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New diagnoses of type II diabetes have reached epidemic proportions in every part of the world. Researchers revealed studies finding that 366 million people worldwide have diabetes, and that one person dies of diabetes complications every 7 seconds.

Once a Disease of the Elderly, Type II Diabetes Now Epidemic Among the Young

Global sales of diabetes medications reached $35 billion in 2010, and are expected to top $48 billion by 2015. The total cost of diabetes care worldwide is nearly half a trillion dollars per year, with the greatest increases in China, India, Mexico, and Brazil.

Seldom-Considered Causes of Diabetes

It is hard for many people to imagine, but tens of millions of people died in famines as recently as the 1960's. For most of recorded human history, food shortages have been much more common than food surpluses. The human body has an exquisite ability to survive starvation, with the same tools that cause diabetes when food is overabundant. The tendencies toward diabetes begin at birth.

Every human life begins as a fertilized egg that rapidly multiplies to become a tiny embryo known as a blastocyst. The blastocyst has to implant itself in the lining of the uterus to continue growth. One of the chemicals that the embryo uses to bind itself to its mother is a hormone called ananamide, named after the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning bliss.

Later in life the human body continues to make anandamide, but "bliss" is achieved by eating sugary foods. The more likely you were in the first two days of life to bond to your mother, the more likely you are to have a blissful response to eating sugary foods. Many type II diabetics were not the product of their mother's first conception—they were just the first child conceived who was "sweet" enough to survive.

The Urge to Eat Processed Food

Another seldom-discussed factor in the epidemic of diabetes is the worldwide prevalence of infant formula. Baby formula saves mothers the necessity of breastfeeding. It makes it possible to feed infants whose mothers cannot breastfeed. And most infant formula is flavored with vanilla. Even if the amount of vanilla is so small that it cannot be tasted on the tongue, the brain's vaniloid receptors register tiny traces of vanilla in food—and the presence of vanilla triggers deep memories of infancy and satisfaction.

Vanilla is in nearly every processed food product, for the simple reason that manufacturers know that most people can't resist it. There is vanilla in ketchup, in hamburger buns, in hamburger sauces, and in almost every kind of mass-produced dessert cake, cookie, biscuit, ice cream, candy, or pudding. Even chocolate is flavored with vanilla.

Vanilla makes every meal a happy meal, and people want to eat more and more. If the hamburger you cook at home just doesn't hit the spot the way you enjoy a Big Mac at McDonald's, just add a little vanilla. You'll notice the difference.

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