, safer and far cheaper method: a diet low in carbohydrates. Once a fad diet, the safety and efficacy of the low-carb diet have now been verified in more than 40 clinical trials on thousands of subjects.

“There’s another, more effective way to lower glucose levels: Eat less of it. Glucose is the breakdown product of carbohydrates, which are found principally in wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, fruit and sugars. Restricting these foods keeps blood glucose low. Moreover, replacing those carbohydrates with healthy protein and fats, the most naturally satiating of foods, often eliminates hunger. People can lose weight without starving themselves, or even counting calories.

“Most doctors — and the diabetes associations — portray diabetes as an incurable disease, presaging a steady decline that may include kidney failure, amputations and blindness, as well as life-threatening heart attacks and stroke. Yet the literature on low-carbohydrate intervention for diabetes tells another story. For instance, a two-week study of 10 obese patients with Type 2 diabetes found that their glucose levels normalized and insulin sensitivity was improved by 75% after they went on a low-carb diet.”

READ: Before you spend $26,000 on weight-loss surgery, do this

Nutritional experts who have made their living promoting a low fat, high carbohydrate diet continue to try to squash the rumblings about the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet that centers around animal proteins; however, the voices singing the praises of a diet rich in meat and low in sugars are getting louder. I, for one, am excited to be a part of the conversation and look forward to the return of a more traditional, wholesome diet that focuses on real food and ditches the junk.

The New York Times article summarizes my thoughts on the subject best with this closing statement, “We owe our patients with diabetes more than a lifetime of insulin injections and risky surgical procedures. To combat diabetes and spare a great deal of suffering, doctors should follow a version of that timeworn advice against doing unnecessary harm — and counsel their patients to first, do low carbs.”

Beef producers, we have a unique opportunity to change perceptions, promote our product and lead the charge in getting beef back at the center of the plate. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee is meeting this week to discuss the budget and determine the best places to spend our checkoff dollar. I know there is currently work being done to promote beef to physicians as part of a heart-healthy diet, and I hope information on how beef can help manage diabetes will also be included in upcoming promotions.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.

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