I’m back writing blogs. I needed to get away from them for a while, in part because of travel (I turned 60 on 8/1), and in part because I’m working on a couple of other projects. I hope you all are well.

Currently, one in 10 Americans have diabetes, and there are many more who don’t know they have it. There are also millions who have pre-diabetes, and are a risk for developing the full-blown disease. It is well documented that for those who have the genetic predisposition to develop diabetes, a diet high in bad fats and starchy carbs (the typical American diet) is the worst possible way to eat. One would think, then, that a vegan  diet would be a much better way to eat. Indeed, this is true, but only if the vegan diet contains a majority (>75%) of raw fruits and vegetables-what many experts refer to as a living foods or whole foods diet. Why? There is proof that heating foods does indeed cause one a much greater risk of diabetes and vascular disease. A recent crossover study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2010, studied 62 volunteers in a randomized cross-over study. Cross-over studies work great because they allow to studied groups to switch roles, adding a lot of significance to the study. The researchers evaluated the effects of Maillard reaction products (MRP) on the volunteers. MRP is a name for a chemical process by which heat generates  hundreds of compounds responsible for a wide range of odors and flavors. For instance, heating starches like potatoes to high temperatures creates acrylamide. This compound increases one’s risk of cancer. Flavor scientists have used heat over the years to create artificial flavors, found in abundance in package and processed foods. In the aforementioned study, the diets of the two groups only in the type and amount of heat used on the food they ate. One group steamed their food while the other used high-temperature cooking, using oils or microwave cooking. After one month, the group using high-temp cooking saw a significant rise in insulin resistance. They also had much lower blood concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which also were highly significant. This group also saw triglycerides  increase 5% and cholesterol jump 9%. The authors concluded that consuming high heat-treated foods increases your risk of type-2 diabetes and vascular disease. High heat also destroys minerals and denatures proteins. Heat creates compounds not found in nature, and could possibly trigger auto-immune diseases, are known to be carcinogenic, and are basically toxic to the body. For a more extensive read on living foods, read Dr. Robert Jay Rowan’s Second Opinion, 7/14. So, what to do. Personally, I strive to get at least 70% of my diet to include raw fruits, vegetables, and nuts. When I do cook, I use water to steam most of the time. I still do some grilling, and the microwave is so convenient, it’s hard to be perfect. I do my best to not eat foods cooked in oil, and I do well most of the time-I have to. On my mother’s side of the family, 80% (including my mom) have type-2 diabetes, and I don’t want to go down that road. One more thing: Eating lots of okra, used in southern cooking, may be a useful dietary treatment for type-2 diabetes, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, 8/5/14. Okra is rich in disease-fighting compounds called flavonoids, two of which may help to regulate glucose and fat metabolism in the liver. Remember to steam it, or cook in low– to medium soups and stews.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.