I’ve got 3 questions for you:
I think most people would answer yes to all 3 questions. If you answered yes, you need to read the rest of this blog post!
Blood sugar is obviously important to talk about, but there is a deeper issue that you really NEED to understand. And when you understand it, you’ll know how to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes, and avoid the so-called “complications” of diabetes, such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputations and increased risk of cancer, in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
To answer the 3 questions above:
Because of this, EVERYONE needs to understand the underlying cause and what to do to prevent and reverse it. Read on . . .
The cells of our bodies are fueled by glucose, which we get from our food. Our body can convert any food into glucose. Glucose is carried throughout our body in our blood, supplying fuel to all parts of our body.
The glucose can’t get into our cells without a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Insulin acts as a key to unlock the door to let the glucose into the cells.
If the insulin can’t unlock the door, the glucose can’t get into the cells, so it remains in the blood, which raises blood sugar levels. This difficulty opening the lock is called “insulin resistance.”
Insulin Resistance graphicIf the blood sugar remains high, the pancreas works harder, pumping out more insulin, to try to beat down the door.
Fat inside the cells and coating the cells is one of the main causes of insulin resistance. The fat acts like gum in the lock. The more fat, the more insulin resistance.
Now you see why the increase in diabetes parallels the rise in obesity!
Insulin resistance causes many of the so-called complications of diabetes: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, in addition to diabetes itself! (from National Institutes of Health website.)
NOW GET THIS! – – – Insulin has another job. It also causes the extra glucose in the blood to be stored as FAT. So if some of the glucose can’t get into the cells where it is needed for energy, it gets stored as fat on your body. In other words, insulin makes you GAIN WEIGHT!
Remember what one of the main causes of insulin resistance is? FAT in your cells.
Are you starting to see this picture?
The more fat you have, the more insulin resistant you become, and the more insulin your pancreas pumps out (until it becomes exhausted.)
The more insulin you have floating around in your blood, the more fat you store.
So as long as your pancreas is able to pump out a lot of insulin, your blood sugar may not actually be elevated. However, your cells are not getting the energy they need because of their insulin resistance, and you’re storing more and more fat on your body, increasing your insulin resistance.
This is a vicious cycle!
The more weight you gain, the harder your pancreas has to work. It finally poops out (pancreatic poop-out) and can’t keep up with the demand. Then your blood sugar rises and you will be diagnosed with diabetes and probably put on medications to bring your blood sugar down. But as you can now see, the underlying problem (insulin resistance) has probably been going on for a long time before you are diagnosed with diabetes.
Guess what diabetes medications do? They make your pancreas work even harder to pump out more insulin! This makes you store even more fat. (And your doctor is telling you to lose weight.) When your exhausted pancreas just can’t handle the excessive demand caused by your insulin resistance, you then move up to giving yourself insulin injections.
At this point, the insulin resistance, the high levels of circulating insulin, and your elevated blood sugar are all damaging your body, and every part of your body is suffering.
CAN YOU SEE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
Instead of getting a bigger hammer to beat down the door, wouldn’t it make more sense to remove the gum from the lock so insulin can do it’s job of getting glucose into your cells where it can provide energy?
The solution is to reverse the insulin resistance so that your cells can easily take in the glucose they need. By increasing insulin sensitivity, your pancreas won’t need to pump out so much insulin. Your overworked pancreas breathes a sigh of relief, and the insulin level circulating in your body drops, which allows you to lose weight more easily.
So how do we reverse insulin resistance?
We need to take aggressive action to lose our excess weight, especially if it is concentrated around our middle. And we need to eat food that doesn’t cause our pancreas to produce as much insulin.
So how do we do this?
The short answer is to eat a diet of unprocessed plant foods, with an emphasis on vegetables and beans. This is a diet that is naturally low in calories and very high in nutrients, the perfect solution to permanent weight loss. Your body responds amazingly quickly to this sort of dietary change, and blood sugars often drop rapidly. This means that if you’re on medication, you’ll need to remain in close contact with your health care provider so you can get your medications adjusted as needed.
This same healthy diet will help reverse all the serious consequences of insulin resistance, returning you to health!
Also, add exercise, because toned muscles are less resistant to insulin and are more efficient at burning the excess calories.
The truth is, if you are carrying any excess fat, especially around your middle, you can be sure you’re experiencing insulin resistance and the consequences of that, and your levels of insulin are higher than they should be, even if your blood sugars are still normal. Even very overweight people who have a very strong pancreas may have normal blood sugars for awhile, but the extra insulin is promoting more weight gain and damaging their bodies.
Even if losing weight has seemed almost impossible for you, you CAN break the vicious cycle by eating a diet of unprocessed plant foods and getting the support you need to stick with a healthy diet and lifestyle for life. It is SO worth it!
My nutrition and cooking courses teach you how to eat a healthy, whole-foods, plant-based diet which is naturally low in fat and high in nutrients.
To learn more about my local classes, Click Here.
To learn more about my online video course, Click Here.
The information provided in this blog post is for information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. Do not change your diet without consulting with your physician.
Delisa is a plant-based nutrition and cooking instructor in Alaska. She believes that we are designed to be slim and healthy.