Sugar Doesn't Cause Diabetes??: Dr. Shayna's Take on What the Health

The documentary discusses the dangers of eating processed meats and highlights them as being group 1 carcinogen and equal to cigarettes in their potential to cause cancer.

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Sugar Doesn't Cause Diabetes ?!?!? 

One of the physicians in the documentary makes some very misleading statements about the role of carbohydrates in causing diabetes.  They go so far to say, “Sugar Doesn’t Cause Diabetes.” Are they saying refined carbohydrates, high glycemic load foods don’t initiate an inflammatory cascade in the body and cause an unhealthy shift in the microbiome toward Candida overgrowth and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)?

Another doctor discusses lactose intolerance and gives statistics without any references and doesn't define lactose intolerance for the public. Casein, a type of protein found in dairy from cows, is also discussed as being correlated with Autism, ADHD and stimulating Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1).  While these are true statements that can be confirmed by the medical literature, a sensitivity to casein is not equivalent to lactose intolerance.  These are two different things.

While it is important to be cognizant of the conflicts of interest in medicine and agriculture that influence not only recommendations from major health organizations but also the information taught in universities to dietetics and medical students.  In this film the writer skews the studies and information presented in one direction to illustrate his point without giving the whole perspective.

Take Home Message  

The message of the film is the problems within the meat industry with how the animals are raised and the pollution they’re exposed to.  These problems are used to then preach a message that the solution is not eating meat and dairy.  What the filmmaker fails to mention in this documentary is many of the same problems with pollution and chemical contamination exist with eating fruits and vegetables also.  The reality is there many issues with our environment and our food supply that we don’t have control over as consumers. It’s arguable that even drinking freshly pressed juice from conventional vegetables (non-organic) is carcinogenic.

In my clinical experience, I have not found the vegan diet to be a cure-all.  I have seen some people start a vegan or vegetarian diet and within 6 months to 1 year have many nutrient deficiencies correlated with not consuming any animal products that can be confirmed by lab results.  I also see many people swap meat for meat-like substances, cookies, cakes, pies and a lot of other highly processed foods.  How is this healthy? Meat is replaced with calorie dense, processed foods because they’re still hungry and not satisfied.  I have seen people have more issues controlling their blood sugar as a result of switching to a vegan diet because they are replacing the meat with processed foods and refined carbohydrates.  Vegans are prone to be more toxic because they are not consuming enough of the amino acids needed to support detoxification.

Redefining the Plant-based Diet

With several health documentaries being released over the past few years, “Plant-based diet” has become a buzzword.  However plant-based does not necessarily mean vegan or vegetarian.  It simply means the majority of your nutrition is coming from plants.  Most Americans don’t incorporate enough plants in their diet unless they go vegan or vegetarian. In my opinion, it is a more nutritionally sound approach to advocate a whole food plant-based diet that is adaptable to the individual and a lifestyle that includes detoxification to offset exposure to toxic chemicals (which we cannot avoid completely) as opposed to promoting a vegan diet as a universal cure-all.