Can I avoid it? Yes. Sixty per cent of the time it can be prevented by eating healthfully, maintaining a healthy body weight, managing stress and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, says Indubala. But I’m stuck on that other 40 per cent.
Likely sensing my shock, she tells me about the “thrifty gene.” Some experts say it seeks to explain the prevalence of diabetes among certain ethnic groups, specifically those of Aboriginal, African, Asian, South Asian and Hispanic descent. The theory: Some populations still carry this hunter-gatherer gene, which causes the body to store fat and energy in case of famine. Fast-forward to the 21st century, where there’s available food in developed societies, and this gene is blamed for obesity and related health problems, including diabetes.
After our meeting, I discover the thrifty gene is a subject of skepticism (according to a recent article in The Globe & Mail, some scientists doubt its existence and wonder if it’s based on prejudice), but in the moment, sitting in Indubala’s office, the thrifty gene isn’t what’s bugging me most. There are other things on my mind.
First, my daughter and I might be hard-wired for diabetes. I don’t know if I can accept that, but I do know I won’t live in fear, even if I do get diagnosed one day. My oma and my mother have bravely shown me how they live with the disease.
And second, this story really isn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. There’s no sensational celebrity-style detox to write about, no militant health pro to curse under my breath, no promise of a tabloid-style headline (“Is Sugar Killing You?”). And yet I’m thankful for that. Instead, I encountered Indubala’s expertise and personal touch, which has inspired me to make over my habits for my loved ones and me—no crash diet required
Illustration by: Karen Klassen colagene.com
Juliette is Glow's Editor-In-Chief.