Tag: insulin

Artificial Sweeteners Effect on Insulin and Blood Sugar

A couple questions I get asked from time to time is about artificial sweeteners effect on insulin levels and do they have any impact on blood sugar. This topic has been brought up by a few people who believe that artificial sweeteners are just as bad, or possibly worse than refined sugar for diabetics. So let me delve into this…

Artificial sweeteners effect on blood sugar.

Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, low-calorie sweeteners or nonnutritive sweeteners do not affect your blood sugar level. In fact, most artificial sweeteners are considered “free foods” — foods containing less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrates — because they don’t count as calories or carbohydrates on a diabetes exchange. If you are diabetic you can use most sugar substitutes  including:

Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)

Acesulfame potassium (Sunett)

Sucralose (Splenda)

Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia)

However, you need to always bear in mind that other ingredients in foods containing artificial sweeteners can still affect your blood sugar level. You still need to fully read food labels if you have concerns about your blood sugar. Because of the misperception that foods are healthier when they are sugar-free,  some people end up consuming more than they should and still have weight problems as a result of this. A good many sugar free sweet treats are still void of any real nutritional value and are full of empty calories.

But what about sugar alcohols effect on blood sugar?

Sugar alcohols are a category of sweet carbohydrates. Since sugar alcohols are partially resistant to digestion, they act like dietary fiber. As the name implies, they are like hybrids of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules, yet they do not contain any ethanol. Sugar alcohols are safe for people who misuse alcohol.

Several sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits and vegetables. However, most are processed from other sugars, such as from glucose in cornstarch. Because sugar alcohols have a similar chemical structure as sugar, they activate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue. Unlike artificial and low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols do contain calories, just fewer than plain sugar

Most sugar alcohols have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels. In the case of erythritol and mannitol, the glycemic index is zero. The only exception is maltitol, which has a glycemic index of 36. However, this is still very low compared to sugar and refined carbohydrates. For people with metabolic syndrome, prediabetes or diabetes, sugar alcohols, with the exception of maltitol can be considered excellent alternatives to sugar.

Sugar alcohols are not artificial sweeteners. They are popular as low-calorie sweeteners, yet the main problem with sugar alcohols is that some of them can cause digestive problems, especially when consumed in large amounts. Your body cannot digest most of them, so they travel to the large intestine where they are metabolized by your gut bacteria. If you eat a lot of sugar alcohols in a short period of time, you may experience gas, bloating and diarrhea.

I personally use a lot of Swerve products which is a brand name for Erythritol which is generally considered one of the healthiest sugar alcohols. Erythritol is calorie-free, doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and is far less likely to cause you any digestive upset than the other sugar alcohols.

Artificial sweeteners effects on insulin.

We know that blood sugar levels increase when we eat foods containing carbohydrates. When digested, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. When our blood sugar levels rise, our body releases insulin.

But, what about when we consume artificial sweeteners?

There is a response known as cephalic phase insulin release which is triggered by the sight, smell, and taste of food, as well as chewing and swallowing. This response causes small amounts of insulin to be released before any sugar enters our bloodstream when we begin eating.

Depending on the type of sweetener, the effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin levels appears to be variable:

Sucralose

Scientists believe sucralose causes insulin increase by triggering sweet taste receptors in the mouth which can cause cephalic phase insulin release. In one study, 17 people were given either sucralose or water and then administered a glucose tolerance test. Those given sucralose had 20% higher blood insulin levels. (1)

Aspartame

Aspartame is perhaps the most well-known and most controversial artificial sweetener. Studies have not linked aspartame with raised insulin levels. (1)

Saccharin

Scientists have investigated whether stimulating the sweet receptors in the mouth with saccharin leads to an increase in insulin levels and have had mixed results.One study found that mouth washing with a saccharin solution (without swallowing) caused insulin levels to rise. Other studies have found no effects. (1)

