I’m finding it very hard to do anything about my condition.
A bit more about myself:
30 yrs old
BMI = 17.9 ie. Underweight (weight 43kg, height 157cm)
I’m supposed to cut sugars, carbs, fat. Fruits have too much sugar, apparently, so veggies are better.
Arthritis caused by excess uric acid runs in my family – the solution : keep protein intake low.
That means, that I have to cut sugar, carbs, fat, protein.
I get to eat only vegetables.
Drinks wise? I’m allergic to alcohol, lactose-intolerant, highly sensitive to caffeine, and now have to stay away from sugared drinks. All I can have is water.
When somebody like me only has vegetables and water at every single meal, people start demanding that I see a psychiatrist for possible anorexia nervosa. Doesn’t matter that I’m denying it – all anorexics do too!!!
Many of the websites give information based on studies done in Caucasian countries. Even the Singapore based diabetic websites give information that was derived from studies done on Caucasians.
In Caucasian populations (America, Europe, Australia) there is a huge correlation between obesity and diabetes. Consequently, most diabetes-prevention advice has been centered on reducing obesity ie weight- loss. In fact, most websites will tell you that pre-diabetics should aim for a 5 – 10% weight loss.
If I were have a 10% weight loss, I’ll be the same weight I was at 12 years old. That’s freaky.
What epidemiology (ie. The study of the pattern and extent of a disease within populations ) studies have shown, is that Asian (especially East Asians, as opposed to South Asians ie. In Singapore context, Chinese vs Indians) populations tend to have a comparatively low risk for obesity (compared to Caucasians, Hispanics, Africans).
However, they have the highest risk for diabetes. Singapore has one of the highest diabetes rates in the world, exceeding many European nations, and equaling the USA. This is despite us having very low obesity rates compared with Europe and USA.
It’s hard to find such info on diabetes websites – you have to go to the WHO website, or have access to medical journals, which as a developmental biologist, I’m very fortunate to.
Many such epidemiology studies have been on Asian populations — it’s fairly easy to do, and many countries conduct surveys to plan their health policies.
What is severely lacking are research studies finding out the contributing factors of diabetes in Asian people – the risk factors might actually be different enough to warrant a separate set of advice!
Traditionally, the West has taken the lead in research – many Asian nations only started coming into the biotech research industries in the recent years, and even then, it’s limited to a few countries like Japan, Korea, Singapore. Of course, in the West, the focus would be on Caucasians.
So what we really need, is more research into specific Asian populations, where common chronic illness is concerned. Locally, we do have many research groups looking at diabetes, but the funding and push has been focused largely on therapy — stem cells, in particular — simply because that’s where the potential profits are! It doesn’t make business sense to actually do research that comes up with ‘Exercise 6 x 60 mins a week’ as the best cure to diabetes. But such public health research projects are very necessary.
Speaking of exercise. Yes, we’re all supposed to exercise, and I must confess, this is one area I’m severely lacking!
Let’s say I tried to exercise for the recommended 3 sessions a week.
As it is, my schedule is packed. Between being involved in work, writing my thesis, doing NGO projects, meeting friends on a once-in-3-months cycle, I’m barely getting 4 – 6 hours of sleep a day! You know what LKY said about women these days choosing singlehood? Hell, I don’t CHOOSE singlehood! As it is, I have to give up sleep so that I’m not FORCED into singlehood! I have no idea what else I can give up to get exercise.
So it’s well and nice when people give lifestyle advice to tackle health issues — eat a balanced meal, cut this, cut that etc, have enough sleep have enough exercise.
But as long as people in charge of each of life’s domain remain segregated and advice is given out of the context of life in general, all this advice is very very useless!