So many families are dealing with diabetes these days, you could be tricked into thinking it’s a normal condition. TV commercials with little girls showing off glucose testing monitors in new fun colors—to match their cell phones—suggest that diabetes is now so treatable that it’s nothing to be concerned about. But diabetes is serious problem, and can lead to some scary complications down the road. What is more, it’s a sure sign that there are other related metabolic issues that need to be addressed.
What Is Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar levels are too high. There are two types of diabetes, 1 & 2, and most people have type 2. I’ll be focusing on type 2.
People get diabetes mainly because of poor eating habits. Years of consuming processed foods, snack foods, soda, juice, and other low-nutrient high-calorie edibles can damage a person’s metabolism so that hormones don’t work properly. One of the hormones that doesn’t work right is insulin. Before people are diagnosed with diabetes they may be diagnosed with insulin resistance, and all diabetics are resistant to insulin. What does that mean?
Insulin helps the cells in your body suck the sugar they need to produce energy right out of the bloodstream. You can imaging that cells have little straws they put on the surface and some of those straws select glucose from the bloodstream as it floats by, and slurps it right into the cell.
When you have insulin resistance, your cells don’t have enough straws, and they can’t slurp up sugar very fast. This makes people tired, especially a few hours after eating when their sugar levels drop. Some people interpret this feeling as hunger, and go find something to eat—usually something sweet—which puts them on the fast track to gaining more weight, and making the problem worse. People with insulin resistance have slightly elevated fasting blood sugar levels. (90 mg/dl or higher)
Eventually, the body “learns” that it needs to keep blood sugar levels higher, so that there’s more sugar in the bloodstream. With more sugar floating around, it’s easier for hungry cells to slurp it up. But sugar damages cell surfaces too, by a process called Advanced Glycation End-Product (or AGE for short) formation. AGEs make the cell membranes stiff and that means cells have a harder time poking their little straws through the surface. And when the cells put out fewer and fewer straws, the sugar levels go up higher and higher. This is a vicious cycle that takes a person from from insulin resistance all the way to to diabetes.
How To Get Rid Of Your Diabetes
If you cut your carbs down to less than 100gm a day, the equivalent of 3 slices of bread, and eat fresh, healthy foods instead of processed foods as well as plenty of foods containing healthy, saturated fat, you can break the vicious cycle once and for all and get started on the path back to good health. It’s only natural.
For more information on healthy eating, click on Learn About Nutrition in the sidebar.
And if you really want to be an expert, you can buy my book!