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K) can increase insulin levels in rats. One study in rats looked at how injecting large amounts of acesulfame-K affected insulin levels. They found a massive increase of 114-210%. However, the effect of acesulfame-K on insulin levels in humans is unknown.(1)

The bottom line on artificial sweeteners:

 Sweeteners are among the food additives that create a considerable amount of debate. Artificial sweeteners are considered to be potential high-consumption food additives because of their use in products consumed in large amounts, such as soft drinks, and ‘‘tabletop’’ sweeteners. Although the scientific evidence indicates that the sweeteners permitted for food use are safe, some individuals and organizations remain skeptical about long-term health risks due to their consumption . Studies of artificial sweeteners have had mixed results, with some indicating that people using them eat fewer calories and lose weight or maintain a stable weight. However, in a few studies, artificial sweeteners were associated with weight gain, which might increase the risk of developing insulin resistance which is a condition where the cells in your body do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

Artificial sweeteners have been declared safe by regulatory bodies in the US and Europe. Although they might not be exactly healthy, they are still a far better choice than refined sugar. If you consume them as a part of your diet, there is no good reason for you to refrain from their use if in moderation.

(1) Healthline.com

Carbs and Obesity

While I am quite sure most people, including my former self, know and understand why they have a weight control problem, I am equally positive there are many who suffer weight problems because they indeed do lack nutritional understanding. This would be an oversimplification, but we do encounter some people whose understanding of nutrition is not much beyond eating to satiate an immediate hunger. Many people eat to satisfy their hunger with little to no understanding of how the foods they consume are affecting their weight. We have found through interactions with people in our personal lives and from our readers, that while they may be familiar with the macro-nutrient terms carbohydrate, fat, and protein, they really do not understand the role these macro-nutrients play in the body and with their overall health. Think about how many times you might have heard someone mention how bad a fast food hamburger is for their health while having no clue that despite the sodium and saturated beef fat, the actual burger patty is quite possibly the healthiest portion of their fast food meal when you consider all the sugar and simple carbs the rest of the meal contains. For instance, a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese Value Meal contains  69 grams of sugar!

From McDonald’s website.

Look at the number of total of carbohydrates in this one meal!

This is more than I even target for myself over an entire day of eating.

Now, if you consume these types of meals on a regular basis, and the rest of your meals and snacks are equally high in carbohydrates, you are going to most likely have a weight problem, and are also a candidate for type 2 diabetes.

Some people truly do not know what constitutes a carbohydrate. 

We have found that a good amount of time when you ask an individual what is a carbohydrate, they will answer; sweets and pasta. Ask the same person what a vegetable or fruit is, and they will probably answer that they are vegetables and fruit, as if that is a food type all it’s own. We know from interactions with clients and readers that many people have the misguided notion they can eat unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables without gaining weight.  We also know this to be true from following and studying a major weight loss company’s social media. We have found that many people are surprised to learn that sweets, pasta, fruits and vegetables are all carbohydrates. What they do not understand is carbohydrates are all merely different forms of simple sugar linked together in polymers akin to edible plastic.

Contrary to the “Cult of Keto” we need carbohydrates in our diet!

Our body’s require a certain amount of carbohydrates in our diet for optimum health. We need carbs to fuel our brains which use glucose as it’s primary energy source. Our brains can be gluttonous for glucose considering it uses two thirds of the glucose circulating within your bloodstream even while you are at rest. To feed your brain alone, your body continuously converts carbohydrates into glucose.

Now, here is where it begins getting a bit complicated when it comes to carbohydrates. When your body does not immediately use the carbs you have consumed, they will be stored as glycogen. Our bodies have two storage vessels for this glycogen, they are the liver and our muscles.  The glycogen stored in our muscles is not accessible by the brain. Only the glycogen stored within our liver can be broken down and released back into the bloodstream in order to maintain proper blood sugar levels for proper brain function.

While our liver is a storage vessel for glycogen, it is limited in it’s capacity. The liver can be depleted of glycogen within 10 to 12 hours, therefore the glycogen reserves must be maintained. This is why we need to consume complex carbohydrates.

