Reverse chronic disease. Your joints will thank you.
The majority of patients I see in my office have orthopedic complaints that are caused by, or exacerbated by, chronic diseases. Conditions such as obesity, Type II Diabetes, essential hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance, and various forms of cancers, are all caused by our typical Western diet.
In my practice, I attempt to help the patient address those underlying medical conditions that are causing or making their pain worse. I do not manage diabetes or pain medications, but what I offer is to help reverse the cause of that which leads to their orthopedic problems.
Many treatments, such as medications for diabetes, aim to make make the body more sensitive to insulin or to give the patient exogenous insulin (insulin not made in your body). This helps keep blood sugars under control, which is very important for many reasons, but does not address the underlying problem or the root cause of many of orthopedic complaints- insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia.
Research has shown that elevated insulin levels stimulate inflammation in the joints. As you may see, giving someone insulin does not address the root problem. Of course, an elevated blood sugar should be treated to reach normal levels, but the treatment with medicines does not reverse the disease process. The goal of treatment in someone who is diabetic is to have then require low amounts of endogenous insulin (made by the body). The way to achieve this is through a low carbohydrate diet.
You may haver heard of Paleo, ketogenic, or even the carnivore diet. All of them are variations of the low carb diet. A low carbohydrate diet is one that will limit the amount of caloric intake coming from carbohydrates. This, then, places an emphasis on proteins and high-quality fats as the primary sources of energy.
In a nut shell, in my practice, I make the following recommendations:
- Eliminate sugar from the diet. This includes added sugars or processed foods that contain any kind of variations of sugars. This includes fruit juices, sugary sodas, and sports drinks.
- Eliminate carbohydrates such as pasta, white potatoes, pasta, bread, crackers, etc. This also includes eliminating or drastically reducing other grains (corn, oats, etc). In the end, they all get broken down to sugars in the body and stimulate an insulin response.
- Eliminate industrial seed oils (the so-called “vegetable oils”) such as corn, soybean, sunflower, canola, safflower, peanut, etc. These are highly-processed oils high in Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids, which tend to be unstable and easily oxidized in the body.
- If inflammation in the joints or body persists, consider eliminating legumes and nightshades.
- Eat foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed. Attempt to eat food coming from a farm, not a factory.
- Consume a diet high in eggs, grass-fed beef (including organs such as liver, etc), cold-water fatty fish such as wild-caught salmon.
If you are diabetic, check your sugars often, including an hour to 90 minutes after a meal. Ask your provider to prescribe you a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). You will learn which foods tend to spike your blood sugars. Over time, you should notice a decreased need for medications and perhaps even improvement in your joint pain.