By CHRIS FIELDS
This is a lasting ordinance for generations to come, wherever you live: You must not eat any fat or blood. – Leviticus 3:17
Leviticus is a book of laws the Israelites were to live by, and instructions for how to atone for mistakes, intentional or unintentional. God gave the law to the Israelites as they were chosen to be a standard to the rest of the world on how to live in obedience to Him. Jesus is the fulfilment of the law, not the abolisher, and being of Jewish descent, Jesus adhered to Jewish customs.
In detailing how sacrificial animals were to be presented on the altar, God gets very specific in detailing what portions of the animal were to be offered and burned. We can attest to how pleasing the aroma of fat is. We can all identify with how the smell of bacon fills the house when cooking. God details in Leviticus 3:17 how the fat of the animal sacrifice is to be burned and never consumed.
I’d like to submit to you an alternate reason God gives specific instructions on how animal fat is to be handled. God is all knowing, knowing the beginning from the end. God is our Creator, knowing how our bodies are to operate and what’s detrimental to their operation. Stored fat is one of those things. Stored fat is the cause of heart attacks, strokes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, yes, Type 2 diabetes. In my culture, Type 2 diabetes is called “the sugar.” As a diabetes educator, I encounter a lot of people with this misunderstanding.
When our body processes food, the reason it processes it is for energy, not for taste. Taste is just a benefit of food and God’s goodness on display, when the food tastes good. The main compound our body metabolizes from food for energy is called glucose, or blood sugar. Unused glucose can be converted to glycogen, which is stored in muscles and liver. If more glucose is consumed than can be converted, it’s stored as fat in fat cells. So when we get heavier, especially around the waistline, it’s just stored energy ready to be expended. When our fat cells are overwhelmed, it impedes the signaling process of glucose storage (insulin), and glucose continues to flow through our bloodstream, causing chemical imbalances, which leads to Type 2 diabetes (in short).
Type 2 diabetes is defined as an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as fuel/energy. One of the main reasons for this impairment is inactivity or sedentary behavior. The only way our body can properly metabolize food as energy is if we are expending energy.
God in His omniscience knew this, and that’s the reason He is specific about fat consumption. Fat isn’t all bad. It aids in nutrient absorption, helps keep us warm, and protects our organs, but we don’t need excess amounts of it.
God knows the capability of His creation and how His created resources would birth the age of technology. With people’s lives becoming more and more technologically driven, it’s hard to get the amount of exercise and physical activity we need to keep up with the energy we consume and store daily, and COVID-19 only adds to our “reasons for inactivity” list. By the year 2050, 1 of 3 Americans is projected to develop diabetes, and that is on trend with the 1 in 3 Americans who now live with prediabetes.
Diabetes is a progressive disease only because when the diagnosis is received, there is no true repentance and lifestyle change, either due to lack of knowledge or love of the sin. Here are some ways you can manage your diabetes, cause it to go into remission, or stop the onset of Type 2 diabetes:
◼ Cut sugar and refined carbs from your diet.
◼ Work out regularly.
◼ Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese.
◼ Watch portion sizes.
◼ Avoid sedentary behaviors.
◼ Eat a high-fiber diet.
◼ If already diagnosed, adhere to medication regimen.
◼ If already diagnosed, properly monitor glucose levels.
Diet and exercise are a match made by God, literally. God gave the Israelites what to eat and how to eat it. In His sovereignty, He also provided physical activity for them – that of running around all day catching animal sacrifices to atone for their constant sin! Praise God we no longer have to make sacrifices, but let’s get active and listen to His dietary wisdom.
Chris Fields is the founder and executive director of H.E.A.L. Mississippi and a graduate in kinesiology with advance studies in nutrition. He serves as a clinical exercise physiologist/CPT and is credentialed in Exercise Is Medicine through American College of Sports Medicine.