What happens when you eat too many carbohydrates? 

No matter whether they are being stored in the muscle or liver, your body’s storage capacity for them are limited. If you are of average weight, you can store about 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates in your muscles, however, you cannot access these carbs. In the liver, where carbs are accessible for glucose conversion, we can only store about 60 to 90 grams. This is equivalent to about 2 cups of cooked pasta, or about 3 candy bars. This quantity is your total reserve capacity to keep your brain functioning at it’s optimum.

Once the glycogen levels have been filled in both the liver and muscles, there is only one thing which happens with the excess – it gets turned into body fat! Even though carbohydrates are not made of fat, they end up as excess fat in your body.

Now, we know that we have a limited storage capacity for the carbs we consume, lets add insult to injury. Any meal or snack you consume that is high in carbohydrates, with an emphasis on simple carbs and sugar, will cause you to experience a rapid rise in blood sugar. To adjust for this rapid rise, your pancreas secretes insulin into the blood stream to lower the levels of blood glucose. While that is all fine and dandy, the issue is one of insulin being a storage hormone which puts aside excess carb calories as fat for future use.

Insulin that is stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat!

When we eat more carbohydrates than our body requires, we are actually sending a hormonal message via insulin to make our body’s fat. To rub salt into an open wound, not only does insulin cause our body to store fat, it also prevents it from releasing any of it.  Our own insulin, which we can control through healthy nutritional habits, makes it damn near impossible to use fat as energy. No matter the type of carb, excess amounts in your diet not only make you fat, they ensure you remain fat! This double whammy can prove to be detrimental to your health at best, or even lethal in the worst case scenario.

 

 

Obesity and Insulin

We are often asked the question by people professing to want to lose weight how they can best go about it. It seems at times, that most are looking for some type of hack, or gimmick, which comes as no surprise when it appears that weight loss hacks and gimmicks are more prevalent than legitimate weight loss plans.

Hacks and gimmicks may work in the short term, but they will always lead you to failure in maintaining weight loss. They fail you because they are not nutritionally sound. They fail you exactly because hacks and gimmicks are for the short term fix, when what you need is a life long solution! There are no short cuts to having a fit and trim body with a healthy percentage of body fat. Nutritional habits need to be a permanent lifestyle, and not something you just want to get through. It is a sad state of affairs when so many people either do not care what is making them fat, or simply just do not know the cause of their obesity. I blame this largely on our education system where nutrition and health are not subjects taught as they used to be when I was in school. This ignorance of basic nutrition is causing a significant rise not only in obesity, but Type 2 Diabetes too. Sadly, we now have children with Type 2 Diabetes when it used to be that you only heard of adults getting it.  More and more people are developing type 2 diabetes during youth. This trend is growing across all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes.

88 million American adults—approximately 1 in 3—have prediabetes.

Nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents are obese, a percentage than has more than tripled since the 1970’s. The recent rise in type 2 diabetes is directly related to the rise in obesity rates in the United States.

Our message is SIMPLE!

Quit eating refined sugar, foods with added sugars, and simple carbohydrates except for fruit.  Cut out processed foods as much as you can, and when you cannot avoid a processed food, be sure to make choices that do not have added sugars, unhealthy fats and preservatives. By doing this and only eating whole foods that are nutritionally dense, you will manage to lose weight down to a healthy level of body fat as long as you are not consuming in excess of your daily needs in calories.

The main obstacle we encounter when telling people to quit eating sugar and simple carbs is society’s ignorance of sugar’s effects and their tendency to ignore what it is they do not want to hear. It is not rare that a person who is obese will also be addicted to sugar and simple carbohydrates. They do not want to hear they need to give up that which is making them fat. The addiction to sugar is really no different than the alcoholics addiction to alcohol. Putting it bluntly, if you are not in the frame of mind to give up sugar in order to improve your weight and health, a half hearted effort at weight loss will only result in failure, more obesity, and at some point a poor nutrition related ailment such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome to name a few.

