It takes only an hour and 34 minutes to watch the documentary film, “Forks Over Knives,” but for Type 2 diabetics looking for creative, long-lasting ways to mediate–or even recover from–this debilitating condition, it’s as important a film as movies nominated for Academy Awards. Filmmaker Lee Fulkerson posits a theory based on the findings of noted scientists: If humans ate fewer processed and animal-based foods, western society’s biggest killers–like heart disease, diabetes and cancer–could be eliminated. Far-fetched? Not according to people who suffered diabetes’ most extreme symptoms, ran out of options and tried this radical lifestyle change.
What’s behind the diet?
Over 50 years ago, Cornell University’s Dr. T. Colin Campbell sought ways to feed impoverished people in third world nations. Coincidentallly, he identified high rates of liver cancer in Filipino children who subsisted on meat versus kids eating plant-based diets. Campbell found the vegetarians were relatively cancer free.
At the same time, Cleveland Clinic breast cancer surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn concluded that patients consuming plant-based diets rarely came down with diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The two didn’t meet until the 1980s, but together, their studies proved that plant-based whole foods can act like medicines and contribute to the prevention of life-threatening diseases plaguing western society.
In his documentary “Forks Over Knives,” Fulkerson used case studies to show how some people with diabetes following this restrictive style of eating were cured of their diabetes simply by changing their diets.
Contemporary medical breakthroughs
Not every diabetic may be willing to go on a plant-based diet to improve his general well-being, so medical science and pharmaceutical companies have stepped in to produce medicines that alleviate symptoms and halt the progress of diabetes until a cure can be found. According to the American Diabetes Association, injections of insulin remain the most often prescribed remedy for some diabetes patients, though the number of shots per day vary depending upon the patient.
In addition to injections, there are many types of pills on the market that help diabetics avoid the pain and inconvenience of having to inject themselves frequently. Respected medical websites like WebMD keep track of old and newly-introduced drugs and have divided formulations into two categories of pills: Sulfonylureas (these lower blood sugar by forcing the pancreas to release more insulin) and Biguanides, tablets that improve the process of moving sugar into cells and prevent the liver from releasing stored sugar. Each category has spawned myriad brand name drugs and new formulas are continually being tested by pharma companies and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to enhance their effectiveness.
A world of products just for diabetics
US News and World Report stays on top of medical advances, including auxiliary products designed and made exclusively for people with diabetes. Among the most recent innovations designed for the diabetic market are diabetic vitamins, neuropathy products, oral glucose drinks, skin soothing creams and lotions and a wide variety of adaptive, specially designed garments like diabetic socks designed to help diabetics avoid developing blood clots, bacterial infections and injuries.
One of the most affordable new products on the market is moisture-wicking socks that help guard against injury, infections, friction, ulcerations and the sort of constriction that can lead to bigger and more complex medical diagnoses.