The first up in this series is
So, we know that we, as modern humans, are eating badly, which is making us overweight and unhealthy. But just how bad is it? What chronic diseases have been definitively linked to diet?
Before we get there, we need to take a look at the major mechanisms that are causing those links so we can understand them and make efforts to stop them. By now you’ll be familiar with insulin resistance – the focus of The Real Meal Revolution – but there are three more mechanisms to consider that have received increasing coverage in nutrition and medical circles in recent years: gut problems, gluten sensitivity, and chronic inflammation.
As with the various factors that make up the Pie of Life, all four are often connected with or exacerbated by each other.
The first problem of living permanently in a carbohydrate-burning state is not hard to see: you put on weight. But a critical unseen problem is increased insulin resistance.
Each time you eat carbs, insulin is secreted to deal with the glucose. But the increasing amounts of insulin being secreted have less and less effect when it comes to burning the glucose in your system and preventing it from being stored as fat.
As with nicotine and other narcotics, the body gradually loses its sensitivity to insulin. Over time, ever more insulin is required to keep glucose levels under control when carbs are consumed. Meanwhile, the associated functions of high insulin levels continue, such as decreased metabolism (and thus increased lethargy) and increased appetite. The obesity cycle spins ever quicker and you suffer from ever more laziness and internal inflammation, which eventually becomes chronic inflammation.
There is nothing traditional medicine can do other than treat the symptoms. “Take x for gout, y for depression and of course statins for high cholesterol…” Finally, when your blood results reveal you have developed type-2 diabetes, you will start having to assist your failing pancreas with medication and then externally injected insulin. Though this may seem like a solution, all it does is keep your blood glucose under control while the other effects of insulin, most notably the build-up of chronic inflammation throughout your body, simply get worse.
There are a couple of problems in conceptualising insulin resistance. First, you can’t know how insulin resistant you are without getting tested – but we’ll get to that. Second, it is something of an intangible notion because you never see insulin or its effects in action (except slowly, over time, so the association is forgotten). So if it helps, think of insulin resistance as carbohydrate resistance. If you are carb resistant (insulin resistant), whenever you eat carbohydrates – bread, pasta, chocolate, whatever – you are ingesting something your body can’t process properly, and as a result, you are more likely to suffer long-term ill effects.
For more information on insulin resistance read Diabetes Epidemic and you by Dr Joseph Kraft.
“Should Everyone Be Tested?
Only those concerned about their future!”
“Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes...are simply undiagnosed”
Dr Joseph Kraft
In the next part of this series we will look at Gut problems! What the gut does and how to restore or keep it in a good state.