Insulin

Insulin is created and secreted by the pancreas which stores about 200 units of the hormone. People of a healthy weight and good dietary habits will secrete about 25 to 30 units of insulin per day. You might think of insulin as being like a broom, as it sweeps glucose, amino acids and free fatty acids into cells where they are stored as fat and glucose to be used later.

For those at a healthy body fat percentage, blood sugar levels  do not vary much because of the harmonious and compensating actions of insulin and glucagon which is also created by the pancreas. Insulin keeps blood sugar from rising too high, while glucagon prevents blood sugar from falling too low. A healthy and nutritious diet keeps these hormones in harmony with each other. Humans can actually survive without glucagon, but must have insulin on order to survive. For the diabetic, what they need to know and understand is insulin given by injections is not nearly as efficient as the pancreas in supplying a steady stream of insulin for your body’s needs. When you become obese, you stand the risk of becoming insulin deficient or your body becomes insulin resistant. Either way, you are jeopardizing your health and well being. I want to emphasize,

“YOU ARE JEOPARDIZING YOUR HEALTH”.

No one is doing it to you!

After you have consumed carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks down the food. The blood in your intestines will absorb the digested food and as a result your blood sugar will rise. This action stimulates the release of insulin from you pancreas which causes glucose to be stored as fat. Once the blood sugar, or glucose has dropped too low, glucagon is secreted which converts the stored fat into glucose and restores your blood sugar to a normal level. When these two hormones get out of balance, people tend to become obese. Obesity causes increased insulin production as a result of excessive stimulation of the pancreas through over eating. Over eating most often occurs through an over consumption of sugar and simple carbs which only serve to make foods calorie dense and low in nutrition.

Increased insulin levels promote the storage of sugar as glycogen in both the liver and muscle. After proteins and fats are ingested, insulin promotes the storage of protein in muscle and fat in fat cells as triglycerides. Because insulin also prevents the breakdown of glycogen and triglycerides, it becomes almost impossible to lose body fat when your insulin levels are elevated.

Insulin also activates the enzyme, lipoprotein lipase that promotes the removal of triglycerides from the bloodstream and their position in fat cells. Insulin also inhibits hormone sensitive lipase that breaks down stored fats. The net result of these two activities is an increase in stored fat that results in your increased weight and obesity. Insulin is a major hindrance to fat breakdown and is a major facilitator of fat storage. When you are munching away on those cupcakes with icing piled sky high, you are causing your pancreas to pump excessive amounts of insulin. Over time, you may quit producing insulin, or you may become insulin resistant which is a condition where your body has a decreased response to insulin and your fat cells, liver cells, and muscle cells are now insensitive to the circulating insulin in your system.

Obesity is the most common cause of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Whether you want to admit it or not, the power is in your control to not be afflicted with either condition. Yet many refuse to give up their sweet treats in exchange for good health. Obese people without diabetes usually have elevated insulin levels with normal blood sugar levels. However, the obese person with high insulin levels may be well on their way to becoming diabetic. What occurs is their pancreas becomes exhausted from constant stimulation by glucose and will eventually fail which results in diabetes. Obese individuals will also often have elevated insulin levels in both the fasting and fed states. These people will also often have elevated lipoprotein lipase levels which is important in the storage of fat. The result of which is the obese individuals are metabolically ready at all times to store fat from everything they consume. It is not rocket science why an obese individual with an elevated insulin level can not lose weight. But, there is something that can be done about this through first making the personal choice to stand with a strong resolve to do so.

What can be done?

