Dear Pharmacist, What is the No. 1 thing I can do to prevent diabetes? — T.H., Seattle
Avoid white! By that I mean white salt, white sugar and white flour. The white flour is particularly offensive because it contains a compound known to harm a pancreas. The pancreas is the gland you need for healthy blood sugar balance because it secretes insulin.
The wheat kernels get stripped of their "bran" and "germ" layer, a process that removes all the fiber, minerals and vitamins. The naturally brown flour will now be whitened using a chemical similar to chlorine bleach. This chemical forms another substance called "alloxan" that is known to destroy pancreatic function.
Alloxan is so outstanding at destroying the pancreas that researchers commonly use it in clinical trials to induce diabetes in lab animals! Bleached white flour is almost always contaminated with alloxan.
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I've always been puzzled at the name "all-purpose" flour because to me, it doesn't even serve the primary purpose of food, which is to provide nutritional value, so I suggest it be renamed "No Purpose" flour. Regardless, combine alloxan- tainted white flour with nutritionally naked white sugar and table salt like many baked recipes call for, and you have a recipe for diabetes!
In 2008, scientists closely examined how alloxan caused diabetes in animals. This article was published in Diabetologia, and it was titled "The mechanisms of alloxan- and strep- tozotocin-induced diabetes." The researchers stated, "These hydroxyl radicals are ultimately responsible for the death of the beta cells, which have a particularly low antioxidative defence capacity, and the ensuing state of insulin-dependent 'alloxan diabetes.'"
Simply put, they are saying that free radicals are released, and these kill the pancreatic cells (which secrete insulin and lower blood sugar); the net result of alloxan keeps an animal insulin-dependent. I have solutions in my best-selling book, "Diabetes Without Drugs" (Rodale 2010).
For more information, visit dearpharmacist.com.