Written by Cyndi

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.

October 27, 2014

What Cyndi Recommends

Reports Recommended

Following is an extract from the diabetes report.  The Lying Labels Report will help you understand how to read in between the lines of all food labels and know exactly what you are eating and the Soft Drinks Report is very important to read for anyone with diabetes.

More than 3 million or one in four Australian adults over the age of 25 have either diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes).

1,085,800 Australians have diagnosed diabetes (type 1 or 2). Worldwide an estimated 285 million people have diabetes.


  • Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease
  • One person is diagnosed every seven minutes
  • It is estimated that for every person diagnosed with diabetes, another person is unaware they have it
  • In 2015, Australian Diabetes Council expects the number of people with diagnosed diabetes to total approximately 4.6 million

The financial burden

  • Type 2 diabetes costs Australia $3 billion a year
  • The total health cost of type 2 diabetes (in 2003) for a person with no complications was $5,360 per year and increased to $9,645 per year if the person had diabetes related complications (i.e. both micro and macro-vascular disease)

Diabetes is no small disease and if you don’t want to be part of the growing sickness statistics then you have to do something different then what everyone else is doing.  Don’t live by  SAD (Standard Australian Diet) that has been recommended for the last 30 years, as it obviously isn’t working.  Do something different in order to get a different result.

Definition for Diabetes (US National Library of Medicine 2010)

Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood.  Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar.  Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin or both.

To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand the normal process by which food is broken down and used by the body for energy. Several things happen when food is digested:

  • A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body.
  • An organ called the pancreas makes insulin. The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells, where it can be used as fuel.
  • People with diabetes have high blood sugar. This is because:
  • Their pancreas does not make enough insulin
  • Their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to insulin normally
  • Both of the above

Homeostasis of Blood Sugar – Insulin and glucagon basics (Brown University, 2011)

The human body requires that the blood glucose level is maintained in a very narrow range.  Homeostasis is regulated by two hormones, insulin and glucagon which are both secreted by the pancreas.  The production of insulin and glucagon by these pancreatic cells ultimately determines if a patient has diabetes or another related problem.


Insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to a rise in blood sugar, although a low level of insulin is always secreted by the pancreas.  After a meal, the amount of insulin secreted into the blood increases as the blood glucose rises.  Likewise, as blood glucose falls, insulin secretion by the pancreatic islet beta cells decreases.

In response to insulin, cells (muscle, red blood cells, and fat cells) take glucose in from the blood, which ultimately lowers the high blood glucose levels back to the normal range.


Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas when blood glucose is low.   Blood glucose is low between meals and during exercise.  When blood glucose is high, no glucagon is secreted from the alpha cells.  Glucagon has the greatest effect on the liver although it effects many different cells in the body.  Glucagon’s function is to cause the liver to release stored glucose from its cells into the blood.  Glucagon also helps in the production of glucose by the liver out of building blocks obtained from other nutrients found in the body, for example, protein and fat.

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010)

Is usually diagnosed in childhood. Although recently many patients are diagnosed during their teenage years and when they are older than age 20. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown but according to medical research; genetics, epigeneitics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may play a role – more on this later.

Type 2 diabetes (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010)

Formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes

Is far more common than type 1. It makes up most of diabetes cases. It usually occurs in adulthood, but young people are increasingly being diagnosed with this disease. The pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal, often because the body does not respond well to insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, although it is a serious condition. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to increasing obesity poor diet and failure to exercise.  Although people who are not obese can also be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

Gestational diabetes (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010)

Is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes are at high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life.

Australian gestation diabetes statistics (Australian Diabetes Council, 2010)
In Australia the prevalence of Gestational diabetes is approximately 5% or 1 in 20 pregnancies. It is usually detected during a routine screening test, which is performed at around 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes

There seems to be a genetic component to type 1 diabetes but having said that researchers know that in order for this particular gene to express it must be triggered by an outside factor – epigenetics.  The more we know about this disease the more the cause seems to point to type 1 diabetes being an autoimmune disease.

An autoimmune disease is where the bodies immune system starts to attack itself as it sees normal cells as being the enemy and it tries to protect itself from the enemy.  Other examples of autoimmune diseases include; lupus, Hashimoto thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, scleroderma, addison disease, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, glomerulonephiritis and pulmonary fibrosis.