  1.  Get more sleep. A good night’s sleep is important for your health. Several studies have also linked poor sleep to reduced insulin sensitivity. For example, one study in nine healthy volunteers found that getting just four hours of sleep in one night reduced insulin sensitivity and the ability to regulate blood sugar, compared to getting eight and a half hours of sleep.
  2. Exercise more. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to increase insulin sensitivity. It helps move sugar into the muscles for storage and promotes an immediate increase in insulin sensitivity, which lasts 2–48 hours, depending on the exercise. A study of overweight men with and without diabetes found that when participants performed resistance training over a three-month period, their insulin sensitivity increased, independent of other factors like weight loss.
  3. Reduce stress. Stress affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. It encourages the body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode, which stimulates the production of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon. These hormones break down glycogen into glucose, which enters your bloodstream for your body to use as a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, ongoing stress keeps your stress hormone levels high, stimulating nutrient breakdown while increasing blood sugar. Stress hormones make the body more insulin resistant.
  4. Lose weight. Excess weight, especially in the belly area, reduces insulin sensitivity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes who lost 5–7% of their total weight over six months reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 54% for the next three years.
  5. Eat more fiber. Fiber can be divided into two broad categories — soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber mostly acts as a bulking agent to help stool move through the bowels. Meanwhile, soluble fiber is responsible for many of fiber’s associated benefits, like lowering cholesterol and reducing appetite. Several studies have found a link between high soluble fiber intake and increased insulin sensitivity. For example, a study in 264 women found that those who ate more soluble fiber had significantly lower levels of insulin resistance. Soluble fiber also helps feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, which have been linked to increased insulin sensitivity. Foods that are rich in soluble fiber include legumes, oatmeal, flax seeds, vegetables like Brussels sprouts and fruits like oranges.
  6. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in plant compounds that help increase insulin sensitivity. But be careful not to eat too much fruit in a single sitting, as some types are high in sugar.
  7. Watch your intake of carbohydrates. Carbs are the main stimulus that causes insulin blood levels to rise. Reducing your carb intake will help increase insulin sensitivity. That’s because high-carb diets tend to lead to spikes in blood sugar, which put more pressure on the pancreas to remove sugar from the blood. Spreading your carb intake evenly throughout the day is another way to increase insulin sensitivity. Eating smaller portions of carbs regularly throughout the day provides the body with less sugar at each meal, making insulin’s job easier. This is also supported with research showing that eating regularly benefits insulin sensitivity. The type of carbs you choose is also important. Low-glycemic index (GI) carbs are best, since they slow the release of sugar into the blood, giving insulin more time to work efficiently. Carb sources that are low-GI include sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and some varieties of oatmeal.
  8. Quit eating sugar and or foods with added sugars! There’s a big difference between added sugars and natural sugars. Natural sugars are found in sources like plants and vegetables, both of which provide lots of other nutrients. Conversely, added sugars are found in more highly processed foods. The two main types of sugar added during the production process are high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar, also known as sucrose. Both contain approximately 50% fructose. Many studies have found that higher intakes of fructose can increase insulin resistance among people with diabetes. The effects of fructose on insulin resistance also appear to affect people who don’t have diabetes, as reported in an analysis of 29 studies including a total of 1,005 normal and overweight or obese participants. The findings showed that consuming a lot of fructose over less than 60 days increased liver insulin resistance, independent of total calorie intake. Foods that contain lots of added sugar are also high in fructose. This includes candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, cakes, cookies and pastries.

Obesity and insulin levels are within your control if you make the choice to do something about both. We know that insulin is an important hormone that has many roles in the body, and that when your insulin sensitivity is low, it puts pressure on your pancreas to increase insulin production to clear sugar from your blood. Low insulin sensitivity will result in chronically high blood sugar levels, which are known to increase your risk of many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to naturally increase your insulin sensitivity.

You just have to decide which is more important, a cupcake or your health and well being.

Choose wisely!

