A Para-Cyclist with a Rare Genetic Disorder Explains Everything – Exclusive Book Excerpt

Monday Jul 13 | BY |
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Below is a THIRD excerpt of my upcoming book: Kale and CoffeeA Renegade’s Guide to Health, Happiness and Longevity – Stay tuned for the book release and a very special offer to Renegade Health subscribers next week (better than Amazon’s)!

I’ve never met or spoken to Tom Staniford, but he seems like the type of guy I’d like.

Tom was born with a rare genetic disorder called mandibular hypoplasia, or MDP syndrome, which doesn’t allow his body to store any fat. Only eight people in the world have it. Because of MDP, Tom’s face and body are literally skin and bones, his muscles are stiff, his hearing is bad, and he has diabetes. But these limitations haven’t slowed him down. He’s a competitive professional cyclist. In 2011, he won the British National Para-Cycling Circuit Race Championship in his class. Not so bad.

While taking a break from some research, I read about Tom in an article on the BBC website. I was surprised to find that this genetically skinny man has type 2 diabetes—a disease that mostly affects over- weight people. How could this skinny cyclist get diabetes?

It’s no secret that eating too much sugar or too many carbs messes with your body’s blood sugar balance. Blood glucose, which is basically sugar in the blood, is required for you to survive. Too little and you die. Too much and you risk getting type 2 diabetes.

When you eat sugar or carbs, your body produces insulin, a hor- mone that helps your body absorb sugar from the blood and store it in your liver, muscles, and fat tissue. Too much sugar in the blood causes the pancreas to release a flood of insulin. When this occurs, two things happen. First, the body’s fat-burning capacity is switched off, so it can burn sugar as fuel. And then, because there is so much insulin in your bloodstream, your body stores too much sugar (which it converts to fat) and the glucose levels in your blood drop too low.

This means you’ll need to eat more sugar to bring them back into balance. More sugar, more insulin, more fat, less blood sugar—it becomes a cycle. Type 2 diabetes comes along when your pancreas says I’m through with this roller coaster, gets tired, and slows production of insulin.
But what about those cultures that eat traditional diets that are high in carbs and don’t suffer from an epidemic of diabetes like we do? In his famous China Study, described as “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted,” T. Colin Campbell, a researcher at Cornell University, found that while the rural Chinese diet is approximately 80 percent carbs and only 10 percent fat and 10 percent protein, it is extremely healthy for them.

They don’t suffer from the high incidence of diabetes that urban-dwelling Chinese, who eat a more Westernized diet, do. If sugar or carbs were causing problems for the rural Chinese, they would be the largest consumers of insulin shots in the world, but they’re not. So there must be another factor. What happens in Tom’s body tells us what it is.

The other factor is fat—specifically, fat in the bloodstream.

Since Tom can’t store fat, his blood is filled with it. His diabetes is caused by the excess fat in his blood, coupled with the normal amount of sugar and carbs in his diet. This is exactly what causes type 2 diabetes in most people—the combination of carbs and sugars with fat, not the sugar and carbs themselves. What this means is that a low-carb, higher-fat diet like the paleo will likely decrease your risk of diabetes just as much as a whole food, high-carb, low-fat diet will. The dietary combo that is the troublemaker is high fat plus high carb.


Can Both Diets Work? (you’ll find out more in the book…)

(Stay tuned for the book release later this month!)

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. Kevin, Thank you for publishing this.
    Having worked in Holistics 30 plus years doing research and development of the Holon Method, i know that genetic weaknesses can be corrected, as this process has done this with clients that have had Ambylopia, Downs, and other developmental problems .
    The independent research of Dr. H. R. Clark revealed that for instance Downs syndrome arises from a particular parasite entering the uterus and the fetus, causing disruption of development hence genetic issues.

    Through a special timeline process, some of the symptoms can be reversed, and some made less intense. I will cite one of many successful cases. One time I witnessed a student on the table complaining of one eye not tracking. He has had many operations and none have worked. The students delivered a special command for resolving genetic weakness which was discovered in his visual cortex. After a few minutes this man raised himself up to a sitting position, blinked his eyes, while in a state of tension we watched: The result was amazing as his eyes were now tracking for the first time in his life and stayed that way.
    Thank you
    Dr. Carol Hannum

  2. lynette mayo says:

    Hi Kevin:
    This blows my mind, how uncanny it it. I have a rare disease that literally ‘grows’ fat. . It is; Dercums Syndrome.
    I really want to go into detail and share some of my story and find an easy to understand site. I will get back again tomorrow. I just had to say a few words tonight because of how Serendipitous this is, in that he is unable to make fat, and my disease grows fat. It was an unimaginable horror, being female.

    I will share more with you tomorrow if that is alright, please let me know? its way past my bedtime in San Clemente.

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