Managing diabetes, gout, high bp, high cholesterol
I was diagnosed with type II diabetes 18 years ago, in 2000, on my 40th birthday. At the time I had no idea, I was showing no symptoms at all.
The checkup was a birthday present from my wife, perhaps the best and most important one I ever received, as I'm quite sure it has extended my life expectancy, and the number of healthy years I have left, as opposed to if I didn't get diagnosed until the symptoms became impossible to ignore.
It came as a huge shock to me, as I'd grown up thinking of myself as 'athletic'. I'd jogged and skied since I was 13, ran 16 km cross-country every week at 17 (in 1 hour 20 minutes, a bit less at my best), and started lifting weights at 15.
Sure, I'd jogged a bit less in recent years, and I'd always enjoyed my ice cream, and candy... but I didn't use alcohol, tobacco, or any drug. I'd even done a month-long fast, twice. I took my multi-vitamins. I tried to avoid too much fat in my diet. I thought I was 'woke' when it came to health.
Little did I realize then, that sugar was my drug, and I'd been on it for almost 40 years. That fat isn't bad, in fact if not mixed with carbs it's actually good. That my diet was all wrong.
I weighed 105 kg when I was diagnosed. I immediately started working out again, with a vengeance, and dieted hard (and got on Glucophage). Soon after I was back down to 95.
What I realize now is that because I grew up in Sweden in the 70's, I ingested an ENORMOUS amount of fructose in my early years, compared to what humans have evolved to cope with, and even to what is the global average. (Sucrose and all other sweet substances like fruit, sugar cane, guava, honey etc is roughly half fructose, half glucose. Glucose is not as bad for you as fructose, but sadly is more expensive, so used less.)
Because Sweden could be called Sugarland - after all it's where "plockgodis" (candy sold in bins accessible to the customer) was implemented in the early 80's. (Before this it was handled behind the counter by the shop keepers.)
as well as many of the types of candy now spread across the globe. Not to mention "fika"
desserts, baked goods, chocolate better than Swiss, Italian, German etc
I used to eat sugar cubes straight up. Ice cream, soda, Frosty Flakes, sugar on my porridge, cordial, honey, syrup, Jello, apple pie, candied fruit and canned fruit, Turkish delight, caramel, nougat... Swedes love picking berries and making all sorts of jam, preserves and marmalade. Swedish chocolate is better than Swiss, because Swedish dairy is better, because the cows eat sweeter grass, because of the longer days in summer. North European desserts are justly famous.
Recent studies show fructose is more addictive than cocaine, and as bad for the system as alcohol - just takes a lot longer to kill you.
Possibly there's also a genetic factor in my diabetes, but I feel pretty sure that if I'd never had a single spoon of added sugar, I would not have had diabetes at 40.
Since I was diagnosed I've kept working out, pretty much do some kind of exercise every day or I soon suffer for it. And I've watched my diet very carefully. At the same time I've experimented with different programs, methods, diets, and supplements, and done research. At the time of writing I'm on a simplified ketogenic diet, been on it for months.
I'm now down to 86 kg, what I weighed when I was 25. I'm 59.
I feel great, I'm able to keep this weight, my blood sugar/pressure and cholesterol is much better, and I've even completely rid myself of the gout! I can eat as much "gout-causing" foods as I want, and never have a single twinge!
Because now I've found out that the doctors and dieticians lied to me, not on purpose but still. It's not purine alone that triggers gout, but purine plus sugar. And the sugar is the more volatile of the two triggers.
BTW gout is terrible, some people think, yeah it comes and goes, if you get an attack you can take medication and it's over soon. But it's not that simple. Gout is degenerative, like all arthritis, and each attack degenerates the joint a little bit more.
Note that one study on 1000 people and 50,000 meals found that there is NO ONE DIET that is perfect for everyone - people are just too different. Genetics, body chemistry, gut flora, all vary much more than was previously thought. One person spikes on ice cream but not on rice, the other spikes on rice but not on ice cream. It really is as individual as that. You just have to try it and test yourself, to find out.
Do not go on the internet, type in "best food for diabetics" and follow the first link! You must understand there are greedy people who don't care who they hurt, just to make money. There are also morons who instantly believe the greedy people without any proof, and become fanatical supporters. The only way to know the truth is to dig deeper, and only listen to people who can back up their claims with links to actual research.
You can also tell fairly quickly from the website itself - if it looks professional, slick, beautiful, if it has lots of ads, if it says with bold type "25 Top Foods for Diabetics" - watch out! If it looks dry and boring with lots of numbers, dates, links, researcher's names, or it's warning you about other websites or common misconceptions, I know that feels like negativity and no one likes negativity... but in this case actually safer.
My perfect diet apparently is keto, or modified Atkins, or HFLC. With a bit of Intermittent Fasting thrown in. It could be yours too, but you'll never find out unless you try. (Note though that you have to stick to this one for a while, weeks or even better months, before you can tell properly, because it takes time to adjust.)
And my perfect training program so far seems to be HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) mixed with limited amounts of really heavy lifts. This program fits older people better, who need longer recuperation. Only 3 sets, 4 - 6 reps on the first 2 and then either a bit heavier on the last one, or an extra rep or two. And only 2 or 3 type of lifts a day, one upper body one lower. Preferably one whole day of rest between gym-days, or at least different muscle groups. If you train hard enough it can even be enough to blast a particular muscle group only once a week.
Supplements I'm on right now, and been on for quite a while: low-carb protein powder (mixed with heavy cream for keto), Vitamin D3 and K, Magnesium, Creatine, extra salt. Don't worry about over-dosing on salt, the body has its own systems of correcting electrolyte balance. And when on keto you have to watch out not to get low on electrolytes.