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What You Need to Know About Diabetes, Obesity, and the Bacteria in Your Gut

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Recently, USA Today reported on the increasing rates of childhood obesity and the growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children. (1)

While obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, it doesn’t necessarily cause it.

According to reporter Liz Szabo, a new study shows that diabetes in children rose sharply from 2000–2009.

Over the past 5 years, Dr. David Ludwig, lead author of the study and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, says, “Most likely, things have gotten worse."

Dr. Ludwig and his colleagues found that from 2000–2009:

  • The rate of type 2 diabetes in children rose more than 30%.
  • More than 20,000 children have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?


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Type 2 diabetes was once called adult-onset diabetes since it mainly showed up in adults who were overweight or obese, but we are now seeing more and more children with the disorder. When someone develops type 2 diabetes, the cells within the body become insulin resistant. When this happens, cells lose the ability to respond to the hormone insulin, which allows them to accept sugar.

This means that too much sugar remains in the blood while too little sugar goes into the cells—these cells eventually starve, and tissue dies.

Adults and children alike diagnosed with type 2 diabetes face a future with serious complications, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cognitive decline and dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amputations of lower limbs

Does Obesity in Children Cause Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is associated with obesity. But to make a blanket statement and say that everyone with type 2 diabetes is obese—well, that’s a stretch. The reality is that while obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, it doesn’t necessarily cause it.

What, then, is the missing link?

According to some experts, your inner ecosystem plays a major role. In his new book, Missing Microbes, Martin Blaser at NYU Langone Medical Center explains that the human inner ecosystem is changing.

These changes are happening because of antibiotic therapy and because the American diet is increasingly devoid of foods that are high in plant fiber—foods that feed the microbes living in the digestive tract.

Dr. Ludwig agrees that a diet rich in vegetables and plant fiber encourages the growth of good bacteria. He says, "Gut bacteria influence inflammation and the immune system. As our diet changes and is increasingly sterile, we're getting rid of a lot of beneficial bacteria." 

As Americans eat more and more refined foods, which are missing these valuable plant fibers, the numbers of good bacteria decrease. And so does diversity. Liz Szabo reports that “scientists are examining whether the trend could be related to rising rates of certain chronic diseases, from asthma and allergies to autism.”

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Through Diet: Rebuild Your Inner Ecosystem in 3 Steps

The good news is that scientists are piecing together how the human inner ecosystem relates to serious, chronic disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity.

For decades, The Body Ecology Diet—gluten-free, casein-free, and sugar-free—has taught how a mainly plant-based, probiotic-rich diet can support the diverse microbes of the gut and boost the immune system.

Body Ecology recommends:

  1. Removing foods that irritate the lining of the gut and feed microbial overgrowth, like sugar, gluten, and dairy; this starves infections, including Candida.
  2. Repairing the lining of the gut and cleansing the liver and colon with targeted superfoods and herbs, like LivAmend and Vitality SuperGreen.
  3. Replenishing beneficial microbes with probiotic-rich foods, like coconut water kefir and cultured vegetables.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Why are rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes growing among children? Diabetes in children spiked dramatically from 2000-2009. Type 2 diabetes, once called adult-onset diabetes, is occurring more and more in children. Type 2 diabetes can lead to a long list of health issues for adults and children, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and limb amputation.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity, though obesity is not necessarily the cause. Many experts believe that the health of the inner ecosystem is a major contributing factor. Good bacteria in the gut are critical to calm inflammation and support immune health. Unhealthy changes to the American diet, along with antibiotic use, are ridding our inner ecosystems of beneficial bacteria needed to fight disease.

You can rebuild your inner ecosystem and protect your family’s health with these Body Ecology Diet guidelines:

  1. Cut out foods that irritate the gut lining and feed harmful bacteria—sugar, gluten, and dairy.
  2. Repair the gut lining and cleanse the liver and colon with superfoods and herbs—LivAmend and Vitality SuperGreen.
  3. Restore healthy levels of friendly bacteria with probiotics—coconut water kefir and cultured vegetables.
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    • Easy to make at home


  1. Szabo, L. (2014 May 3). Diabetes rates skyrocket in kids and teens. Retrieved from

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.