Dr. Caroline Trapp

Tom Hanks - You Are Not an Idiot

Beloved actor Tom Hanks recently declared "I am an idiot" referring to how he caused his type 2 diabetes by allowing himself to gain weight. 

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To me that does not suggest someone lacks intelligence; after all two-thirds of all Americans are overweight. We are all at risk in a toxic environment where highly-palatable disease-promoting foods are lurking everywhere people gather.

In fact, I would suggest that Tom Hanks is pretty smart to recognize that lifestyle can play a role, and to commit to taking better care of himself. 

Now, peddling some expensive medication to treat a disease that is caused by the unhealthy Standard American Diet, is an entirely different story. Mr. Hanks - I urge you to do the right thing, and the smart thing if you care about your health and about helping others who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it. Resist the urge to accept a lucrative contract to promote the latest pharmaceutical intervention and instead adopt a whole food plant-based lifestyle. This is the one dietary approach that has been shown to not only reverse type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and some types of cancer, but has additional benefits of weight control and longer life.

My simple prescription for you:

  1. Watch Forks Over Knives.  (www.ForksOverKnives.com)
  2. To learn how to get started, watch the TEDx talk by Dr. Neal Barnard at www.PCRM.org/Diabetes
  3. Commit to a 21-day trial of the best dietary pattern (use the excellent, free program created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine at www.21DayKickstart.org).
  4. Find a community of people committed to health to help you continue this powerful lifestyle. Here in southeastern Michigan, we have the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group (PBNSG.org). Lots of great resources are available online.

Don't settle for "managing" diabetes. Get at the underlying problem. It's not rocket science. Anyone can do it. 

Dr. Caroline Trapp

Caroline Trapp, DNP, ANP-BC, CDE, FAANP

Is it true that natural food starches can cause blood sugar imbalance, and spikes in my readings? How should I handle this?

Q: Dear Dr. Trapp, 

Is it true that natural food starches can cause blood sugar imbalance, and spikes in my readings? How should I handle this?

A:   Dear Pauline,

Great question. The issue is how high, and for how long, and how often. I can't give you specific advice, but in general, for people 65 and younger, it is reasonable to aim for the ADA goal of 180 mg/DL of less, 1-2 hours after eating (The most current guidelines have relaxed the targets for older adults on medication, due to risk of hypoglycemia, a leading cause of hospitalizations). Another good tool is to look at your A1c, which provides a 3-month average. If your A1c is where you and your health care professional want it, than the spikes are probably not significant. 

Significant spikes after certain foods don't necessarily mean you need more insulin. In fact, more insulin might just make you hungrier, which can make you eat more, which can raise your blood sugar! You might try choosing lower glycemic index foods, such as sweet potatoes instead of Russet potatoes, or steel cut oats instead of instant oatmeal. You can also try going for a walk after the meal, a great way to naturally lower blood sugar. 

A great read is Dr. John McDougall's book, The Starch Solution. He provides ample reassurance that starchy vegetables and beans have sustained people for years, and are perfect for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. 

Kind regards,

Dr. Caroline Trapp

Caroline Trapp, DNP, ANP-BC, CDE, FAANP

Will my blood glucose numbers decrease as I lose weight?

Dear Dr. Trapp,

My doctor has me on Metformin for now. I was wondering if my blood glucose numbers go down more when I lose more weight?  

- Debbie

Hi Debbie,

As you continue a pattern of healthful eating and more activity, you are likely to see the morning readings drop. Try to be patient and not be so overly fixated on that number or on weight. 

Behaviors and habits are more important than any single number or a specific reading on the scale. Focus on getting enough of the right foods and getting more physical activity, every day. Find and stick with healthy meals and activities you enjoy. Everything else will follow. 

Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen app (Nutritionfacts.org) can be very helpful in keeping you focused on the key behaviors, not the numbers. 

Make sure you take Vitamin B12 with a WFPB diet and with metformin to prevent deficiency. 

Applause to you - you are well on your way to turning diabetes around and preventing other medical issues!

Kind Regards,
Dr. Caroline Trapp, DNP, CDE