Leaky Gut Syndrome and Diabetes

A large proportion of the immune system is located around the digestive system.  A normal healthy gut performs the task of acting like a selective sieve allowing foods broken down by digestion to be absorbed as; nutrients, fats, amino acids, proteins and sugars while large molecules such as microbes and toxins are kept out.

Leaky gut causes the lining of the intestinal wall to become inflamed and the microvilli (finger like extensions required for increased surface area and nutrient absorption) become damaged and altered.  As a result the microvilli cannot produce the necessary secretions essential for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients.

The digestive tract is normally coated with a mucus layer, which keeps out foreign substances. Leaky Gut Syndrome develops as the mucus layer is weakened and the bacteria, which usually resides in the intestine starts to inhabit other parts of the body due to the intestinal permeability.

In between the cells of the gut are desmosomes. These adhere the cells together to form a solid structure, which prevents large molecules from passing through. When an area becomes inflamed and the mucus layer weakened, this in turn weakens the desmosomes and larger molecules can escape through.

As the intestinal lining becomes more and more damaged and weaker, substances larger than particle size, such as disease causing bacteria and fungus; potentially toxic molecules and undigested food particles, pass through the weakened cell membranes into the blood stream.

Leaky Gut overworks the liver because it floods it with additional toxins.  When the liver can’t cope with the level of toxins it expels them back into the bloodstream. The circulatory system then pushes the toxins into fat cells and connective tissue where the body stores them to prevent major organ damage. The liver doesn’t get the time to go back and rid the body of the toxins.  As the body becomes more toxic the intestinal lining becomes weaker and the bombardment activates the immune system which sends out antibodies to fight the foreign substances. In doing that toxic oxidants are produced which attack the body tissues causing allergic reactions, pain and inflammation throughout the body.

These virus’s that have been linked to Type 1 diabetes enter the body via leaky gut and if the virus has some of the same antigens as the beta cells that make the insulin in the pancreas then the T cells start to attack the pancreas rendering the beta cells useless.

The reason why we get leaky gut in the first place is becoming clearer all the time there is strong evidence pointing to our nutrition and the food we eat, a lack of Vitamin D is a real problem with leaky gut syndrome.  To prevent leaky gut then a natural protocol of breast feeding and slow introduction of real food into the diet is paramount.  To cure leaky gut, a diet as proposed in Changing Habits will go a long lth problems.

Type 2 Diabetes

There have been many risk factors identified in mainstream medicine for type 2 diabetes including; (US National Library of Medicine 2010)

  • Age over 45 years
  • A parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Heart disease
  • High blood cholesterol level
  • Obesity
  • Not getting enough exercise or being inactive
  • Polycystic ovary disease (in women)
  • Previous impaired glucose tolerance
  • Some ethnic groups (particularly African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans)

I find this quite amusing that the US National Library of Medicine 2010 do not see poor diet as one of the risk factors.  Let’s see how a few key ingredients eaten on a regular basis in the population causes problems with glucose metabolism leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Food Risk Factors – explained fully in the report

  • Trans Fats formed as a result of partial hydrogenation of a vegetable oil.
  • Artificial SweetenersRefined Carbohydrates
  • Interesterefied fatsModified Milks, Additives, Preservatives and FlavouringsHigh Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

The Sugar Fallacy

A study published in Diabetes Care (April 2003) re-confirmed that sugar does not cause diabetes. In this study, researchers analyzed data on nearly 39,000 middle-aged women, all of whom completed a 131-item food questionnaire. Six years later, there were 918 cases of Type 2 diabetes reported. Researchers found no definitive influence of sugar intake on the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diet is definitely a critical factor in being a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  So in order to reduce your chances of prediabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes it is imperative that the diet be completely free of the above foods and consume a bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables along with meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, some whole grains and some organic dairy.

If we look at the statistics in Australia for diabetes the phenomenon of eating badly and no exercise is shown dramatically.Diabetes is preventable and curable it is a matter of looking at the right foods and giving the body time to heal. To purchase the full diabetes report click here.

Happy Changing Habits

Cyndi O’Meara

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