An interview with Syntra-5 product formulator, Ken Hampshire
Hello everyone. I’m here today with Ken Hampshire, the product formulator with Syntratech Corp. of Denver, CO. Syntratech has been formulating and marketing high-quality dietary supplements for nearly 15 years. Back in 1999, Ken began working with Dr. Vern Cherewatenko on a new product for diabetes–not just any product, but one that would really help diabetics with blood glucose and weight loss. I’m here, some 11 years later, to ask Ken some questions about diabetes and what people who have diabetes can do about it. Ken welcome.
It seems diabetes is all over the place. What’s going on?
You know, I have a phrase that seems to sum it up, “Forty, fat, and defeated.” I’ve talked to thousands of diabetics over the last 11 years, and I’ve heard every story in the book. People are living what they think is a perfectly normal and healthy life, and all of a sudden, bam, their doctor says they’ve got elevated cholesterol, their blood pressure is too high, and they need to lose 25 lbs. It’s like one day I was 18 and healthy and the next, staring at prescriptions and pre-diabetes. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
As Western lifestyle norms spread around the globe, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases quickly follow. Obviously, something is real wrong with the Western lifestyle.
Yes, let’s talk about that. What are we doing wrong?
Just about everything. From improper diet to lack of exercise or physical activity to toxic substances. Perhaps the two worst enemies of proper nutrition are soda pop, and processed foods.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that consumption of soft drinks has increased 500% in the last 50 years. During that time, childhood obesity in the U.S. jumped 54% for 6-11 year-olds, and 40% for adolescents. A typical 12 oz. can of soda pop has 40-45 grams of carbohydrate. To give you an idea, that’s about 50% more carbohydrate than a diabetic should consume in an entire day! Worse, carbs from a soda are totally worthless carbs. Soda drinks assault the body while it starves.
Processed foods are the other culprits that are everywhere. People should eat real food. Real food is what grows on a tree, bush, vine, plant, underground, or walks around on 4 legs! Real food should look like real food when you eat it. When’s the last time you ate French fries from a French fry tree? Or something from a Hambergerhelper bush?
Sometimes food still looks real but isn’t. Like all the sugar and salt in canned and processed products. This is madness and we have to get back to eating real food the way nature intended it to be eaten.
I talked with Dr. Bill Releford, an amputation surgeon in LA some months ago about this, and he said that he didn’t see us getting out of this problem unless we start eating a primitive diet.
Think of it this way, when you go shopping, shop only around the outside of the store. That’s where the vegetables, meats, and fruits are-generally the best food choices for diabetics.
And then there’s exercise, or should I say, the lack of exercise. In a recent study done at Masstricht University, The Netherlands, it was found that modern activity levels have declined some 56% since the early 19th. century. Stated another way, historical people expended 2.3 times more energy every day than their modern equivalents. Our modern conveniences are simply killing us.
Real food. Good. Exercise. Got it. Anything else about our current system that needs changing?
Oh yes, how about the way our doctor/hospital system works?
I thought the U.S. had the best hospitals and doctors in the world.
For some things we do. If you’re in a car accident for example, the emergency room in a good American hospital is where you want to be. But if you’re the typical American, struggling with weight gain and high cholesterol, our so-called healthcare system is a dismal failure. It should more accurately be called the American diseasecare system. There is little if any incentive to produce health under the American system. Instead, we treat patients like they’re just numbers, moving them in and out as quick as possible and loading them up with an average of 32 prescriptions/year (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, May 2009) by the time they reach 65.
We’ve been sold a bill of goods.
What do you mean, “A bill of goods?”
Something claiming to do one thing but doing another. We’re told we have the best healthcare system in the world. We don’t. In fact, by almost every measure, the U.S. has the worst healthcare in the developed world at the highest cost.
Okay, Ken. This is good information, but most of us just don’t do what’s good for us. You’ve got an opinion why that is true. Care to share it with us?
Sure. We’re controlled or brainwashed.
Many different people and organizations. As a people, Americans are very gullible. We believe things that people say that have no interest in our well being, in fact, many times our best interests are directly opposed to their interests. Take doctors for instance. Most of us think doctors are there to help us get well and be healthy. Well, if that really helped us get healthy, most of them would be unemployed with a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid student loans. Now doctors don’t generally think this consciously, but the whole industry is dependent upon disease and sickness, not wellness and health. Think about it. Do you suppose your local hospital wants to see every one healthy? How would they pay for their new MRI machine?
