Diabetes Grows as a Problem in Peru

“They always make a larger size”, my friend laughed as she took a second helping of dessert.  The concern of being overweight wasn’t weighing on her mind in the moment of enjoying the chocolate covered confection she had purchased.

They might make a larger size, but what consequences were awaiting those who continued to eat past hunger, past satiety, and into morbidity?  Can we really eat ourselves to death?

They answer is yes.  Many of the foods that we have traditionally eaten sparingly have become the mainstays of our diets.  Sodas, French fries, meat, and foods purchased outside of the home have gained popularity.  As they have gained, so have we, but not just on our waists.  The problem of obesity is that it frequently associated with Type 2 Diabetes.

Diagnosing Diabetes
Diagnosing Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease that shortens life. According the the Mayo Clinic, “Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose)” Because sugar is one of the body’s main sources of fuel, and necessary for normal function, not metabolizing it effectively is life threatening. Sugar is usually used for energy, but when the body is unable to use it effectively, the sugar can end up as fat, or worse can end up causing problems throughout the body.  Neuropathy, (nerve damage) due to hyperglycemia, can lead to amputation.  According to the CDC, “60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations are attributed to diabetes”

Other diseases associated with Type 2 diabetes are High blood pressure, kidney failure, high cholesterol and even gum disease, all of which contribute to the shortening of life.

“There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar well, you also may need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.” (Reference)

More critically, Type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases, as reported in ENUTRICIONAL-EVIDA-2012-13, “ the influence of advertisinf contributes to raise the rate of overeweight and obese children… Obese children ahve more risk of being obese in their adulthood than childrenwho have a normal nutritiional status. Obesity constitutes a risk factor for the development of arteerial hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases that contribute towards deteriorating the person’s quality of life.”

Moreover, the report concludes, “Definitivamente, la obesidad es un problema de salud pública tanto en nuestro país, como en todo el mundo debido al incremento creciente, complejidad etiopatogénica y por las graves consecuencias tanto médicas como económicas para los países. Además, constituye una de las principales causas de muerte por enfermedades cardiovasculares y está considerada una de las principales causas de mortalidad de las enfermedades no transmisibles.”

In a study Evaluation of Indigenous Grains from the Peruvian Andean Region for Antidiabetes and Antihypertension Potential Using In Vitro Methods” conducted on the traditional grains of Peru, “, it was found, that Purple corn, held the most promise as a mitigant for hyperglycemia.   It has been “cultivated for centuries in the Andean region is rich in anthocyanins. In Peru, people consume a typical drink made by boiling purple corn called Chicha Morada, which is believed by folklore use to improve health. The average anthocyanin content of whole purple corn from Peru was 1,640 mg=100 g of fresh weight, higher than fresh blueberries.”  Anthocyanin is believed to improve the body’s ability to process sugar.

The study concluded that a return to a diverse diet of Andean grains, without unnecessary processing, could reverse the growth of diabetes in the population.

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