Are You Nutritionally Apathetic

Truth! If you are not happy with your life, your weight, your lack of success at anything you have a choice to make. You can choose to continue along the same tiresome and difficult path you are currently on, or you can choose to do all that you can in order to change your life for the better. Life is indeed all about the choices we make, you will never improve any aspect of your life when you are too apathetic to learn what it is you need to do in order to move forward for the life you might envy. People complain all the time about not being able to lose weight, but are totally apathetic towards understanding how their nutritional habits keep them fat. There are many who have never learned anything at all about nutrition, and there are others who do understand but just want to be able to eat what they want because it tastes good and gives them a temporary mental boost. The people in the latter category are typically willfully ignorant of how foods affect their bodies. They just do not care that much until they have to go out and buy larger size clothing to wear, or when they are too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit at the beach or pool.

If you are at a point where you truly want a healthier and leaner body, then you must come to understand how your nutrition affects your body. You can try all the gimmicks and fad diets in the world, but the bottom line is, you will not successfully keep off any of your lost weight if you do not adopt healthy nutritional habits for the rest of your life. A diet will typically have a stopping point when you achieve your desired weight, being lean, fit and healthy is a lifetime endeavor which requires a change of lifestyle. You have to work at it, and understand that being apathetic is not going to get or keep you there. You have to understand that as long as you eat crap foods, your hormonal balance will be out of kilter. As long as your nutritional habits keep your hormones out of balance, you are going to suffer from being overweight or obese.

The hormonal effects of your diet.

When you think of hormones does your mind automatically go to sex? Do you understand or know there is more to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone than fueling your sex drive? Do you know these two hormones play a vital role in maintaining your health too? Are you aware of the other hormones in your body and how your nutrition, or lack thereof, affects your wellbeing?

As significant as they may be, testosterone and estrogen are but two hormones that come as standard issue to all living organisms. Through our work, we have discovered how ignorant a lot of people are when it comes to the crucial role hormones play in their bodies. Most never even give them even a brief consideration until their hormones have affected their health when they are out of balance. Your nutrition has a direct impact on your hormonal balances and these hormones have a direct impact on virtually everything your body does. Your hormones affect your blood sugar along with your basic survival mechanisms involved in stress, fear and even love.  Consume an out of balance diet, and you can expect your hormones to become out of balance, this a simple truth for all.

Your body has what is known as the endocrine system which could be thought of as a communication system for your hormonal responses to stress, fear, love and other emotions. Endocrine hormonal responses can be considered very similar to that of microwave towers or or a fiber optic network.  In your endocrine system, action begins when a secreting gland dispatches a message in the form of a hormone into your bloodstream, which is your body’s version of a fiber optic network. This hormonal message travels through the bloodstream to reach a distant target cell. The cell then receives the message and responds with the appropriate action that has been ordered. For example, insulin is a powerful hormone that your pancreas secretes into your bloodstream. The insulin goes to your liver along with the cells of your muscles. The insulin orders these cells and your liver to snatch glucose from your bloodstream and to store it for later use. As your insulin levels get greater, your blood-glucose levels begin to fall. Once this happens, your brain which requires glucose to function, calls out for more of it. If your brain does not get the glucose it requires, it begins to tune out. This is what we call hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. You will feel this as a mental fatigue. This is why you crash after eating foods full of simple carbs. You know, like when you have pasta for lunch and then are feeling a bad need for a nap a couple of hours later. If you are carb addicted, you know full well about these afternoon crashes. I can tell you that I know this too well myself as I am carb addicted too.

So, what is it that prevents the liver from replenishing the bloodstream with your body’s stored glucose when hypoglycemia strikes?

High levels of insulin prevent this!

Everyone it seems has heard of insulin, but insulin has a sidekick that is equally as important. Insulin and its sidekick keep each other in balance by having totally opposite physiological effects. Your body’s hormones are not lone Rambo’s, nope, they are almost always paired with with another. Balance is a must if you want to be healthy, fit and trim. You cannot have it any other way, no matter how much you might wish it to be. This balance is going to come from nutrition and exercise! Sitting on your couch eating doughnuts is not going to get nor keep you in balance.