People believe things that are not correct just because they’ve been adopted by national medical and health organizations. Do you think this is a coincidence? The American Diabetes Association tells people it’s alright to eat sugar. The American Cancer Association says you should take dangerous medications to lower blood cholesterol levels when there is little to no clinical evidence to support the claim that lower cholesterol is healthier. Heavens, dietitians still think the body manufactures cholesterol out of dietary cholesterol!
No. It is manufactured out of glucose. The amount of fat and cholesterol you eat makes little difference in your blood cholesterol levels. But, if you consume large amounts of carbohydrates, your blood cholesterol levels will skyrocket.
Wow. That’s amazing information.
Simple and amazing, but your doctor won’t tell you that.
Okay, you mentioned prescription drugs. Haven’t the drugs developed for diabetes over the last 40 - 50 years been good for those with diabetes?
That depends on what you call “good.” Prescription drugs for diabetes don’t work very effectively. And they’re not safe.
Tell us what you mean…
Clinical studies done on the major prescription drugs for diabetes indicate about a 1% improvement in A1c among those who use them. Some a little better, some worse. Plus, they’ve all got serious side effects connected to them.
Drugs treat symptoms. That’s all. So don’t think that you can take a shot or pill and never have to worry about diabetes again. Nope, doesn’t work that way. The underlying cause of your diabetes is still there, in fact, for most people, those underlying factors are getting worse and worse because your body can’t compensate for our lifestyle mistakes as well as they could when we were 19 or 20. As we age, our ability to compensate declines, just as diabetes symptoms are increasing. This is why people think that diabetes comes on so quickly. It doesn’t really, it just seems that way because you have two opposing trends coming together
So, drugs are no answer. In fact many times they make the problem worse.
Really. How is that?
The healthy human body has a wondrous system to regulate blood glucose within closely defined boundaries. Those boundaries are generally accepted to be between 65 mg/dL and 95 mg/dL. If the blood glucose rises over those levels, the body signals for the production of insulin to pull glucose out of the bloodstream to be stored, or to be transported to the cells for proper glucose metabolization. If blood glucose falls below these levels, the body signals for the production of glucagon which triggers release of glucose from the liver back into the bloodstream. It is a wonderfully simple yet complex system of two diametrically opposed hormones (insulin and glucagon) working together to achieve this balance. Pharmaceutical drugs interfere with how the body normally operates. In the case of diabetes, some pharmaceutical drugs change how the liver metabolizes or releases glucose, others change how much insulin the pancreas produces, etc.
Before taking diabetic drugs, most people with chronic type 2 diabetes have one problem: keeping blood glucose levels from rising above normal. Their glucagon response mechanism for keeping their blood glucose from dropping too low is intact, so hypoglycemic episodes happen rarely if ever. But once diabetic drugs are taken, people with type 2 diabetes now have two problems: keeping their blood glucose levels from rising too high, and now also from falling too low! It would be one thing if pharmaceutical drugs actually worked and kept blood glucose from rising too high, but for most people they don't.
So, one problem is traded for two, in addition to serious side effects.
That’s very interesting. You know, I think most people only think about insulin and diabetes. Glucagon also seems to be an important player in diabetes.
Exactly. Every regulating system in the body, and there are hundreds, use two opposing hormones to keep the balance. In this case, insulin and glucagon.
Is the seriousness of diabetes downplayed? I mean, do people really know how dangerous diabetes is?
In a word, no. Most diabetics have no clue how serious diabetes is and how it will change their life forever. I mentioned this at the very beginning. Most people have no clue as to what diabetes is, how it works, and what it means to them.
Can you explain it simply for everyone to understand?
Of course. There are five stages of diabetes. Stage one is insulin resistance. This is when your body develops a resistance to the effects of insulin. For most people living a Western lifestyle, this process begins in the late teens or early twenties and progresses slowly for many, many years, usually decades before we ever know anything about it.
Stage two is when the body compensates for the increasing insulin resistance. Since the insulin is not working as efficiently as it used to, the body compensates by increasing production of insulin. This brings two results, one positive, one negative. The good thing is that increased levels of insulin keep blood glucose levels within normal levels. The bad thing is that the increased levels of insulin required to do that bring about damaging side effects. You see, elevated levels of insulin lead directly to an increased inflammatory response throughout the body.
