- Free fatty acids circulating in the blood have a toxic effect, inhibiting energy production from muscle tissues, which then demand more insulin.
- Fat cells produce pigment epithelium-derived factor, causing cells to be desensitized to insulin.
- Fat cells produce retinol-binding protein, which prevents insulin from activating glucose-carrying proteins.
- Trans fats and saturated fats can stiffen and distort membrane-located insulin receptors, interfering with efficient binding.
When people are significantly overweight or obese, with more than fifty pounds of excess fat weight, their bodies demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than people of normal weight require. What do you think occurs after ten or more years of overworking the pancreas so hard? Of course, it becomes exhausted and loses the ability to keep up with the huge insulin demands, and less insulin is produced. Eventually, with less insulin available to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, the glucose level in the blood starts to rise, and those people are diagnosed with diabetes. In most cases, these people are still secreting an excessive amount of insulin, compared to normal-weight people, but just not enough for them. As time goes on, even though the overworked pancreas may still pump out much more insulin than a thinner person might need, it won’t be enough to overcome the effects of the disease-causing body fat. I call it pancreatic poop out.
Some severely overweight individuals have a large pancreas beta cell capacity, so they can produce high levels of insulin without becoming diabetic. These high insulin levels in the blood are a strong predictor of heart attack risk and shortened life span. So whether these people are diabetic or not, their high insulin levels are still dangerous. In fact, insulin level is a better indicator of a future heart attack than cholesterol level. Often people will be in an emergency room with their first heart attack and be told for the first time that their sugar is elevated. These heart attack victims never knew they had diabetes. The first sign of it was the heart attack from years of having a heightened insulin level. Damage was building up before the elevated glucose became apparent.
In most cases, the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin continues to lessen as the diabetes and the overweight condition continue year after year. Unlike type 1 diabetes, total destruction of insulinsecreting ability almost never occurs in type 2 diabetes. But the sooner type 2 diabetics lose the extra weight that is causing the diabetes, the greater the likelihood they will be able to maintain a functional reserve of insulin-secreting cells in their pancreas.
What this means is that typical type 2 diabetes is caused by excess weight in individuals who have a smaller reserve of insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. As the statistics are showing, type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic. But what is surprising is that people suffering can range anywhere from ten pounds overweight to significantly obese. It is important to say here that in individuals who are susceptible, ten to twenty extra pounds can lead to diabetic symptoms. No matter what the number is, losing the excess weight enables these individuals to live within the capabilities of their body. Most type 2 diabetics still produce enough insulin to maintain normalcy as long as they maintain a favorable body-fat percentage.
Simply put, since the level of insulin in your blood is a good indicator of your risk for heart attack, and since a tape measure around your waist is nearly as good an indicator of insulin levels as a blood test, it makes sense to remember the ancient saying, “The longer your waistline, the shorter your lifeline.”
Following a nutrient-rich, lower-calorie diet—a nutritarian diet—coupled with a good exercise program is the most important change you can adopt to extend your life span. It has been known for years that intentional weight loss improves blood sugar, lipids, and blood pressure in diabetics. Gastric bypass surgery and lapband procedures are risky, lead to malnutrition, and most often produce only temporary results. Nevertheless, overweight individuals who go through gastric bypass surgery and become too uncomfortable to eat much often also resolve their diabetes. Over the years, as the stomach stretches and the weight returns, these individuals can become diabetic again. Unfortunately, they did not learn enough about nutritional excellence. A recent study documented a significant increase in life span, with an average of 25 percent reduced mortality, when diabetic individuals dropped their body weight by just twenty to twenty-five pounds. Imagine the results when a program of nutritional excellence achieves the weight loss and the body’s cells are flooded with micronutrients that fuel cellular repair. Scientific literature shows it is not just the weight reduction that enables diabetic reversal and recovery but also the high level of plant-derived micronutrients and phytochemicals that can fuel the body’s own remarkable self-healing properties.
The results you can achieve with a nutritarian diet are predictable and remarkable, but it takes some effort and time. There are lots of diet books and exercise plans written for diabetics, but this nutritarian diet is designed and proven in clinical practice to be the most effective for losing weight, lowering cholesterol, and reversing diabetes. It is the gold standard, written specifically for people who want to do what is very best for their health and give it their all to become nondiabetic.
A nutritarian approach is all about superior nutrition, not just moderate improvement in diet. Moderation doesn’t work. But not to worry—as already mentioned, nutritional excellence will make your taste buds happy and you will be more than satisfied with the amount of food you can eat. But we will get into that later in the book.