After three decades and working with tens of thousands of patients, we have seen a common theme among people who commit to getting healthy, only to abandon their goals quickly. Most never really know their motivation to begin with, or they don’t have a strong enough “why.” More than that, they believe, “It will never happen to me.” It being whatever bad thing they’ve heard about that prompted them to make the dreaded New Year’s Resolution to begin with. Currently, it seems to be diabetes.
Now let me tell you why it absolutely can and likely will happen to you if you’ve been abusing your body and don’t stop… as if the statistic that 50% of Americans are now diabetic or pre-diabetic wasn’t enough. And two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Fat cells are not innocuous.
Maybe you’re not worried about diabetes—perhaps your blood sugar levels are perfect. So you don’t have to cut back on eating sugar or simple carbohydrates, right? Wrong. Even if your blood sugar levels are perfect, there are still many reasons to avoid sugar.
For one thing, when you eat a lot of sugar and simple carbs, your normal blood sugar can turn to pre-diabetes—and your pre-diabetes can turn to full-blown type-2 diabetes. This can happen even if you don’t have it in your family and you’re not very overweight or obese.
The more sugar and simple carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin your pancreas must secrete in order to deal with dietary sugar. This can lead to a situation called hyperinsulinemia.
What’s wrong with hyperinsulinemia? It’s complicated, but I think it’s important for you to understand. So let’s give it a try.
All carbohydrates must be broken down to their simplest form, monosaccharides (glucose and fructose), before they can enter the bloodstream and be used for energy. Sugars and simple carbohydrates are broken down easily and quickly; complex carbohydrates take longer, which is why they’re better for blood sugar.
It’s important to have just enough glucose for energy, but not so much that you’re forcing your pancreas to work overtime pumping out insulin. If you overdose your system on sugar and simple carbohydrates, you keep your body in a chronic state of hyperinsulinemia. Once the liver and muscle cells are full of sugar, the excess carbs are converted to a fat called palmitic acid (PA). PA seriously interferes with the hormonal response and sensitivity to leptin, the hormone released in your gut that tells your brain you’re full.
At this point, the insulin can’t push any more glucose into your liver and muscles, so they become “insulin resistant.” Your blood sugar level continues to go higher and higher because there is nowhere for it to be stored. And, because insulin is still present in your blood, your body doesn’t get the signal that your cells are full. All the while, your body thinks it needs more glucose because of the presence of insulin, and you start craving carbs.
That’s right—high blood insulin levels distort your hunger/satiety hormones to the point that you think you’re hungry even though you’ve just eaten. And one of the jobs of insulin is to promote the deposit of fat on your body. So you can see how having a lot of insulin in your system makes it nearly impossible to lose weight.
Insulin also signals the liver to make fatty acids, in the form of triglycerides. Eating fat only increases your triglyceride level a little, because when your body perceives the increased triglycerides in your blood, your body stops producing its own supply of triglycerides. But the opposite happens when you eat simple carbohydrates. When your body receives the signal from sugar and insulin, it becomes very efficient at forming triglycerides. A lot of these triglycerides are processed into VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) which triage into LDL cholesterol. But some of the fat infiltrates the liver, creating a nasty condition called “non-alcoholic fatty liver.”
Then, even though your blood is full of sugar, your body thinks your blood sugar is low. Your body perceives this “chronic hypoglycemic state” as a stress response. The stress hormone cortisol comes to the “rescue” to help increase blood sugar, and starts converting protein from your own muscles into sugar in a process called gluconeogenesis. In short, cortisol leads muscle-wasting and excess fat being deposited around your middle and creating a “muffin top” of fat that hangs over the waistband of your pants. This is actually visceral fat that accumulates around your organs, and it is a very dangerous kind of fat. Let me say that again: you lose hard earned necessary muscle and gain fat around the belly (the classic appearance of a Type 2 diabetic).
But we’re just getting started. When fat cells become insulin-resistant, triglycerides go up. Continually forcing your pancreas to secrete more and more insulin can cause your pancreas to function less and less effectively. And the pancreas, already weakened by having to go into constant hyperdrive to produce insulin, becomes very susceptible to oxidative stress, which can cause permanent damage to the very important beta cells in the pancreas.
To add insult to injury, cancer feeds on sugar! Most cancer cells have metabolic needs that are about eight times higher than normal cells, so cancer cells need instant and constant energy—which it gets from a sugary diet.
When cancer cells develop, our bodies have a much better chance of fighting them when fueled with an anti-cancer diet (such as the Omni Diet) that keeps blood sugar levels low and contains lots of antioxidants. In fact, one study found that when women with the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 breast cancer genes mutations were given a diet dramatically higher in vegetables, and minimal sugar, their risk of actually developing breast cancer fell by 73 percent.
As I’ve said, your genes are not necessarily your destiny—but your destiny is in your hands! You’ve got to take control and make major changes. If you’re having trouble getting started you don’t need to do it alone. Having a community to help guide you can make all the difference. Join a tribe that helps empower you starting today. Also check out our Brain Warrior’s Way Course.