Now, the inflammatory response is an important survival mechanism utilized by our immune systems to protect us from infectious agents, but when triggered over the long term, the inflammatory response mechanism can also turn on our own bodies, leading to hay fever, atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. High insulin also triggers weight gain. It is through the years of stage two diabetes where most people add 10 to 100 lbs.
Stage three is when the pancreas can no longer increase insulin production to offset the insulin resistance. You now have high levels of insulin, sometimes 2 to 5 times normal levels, and your blood glucose levels begin to rise above normal for the first time. This is when your doctor says, “You have diabetes.” In truth, diabetes started for you years and years ago.
Stage three marks the end of what I call the “honeymoon period.” Up to this time, your diabetes has not been serious enough to even get your attention. Sure, you don’t have as much energy as you used to and you get sore more often, but things are still okay by and large. Well, that’s about to change. Your body’s been under assault for decades now and it’s losing the battle. The proverbial chickens are about to come home to roost.
Stage four is chronic diabetes, high insulin levels and high glucose levels. This is the worst of all worlds. Not only are you now seeing the direct effect of high insulin levels (elevated cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure), but now the damaging effects of high glucose begin to take their toll as well. High glucose interferes with our immune system, so you get sick more often. You feel fatigued or weak as your body’s cells are starved of glucose, women get more yeast infections, and systemic candida infections occur. Risk of amputation increases as limbs lose their blood supply and nerves die, and you risk losing both your eyesight and kidney function. Both men and women see their sexual expression disappear as erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness take their toll. All in all, not a pretty picture.
Stage five is when your pancreas, after producing all the insulin it can for many years, finally gives up. Insulin production plummets, sometimes quickly, and your glucose levels skyrocket. You are now a classic type 1 diabetic without the ability to even produce insulin. For most people at this stage, damage has been severe. Obesity is almost a certainty. Mobility is reduced to a minimum, sight is failing, sensation has been lost in the extremities and many have had multiple amputations. Some are on kidney dialysis.
You know, it is a real shame that most people don’t even find out that diabetes has started until it is at stage three. I have argued for years that insulin testing should be routine at all medical checkups. This could give people years or decades of advance warning that they need to change their lifestyle.
Wow. I suspect that discussion really got people’s attention.
Well, if it didn’t it should have.
Okay, what can people do. I mean, how do we turn this around for say, the average person who just found out they have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Yes. People at this stage in life are likely angry, disillusioned, with little hope for the future. Well, I’m here to tell you, you shouldn’t be angry, you needn’t be disillusioned, and there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I’m here to tell you that if you want to get well, I mean really well, get off insulin/get off drugs and have normal insulin levels well, you can. I will tell you how.
First, diabetes should not be labeled a disease. We label type 2 diabetes a disease when it should more accurately be called a disorder. This is a small but important distinction. Most people understand the definition of disease, and indeed part of the official definition is, a condition caused by an invading microbiological agent. None of us would hold anyone at fault who is suffering from typhus or small pox.
But diabetes is different. It isn't contagious. You don't "catch" diabetes from your neighbor walking down the sidewalk. Diabetes is nearly 100% caused by those who have it. If you have diabetes, it is your fault.
If we allow ourselves to be convinced that diabetes is not our fault, we lose the only real weapon we have to combat it. Calling diabetes a disease, excuses personal responsibility to change lifestyle, and leaves the person who has it without the most valuable asset he/she has in fighting it–themselves. And improper lifestyle is what got us here in the first place.
What we do know is this, diabetes is nearly 100% man-made. There's a small genetic component, but most of what diabetes is, we do to ourselves. Diabetes is a breakdown in proper lifestyle – insufficient activity and exercise, and improper diet. Diabetes is a disorder of nutrition, and the science of nutrition is the only thing that will treat and cure it ultimately. If you ignore a proper diet, you will travel the same path that millions of other diabetics in this country travel – one of gradually worsening diabetic symptoms, systemic nerve damage, tingling in the feet and loss of feeling leading to the loss of toes, feet, fingers, and limbs, liver damage, and kidney failure.
Diabetes is like a runaway freight train. It doesn't slow down or stop. We know where it starts, travels, and ends. And it always ends in the same place. It crashes and burns and you become another diabetic statistic.