The other hormone that is paired with insulin in glucagon. While insulin drives down your blood sugar level, glucagon has the opposite effect of increasing it. The balancing of these two opposing physiological effects allows your body to maintain a tight control of your blood sugar levels that keeps your brain functioning properly. When you allow the balance of insulin and glucagon to get out of kilter your blood sugar levels are going to be out of whack. If your insulin levels become too high, or your glucagon level too low, you end up with hypoglycemia.

Often, people who eat a calorie dense, low nutrition diet full of simple carbs and refined sugars, they become insulin resistant.  When you become insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels remain too high despite high levels of insulin because your target cells no longer respond to the insulin.  Insulin resistance and the resulting high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) lead to the accumulation of excess body fat. Prolonged hyperinsulinemia can, and will, promote diabetes and speed up the development of heart disease.

Is this something you can afford to happen?

Is your life not worth more than the junk foods you consume?

If you cannot afford healthy foods, just how the hell are you going to afford high medical bills?

It is a fools game to consider this all to be just a academic discussion of hormonal biochemistry. This is a topic that should be understood by all, especially if you have brought children into this world. The foods we eat have an exceptionally powerful effect on all of our body’s hormonal responses. Once you understand this, it would be foolish to not consider the value of your nutritional habits.  Food is far more than calories to fuel your body or a mechanism to stop your stomach from grumbling. Food is one of the most powerful drugs you can ever encounter. If your diet is out of balance, your body is out of balance. If your body is out of balance, then your health and well being are going to suffer.  Because insulin drives down blood sugar and glucagon restores it, the ongoing critical balance between these two hormones are necessary for healthy survival. Bear in mind, the release of insulin is stimulated by carbohydrates, especially those like bread, pasta and foods with added sugars that are high on the glycemic index. The release of the insulin balancing hormone glucagon is stimulated by your consumption of protein. If your glucagon levels remain low, and you cannot replenish your blood sugar levels from the stored carbohydrates in the liver, your brain is going to tell you that bag of corn chips, that bowl of ice cream or candy bar looks very enticing. You are going to get that “hangry” craving for junk foods. While these crap junk foods provide immediate energy to your brain, they do nothing but restart the vicious cycle of raised insulin and low glucagon which places you into carbohydrate hell. These cravings are hormonally driven and have nothing to do with your will power, or lack thereof. As long as you are stuck in this diet related cycle, you will simply put, remain fat.

If you are of moderate intelligence, you are only being a fool if you remain apathetic about your nutritional needs.

Only because we have encountered this; you cannot tell me you care about losing weight if you are going to be willfully ignorant of what it takes to not only lose it, but to keep it off.

Apathy will get you nowhere, no matter how much you might protest to the contrary.

 

 

Heart Health and Insulin

Often, when we think of heart issues we never consider insulin and it’s role in heart health. Usually, when we think of insulin the first thing that comes to mind is diabetes. And here in lies a huge problem, most people who are over weight or obese will not think of themselves as having a true health issue with their weight when they have not developed diabetes. This thinking is foolhardy and comes from a lack of knowledge. Besides the effect on your body with insulin and whether you have diabetes or not, the powerful role insulin plays in your body has great effects that can lead to high blood pressure, risk-related blood fat levels, weight gain, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease in a great number of overweight or obese individuals who have never been diagnosed as being diabetic.

Insulin and Glucagon must be in balance!

In a healthy body, insulin does not like to be used up. It has been referred to as the “Saver Hormone”  This miserly nature of insulin is no easy task when you consider how some of us eat and live sedentary lifestyles. Insulin must meet multiple demands by the body such as appeals for energy to enable muscles to maintain their health and viability, to fuel our nervous system, and to keep our organs under constant repair to keep our body’s ability to function normally. Insulin will try to make your body store it’s energy stores, by converting carbohydrates into fat which is then stored inside of your cells, it must give up some of it’s food energy in order to get us through our basic daily living functions.

