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Mastering Diabetes Summit 1

Published 2.3.2017
In 2017, Fridays here at the Arena have become the day on which I review either a book I've read or a movie I've seen. This particular Friday is different, however, because I have registered to watch an online summit about diabetes, Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, and I've decided to review the presentations that I watch over the next few days. Thus, this will be the first in a series.

Two raw vegans with type 1 diabetes (T1D), Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, organized and host this particular summit, so the bias inherent in the presentations is obvious. In March of 2015, I watched a few sessions of a online "summit" about type 2 diabetes (T2D) that had a distinct "low carb" theme to it.

That being noted, the 2015 summit included both Dr. Roy Taylor and Dr Joel Fuhrman. Taylor, though not an opponent of low carb, does not push it as the answer to T2D. Neither does he push veganism or a low fat diet. Fuhrman thinks low carb is exactly the wrong way to go if you're T2D, believing instead that his low fat Nutritarian diet (which is not vegan as a concept, but can be in implementation) is the way to go.

The current vegan hosted summit does not appear to include any dissenting voices, though those voices are mentioned. Mark Hyman for instance, he of the "Summit to sell my book" aka "The Fat Summit," has been mentioned several times in the first two days.

Just as with Hyman's "Fat Summit," there are ground rules here.
  • My time is too valuable to waste any of it listening to presentations of obvious shills or purveyors of "woo." So if you bill yourself as a "medical medium," and yes, one of the guests on the second day did just that, I'm not listening to you— not even for an instant.
  • My intent isn't to recap the talks. These are notes taken and comments made while listening.
  • The talks are free for 48 hours, so I will not be linking to the talks themselves. Outside the initial 48 hours, if you want the presentations you can of course pay for them by going to the Fat Summit link above.
  • I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am stating what these presenters claimed, mostly without any fact checking. When I know a statement is false, I say so. However, no endorsement is implied for statements presented without additional commentary or fact checking. [added 2.8.2017]
Many of the names on the presenters list are familiar to me, but I haven't heard them speak specifically to diabetes, especially T1D. The claim that the summit will discuss both types of diabetes is part of the reason I decided to register.

However, because I recognize many of the names on the presenters list, I pledge to watch with a few additional provisos beyond those listed above. I'm not interested in being lectured about veganism, especially if the risks and deficits of veganism (at the very least vitamin B12) are not discussed. Khambatta at his site, makes the specific claim that his diet prescription can increase insulin sensitivity, which is another way to say decrease insulin resistance (IR). Reducing insulin resistance is precisely what low carb diets do not seem to do.

Sure, if a T2 diabetics eat very few carbs, they will have less glucose in their blood and therefore less insulin, but that doesn't change the fact that they are still IR. If they weren't IR, then they'd be able to eat carbohydrates and have a normal insulin response. Low carb dieting to control insulin masks the symptoms of T2D, it doesn't reverse them.

So what about T1 diabetics? Khambatta claims that T1 diabetics become IR too. There is (currently) no cure for T1D. There is no diet or drug or medical intervention that will relieve T1 diabetics from having to take insulin. However, if T1Ds can increase their sensitivity to insulin, then they will require less insulin each day. This is part of what intrigues me and why I was willing to risk listening to vegan propaganda.

The Opening Session

This was a live session host by Khambatta and Barbaro that included a chat box for viewers to comment and ask questions. Both men gave their stories and told how they are T1D and raw vegans. Naturally, there were plenty of questions. Both types of diabetics may or may not told to limit carbs, but they are certainly not told to exclude animal products and limit fat. It was at this point that someone asked about Hyman, because his advice is diametrically opposed to what is being presented here.

Too much of the session was spent touting the retreats they host to show people how to eat the way they do. I understand why they did it, but it got old very quickly.

The basic points made (after the commercial) were:
  • IR underlies both types diabetes
  • If you eat a lot of fat and protein, the fat gets stored in muscles and in the liver.
  • The first thing is to increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Chasing biomarkers doesn't work. This is what low carbers do. They obsess about their insulin level without addressing the IR.
  • The answer is low fat whole food plant based diet. Note that they don't say vegan, but that it clearly what's meant.
Barbaro goes out of his way to say that they, "Have nothing against low carb," but clearly the answers at this summit are going to be all vegan, though not necessarily raw vegan. Both hosts eat mostly fruit, which caused a bunch of questions to be asked as well.

I can't say that the opening session relieved my concern about the vegan propaganda aspect of the summit, but I do want to learn more about IR and how to increase insulin sensitivity, and Khambatta went out of his way to emphasize that they had science and research to back their claims up. If that's the case, bring it on.

The next entry in this series will be posted on Monday, which actually means that my commentary will lag the presentation by more than 48 hours. However, I prefer to keep my weekends offline, thus if you want to hear the presentations, not just read about them, you'll have to register to do using the link at the top of this page.

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