Diabetes is progressive and cumulative. It doesn't wait or slow down. It doesn't take a vacation. It doesn't give you a few days to rest or recover. No. It attacks every part of your body without letting up,,,ever.
In the movie Terminator, this dialogue occurs as Sarah bites Kyle's hand...
Kyle Reese: Cyborgs don't feel pain. I do. Don't do that again.
Sarah Connor: Just let me go!
Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
That's what diabetes is, a terminator.
Unless you make some drastic changes in how you live, diabetes will take you out. If you don't get off the diabetic freight train right now, you never will. Diabetes is progressive, it will be harder tomorrow to make these changes, and harder the day after that. Get it through your head. You are in the fight for your life.
Diabetes is much more a psychological battle than a physiological one. If it were only the physical challenges that were important, we would have diabetes licked tomorrow morning, but its the mental challenges that are the hard ones. Will you decide to stand up, fight against the hoards of doomed people getting on the diabetic freight train, and say, "I've had enough of this and I'm getting off this train!"
Getting over diabetes is as simple as making a decision in your mind. Make the decision. It happens in the snap of the fingers. Decide you've had enough and make the decision. There is no middle ground in the battle, either you win or you lose. You don't "try" to improve you diet. YOU'VE GOT NO CHOICE! Change how you live or die. It’s that simple.
You may think you're the only one who these diabetic drugs aren't working for. You're thinking, "If I could just get the dosage right or the right combination of drugs, then my blood glucose would be normal. Well, you're wrong. These drugs don't work for anybody. Their own research shows that. There's no magic pill. Diabetes is your fault. The sooner you understand that, the better your chance of survival.
I'm not here to simply be the deliverer of bad news, or to tell you how to live your life. I just call 'em like I see 'em.
interrupting... “but my doctor tells me diabetes isn't my fault and if he can just get the drugs right I'll be fine.”
“Okay, so you really believe that you can continue to be 50 lbs. overweight and eat whatever you want to and your doctor will somehow make it all better. Well, I got news for you. You can't, and if that's what your doctor said, he's an idiot.
This isn't about your doctor, its about you. Its about taking responsibility for your own health. When are you going to have enough? Aren't you sick and tired of being sick and tired yet?
Let me understand this, you think you're eating right or close to it, you think your doctor will get your prescription right, or the right combination of prescriptions, and you'll be fine, won't have to change anything substantial in your life.
Ever see the Dr. Phil show? I'll ask you what Dr. Phil asks his guests when they are living in lala land, "How's that been working for 'ya?"
You've gotta decide to take responsibility for your health right now, or you will likely die of diabetes. You got kids? You got grandkids? You wanna see 'em grow up?”
“yes, yes, yes....”
“Well, then get the job done. Nobody else will. Do you think your doctor really cares if you die before your grandson learns to walk? If he did, we wouldn't be having this conversation? No, this is your choice.
Did you remember Star Wars when Yoda is teaching Luke about the force? Luke is trying to use the force to lift his ship out of the swamp but he can't do it. You remember? Do you remember what he said? After the ship sinks back into the swamp, he says, "We'll never get it out now." And then...
Yoda: So certain are you? Always with you it cannot be done. Do you nothing that I say?
Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is totally different.
Yoda: NO! No different. Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Luke: Alright. I'll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
The same here. Don't tell me you will try to lose weight or change what you eat. Do or don't do. The choice is yours.
Wow, Ken. I doubt people have ever heard anything quite like that. Is diabetes really this bad and really this simple?
Absolutely. You are your own master. I often tell people, “Healthy people to healthy things.” You want to be healthy, start doing healthy things. You will feel better, your body will respond, and yes, your glucose will come to normal. I guarantee it.
You guarantee it? Pretty strong words.
I guarantee it. Look, this isn’t some mystical cult belief. Things work the way they do for a reason. If you abuse your body with an improper diet and lifestyle, it’ll stumble and break down without fail. On the other hand, if you treat your body to a proper diet and stay fit, it’ll reward you with a life filled with happiness and vigor.
There are millions of people with diabetes who are depressed, defeated, thinking there is no way to turn. Well, there is. You need only to believe it to begin the process. Change your diet and lifestyle and you will get your life back. Your future will be better than your present.
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