This is probably the most important topic that we can talk about because it impacts every aspect of your health or lack of health.
Monday I challenged you to drink only water as a health tip. Why you might be wondering? â€œNothing has contributed more to our weight gain than the clash between our drinking habits and our biology.â€ â€œWe drink a lot of our calories, but we donâ€™t cut our food intake as a result.â€ â€œThe average American gets over 450 calories a day from beverages.â€ Bary Popkin, The World is Fat. 2009
Sugar: generic term for anything sweet. Simple sugars (one sugar) are glucose (dextrose), fructose, and galactose. Tablet sugar is sucrose (glucose and fructose), a disaccharide (2 sugars). Other disaccharides are maltose (beer) and lactose (milk). Longer sugars are called polysaccharides, and sugar alcohols are longer, shaped differently and actually not considered sugar.
A study that came out in the last couple of years looked at 188 countries, and incredibly none of them got thinner in the last 30 years, every country became more obese.Â The Center of Disease Control continues to show that America is continuing to get bigger and bigger and this is direct consequence of being insulin resistant.Â Why do we get insulin resistant? Because we eat too much sugar, specifically fructose is the reason.
Sugar is the culprit. Sugar creates the inflammation. Sugar gets stored in fat cells. Sugar also makes us get old, or ages the body. It is a process called glycation, the abnormal hooking up of sugars to proteins.Â According Nora Gedgaudas, who wrote the book Primal Body Primal Mind, â€œglucose is what ages usâ€. She also notes that fructose is 20-30 times more glycating than glucose. There is this hooking up of glucose in the blood stream, where it forms crosslinks with proteins called advanced glycosylation end-products, which makes the protein not work appropriately.Â This is what really ages the body. Consequently, the more sugar that we put into our bodies, the more we glycate but also these sugars are directly linked to that phenomenon known as insulin resistance.Â Keeping your blood sugars low and stable, slows the aging process down.
Insulin resistance is responsible for more chronic incurable degenerative diseases than any other single metabolic problem. In fact, there is increasing evidence that insulin resistance is being linked to Alzheimerâ€™s dementia.
It is this phenomenon of insulin resistance, that is the biggest health problem of all.
This is how the body works: you eat food, your blood sugar levels go up (after absorbing glucose, fructose etc into the blood stream). Whatever you donâ€™t use for energy at that time needs to get stored. How do you store it? Insulin. The pancreas secretes insulin, that pulls the energy into the cell, and stores it as fat.
â€œThere is no energy storage without insulinâ€”it is the key that unlocks the door to the fat cell to let energy enter and subsequently be stored as fat. Insulin makes fatâ€”the more insulin, the more fat. And there it sits…and sits…as long as there is insulin around. When insulin levels drop, the process goes in reverse: triglycerides get broken down, causing the fat cell to shrinkâ€”when it happens, thatâ€™s weight loss.â€ Pg. 35 Fat Chance, Robert Lustig, MD
What is insulin resistance?
You know you are insulin resistant when:
- your wait circumference is bigger then you butt circumference. A ratio of 1;1 is the upper limit, but ideal is a ratio of 0.8 for men and 0.7 for women.
- Fasting glucose is >95
- HgbA1C >6% (ideal is 4.8-5.4) for every 1% increase you risk of cancer goes up by 18% (Kong, Diabetes)
- Fasting insulin >3 and for sure if > 8. This means insulin is constantly around.
What are the consequences?
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
What causes insulin resistance?
- Sugar (glucose & fructose)
- Refined carbohydrates
- High glycemic index foods
- Trans fatty acids (clog up the insulin receptors, contribute to insulin resistance)
- Low level of omega 3â€™s (too much omega 6, stiffen insulin receptors)
- Wheat (amylopectin A)
- Ceramides (toxin fats that cause insulin resistance)
- Alcohol causes liver inflammation which causes ceramide production.
- Nitrosamines (nitrites, nitrates) â€œChronic exposure to nitrogen fertilizers, nitrates in water used to irrigate cropsâ€ … â€œcontribute to the process of neurodegeneration.â€ (Newport, 2011)
- These create insulin resistance in the brain
What can we do about it?
Stop eating sugar, refined carbs and wheat! Stop drinking sugary drinks including fruit juice!
Things like cinnamon, chromium (both help the insulin receptor to work better), omega 3 oils all help your body to handle sugar better. Start to increase the intake of good fats, MCT oils. Exercise also increases the sensitivity of the insulin receptors.
Remember, when you are resistant to insulin, its like the key not always working on the door, and that door needs to get open to get energy in, so the body makes more and more until someone opens the door.
Keep this quote in mind:
â€œToday, the number one source of dietary calories in America comes from a corn-based industrial sweetener known as high fructose corn syrup.â€ â€œThe food industry uses high fructose corn syrup more than any other sweetener because itâ€™s cheap to produce, transport and store.â€ Gedgaudas, page 172, Primal Body, Primal Mind
Other Sugar/insulin resistance related Book references:
- Fat Land. How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. Greg Critser. 2004
- Good Calories, Bad Calories. Gary Taubes. 2008
- The end of overeating. Taking control of the insatiable American appetite. David Kessler, MD. 2009
- The Primal Blueprint. Mark Sisson, 2009
- Sugar Nation. The hidden truth behind americasâ€™s deadliest habit and the simple way to beat it. Jeff Oâ€™Connell. 2010
- Wheat Belly. William Davis, MD. 2011
- Why we get fat. Gary Tabues. 2011
- Heavy! The surprising reasons America is the land of the free-and the home of the fat. Richard McKenzie. 2012.
- The Skinny Rules. Bob Harper, Greg Critser. 2012
- Kick your fat in the nuts. T.C.Hale. 2012
- The fat switch. Richard Johnson, MD. 2012
- Salt sugar fat. Michael Moss. 2013
- Fat chance. Robert Lustig, MD. 2013
- Grain Brain, David Perlmutter, MD 2013
- Alzheimerâ€™s Disease. What if there was a cure? Mary Newport, MD. 2011
This is a visual of what we just talked about, created by Dan Murphy, DC. But I think it helps. You want to lose weight? You want to avoid disease? You want to prevent diabetes, cancer and dementia? STOP eating so much sugar!!!!