We all remember Penny Marshall as the energetic star of the iconic ’70s TV sitcom, Laverne & Shirley. As the nasal-voiced, good-natured Laverne, she was young and full of life.
But when she died on December 18 at the age of 75 her body had been destroyed by a deadly epidemic that is sweeping America and other countries. She died of complications from type 2 diabetes.
Millions of others are headed for the same fate. Some 29.1 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. Research shows 1 out of 3 adults has prediabetes. That means they will likely get the full-blown disease.1
The results are often tragic…
The World Health Organization estimates that half of people with type 2 diabetes will die of heart disease. Usually this means they pass away after having a heart attack or stroke.2
Diabetes also causes nerve damage that can lead to leg amputations, kidney problems, blindness, depression, and other serious health issues.
A recent study called type 2 diabetes “the biggest epidemic of the 21st century.” About 3.2 million people die from it worldwide every year.
But not all the news is bad. Type 2 diabetes is completely reversible.3
Researchers say the scourge of type 2 diabetes is largely due to the Western diet and sedentary lifestyles. Eating high-carb, processed foods and getting little exercise causes weight gain. This in turn leads to the blood sugar spikes that characterize diabetes.
2 Ways to Beat the Diabetes Epidemic
There are two basic steps you can take to stop type 2 diabetes…
- Get active: This will help your body use insulin. It will also help you lose weight. Start with slow, short walks. Gradually increase your speed and duration over the course of a couple of weeks.Check your blood sugar often as you exercise. Doctors suggest having a snack on hand in case your blood sugar drops.4
- Eat clean and low-carb. This means eliminating sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, and pasta. Don’t eat sweetened cereals and fruit-flavored yogurts.Avoid natural sugars that are supposed to be better for you. They’re not. These include fruit juices. Don’t drink sugar-laden soft drinks. They contain fructose, which is strongly associated with insulin resistance. They raise your risk of diabetes-related illnesses such as fatty liver disease.Make a habit of checking food labels… sugar is in a lot of processed foods. It’s usually best to avoid them altogether.5 6
Instead, eat fruits such as berries and citrus. Eat non-starchy vegetables such as greens, artichokes, broccoli, and beets. Make your diet heavy on proteins from organic poultry, beef, and pork, and wild-caught fish. And eat healthy fats from nuts, avocados, and extra-virgin olive oil.
A recent study at Newcastle and Glasgow Universities in the UK found that the steps above can reverse type 2 diabetes even in patients who’ve had it for many years.7
It takes commitment to change your diet and to exercise. But Professor Roy Taylor, lead author of the study, said patients who find the willpower are often able to throw away their diabetes medications.
“These findings are very exciting,” he said. “They could revolutionize the way type 2 diabetes is treated.”
While still in her 60s, Penny Marshall was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to her brain. But she went into remission and continued working.
The tragedy is that the disease that took her life is far more treatable than the one she beat.
Editor’s Note: Diabetes is often related to being overweight or obese.
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