July 30, 2021
The Real Epidemic at the Root of ALL Chronic Disease
There’s currently a global health crisis happening, but it’s not what you might think. Poor metabolic health is contributing to a massive burden of disease and crippling the world’s health. Make no mistake, without changes at an individual, policy, and community level, the country’s health will continue to worsen. So what’s behind all this poor metabolic health?
The hormone insulin
This hormone has a key role to play in controlling our blood glucose levels but also has other roles in the body such as making muscles and other organs more energy-rich and making our fat cells fatter.
So why is too much insulin harmful to the body?
With too much insulin circulating in our body, from overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugar, and lack of exercise, we can actually become insulin-resistant. When our cells become more insulin-resistant, the body then has to create more insulin to have the same effect. This creates a vicious cycle and contributes to worsening health and disease. Insulin-resistance is at the core of so many of today’s current diseases - type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, obesity, and fatty liver just to name a few.
As mentioned before, sugar can be a massive contributor when it comes to insulin resistance, so let’s break down what it is and why it’s so bad for you!
What is sugar?
Glucose is a one molecule simple sugar. This is what travels around in your bloodstream. Fructose is another simple sugar. This is most commonly associated with fruit. When the two are bound together, we get sucrose. This is table sugar in Australia. When multiple glucose molecules are bound together to form a chain, we get complex carbohydrates such as starch or glycogen.
Why is sucrose (or sugar) so detrimental to our health?
When we have high levels of blood glucose, as seen in people with type 2 diabetes, it can damage the small blood vessels that supply the kidneys, the periphery (such as your feet and hands) and your eyes. Sucrose or table sugar contains both fructose and glucose. While we now know that glucose in high levels in the blood is also not a good thing, it's the fructose that can be particularly damaging. Increased glucose leads to a rise in our insulin levels, and increased fructose puts a huge strain on the liver and can potentially lead to insulin resistance. If sugar contributes to making us insulin resistant, then our body can no longer process the glucose that it's bringing in. That means those healthy whole grains contained in foods like rice or bread may not be so healthy after all. So while sugar can make us sick, it's the complex carbohydrates that can keep us sick.
The good news
If you think you might be insulin-resistant, you can do something about it. A good diet, low in sugar and processed foods, plenty of regular exercise, sleep, and stress management go a long way to improving your metabolic health.