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Jerry’s Column: Gardening for Health

Hello Everyone!  Hope you’ve all been well since last I wrote.  In this piece, I’d like to discuss a bit more on Type II Diabetes.  Off the Grid News recently did a piece on Type II Diabetes and I wanted to add to it by discussing a recent study I’ve read about.  The findings of this study show that people who drink even just one soda (or a similar sugary drink) per day are over 25% more likely to develop Type II Diabetes in their lifetime.

Notice I said “sugary drink”–I didn’t say sugar drink, high fructose drink, or artificially sweetened drink (Equal, NutraSweet, or Splenda for example)—I just said sugary drink.  What that means is that it doesn’t matter if you’re drinking one of the new zero calorie drinks, or if you’re drinking a diet drink, or if it’s just a Coca-Cola Classic you’re drinking, all of these are high in some kind of sugary substance and all of them can contribute to the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.

Soda is definitely a favorite drink amongst Americans, but we cannot forget other sugary drinks such as sweetened tea and energy drinks.  In our society, we are very conscious of calories – which is not a bad thing – but calories are not the only factor one needs to take into consideration when deciding on what to drink or eat.

Now, to take it a step further, we also need to consider the sugary content in the foods we eat.  The bottom line is, high fructose corn syrup is not any better for you that regular old cane sugar.  However, because HFCS is much more concentrated than sugar and cheap to produce, it ends up in almost every processed food there is available.

The reason this is important to keep in mind is that HFCS doesn’t register with our bodies as sugar, and therefore, our bodies do not naturally produce insulin to process the HFCS.  The calories delivered to our bodies in the form of HFCS are immediately converted to fat, and hence, weight gain happens.  Weight gain is, obviously, one of the leading factors to developing Type II Diabetes.

The bottom line is, our bodies are designed to process certain ingredients a certain way, and when science starts interfering and creating new, man-made ingredients, our bodies don’t know what to do with these concoctions and we end up getting sick.  We develop Type II diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and so on.  All of these diseases are an indication that our bodies are sick and that we are not taking care of them.

This is why it is so important to eat natural, whole foods—foods that have not been chemically or genetically altered.  Stay away from sodas and energy drinks!  Don’t consume processed foods high in high fructose corn syrup!  Don’t be fooled by the low calorie or fat free advertisements—foods are supposed to have calories and fat in them, and we are meant to consume calories and fat!  The best way to combat Type II diabetes, and other diseases, is to not get the disease in the first place.

I encourage everyone to do their research and be aware of what they are putting into their bodies.  Fresh produce, whether from your garden or purchased from a farmers market, is the best way to keep our bodies healthy. If possible, use heirloom varieties that have not been genetically modified. When choosing vegetables to plant this year, consider those that make a bigger impact on your health and any chronic conditions you might have.

A soda today may lead to Type II diabetes (or other health complications) tomorrow.  Is that soda really worth it?

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