The second part of this equation which must be kept in balance with insulin is glucagon, or what is referred to as your body’s “Spending Hormone”. Most of us have heard of insulin, but I would guess that many, if not most of you, have never heard of glucagon. The balance between these two are just as insulin directs food energy into our cells, glucagon is what brings it back out of the cells in order to repair and fuel your body in between meals. This balance must be maintained and crappy dietary habits makes this task difficult.

A bad diet that does not meet all of our nutritional needs will quite obviously throw our hormonal balance out of whack. Although, as evident by the rampant obesity in our society, many will destroy their own health when there is a better choice to be made in living healthy with a good clean diet. It does not have to be this way, but many will still choose the lame way out with a diet of junk and fast foods and place their hormonal balance into a tail spin and then complain they cannot lose their weight.

If you choose to make good dietary habits a lifestyle that keeps your hormonal balance on an even keel, insulin and glucagon fully compliment each other and maintain a perfect harmony. Making this harmony occur is fully within your control, it will make you feel so much better. As insulin rises, it makes you want to eat, it helps with fueling your body. What energy is not used gets put away into your fat cells. Later, as your insulin levels fall off, glucagon begins to rise. The glucagon opens the fat cells up and the energy that is released is burned to keep your body running efficiently, as it was designed to do. After a period,  insulin once again begins to rise and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This natural balance is 100% within our control when we make the personal choice to make it so. Do not sell yourself short, ever!

When you make the lame choice for yourself to eat bad every day of your life, no matter your excuses, you are going to put this hormonal balance between insulin and glucagon out of kilter. The reasons why you eat a poor diet are not relevant to this reality. When you manage to get your hormonal balance off, there becomes a battle between the hormones that will put your heart health, or even your life at risk.

Although insulin and glucagon are to be in balance for good health, insulin is a more powerful hormone than it’s counterpart. Insulin will completely take over if you let it. When insulin is released into your blood, glucagon takes a submissive role and diminishes significantly. Glucagon will only rise back up once the insulin levels begin to fall again.

When you subsist on sweet treats and foods with added sugars, you insulin levels will always remain high! You do have control over what you eat! No excuse is going to fix your health. period.

Insulin’s dominance over glucagon is not all bad. In pre-historic times, when our ancestors had a surplus of food, insulin was needed in order to channel as much of the food in the fat cells as possible. Unlike us in the modern world, our ancestors did not always know where their next meal was coming from. And to make matters worse, their foods were not anywhere near as energy rich as our foods of today. Our ancestors had to fatten themselves up because they did not always know where or when their next meal would be coming to them. Insulin would get our ancestors to eat as much as they could so they could get the most out of the foods they were able to consume.

We no longer live in those times folks. Food is now abundant!

Now, on the other hand for our ancestors, food was not always available. In fact, famine can still be rampant in different parts of the world today. When our body requires energy, glucagon opens the fat cells and brings out the energy that has been stored. This energy fuels our muscles, brain and other organs to go out and get more nourishment. For our ancestors, when food was not readily available, insulin’s fat storing ability was not required. Our ancestors were not fat for the most part.

In days past, insulin kept us alive. In our modern world today where we might gorge and junk foods that keep our insulin levels high, this can actually kill us over time or even rapidly. 

Currently, we still have to keep our hormones in balance and we can do this through good dietary habits and exercise. However, many choose to eat bad food choices and to live sedentary lifestyles which causes a tug of war between insulin and glucagon. Insulin is usually winning this battle as we can see by all of the overweight or obese people that surround us. We can make a choice to control the outcome of our health we can choose to live a healthy life. Or we can sell ourselves short and not eat healthy, nor exercise. This can make the difference between a long and healthy life or one plagued by heart problems or cut short by heart disease.

Why Do I Even Care About Your Obesity? Our Children and Our Future as a Nation

Why in the hell do I care about you?

Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?

Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.

Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.

Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.

Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.

You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.

Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.

About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.

Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.

If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.

From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:

Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.

Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.

Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:

I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.

I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.

I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.

I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.

This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.