Insulin Resistance Causes Sugar Cravings and Addiction
Dr. Abby Campbell
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is a condition that doesn’t allow the body to use insulin effectively. Normally, a hormone made by the pancreas called insulin allows the body’s cells to absorb sugar so that it can be used for energy. Resistance to insulin kicks in as a protective mechanism when the body is overloaded with sugar.
People who have insulin resistance usually have sugar or carb cravings, as well as sugar addiction. Without prediabetes or diabetes, this may be the only symptom of the condition. Blood sugar levels are usually normal in people with insulin resistance. As long as the pancreas can make enough insulin to overcome the body’s weak insulin response, no noticeable change in blood sugar levels will be detected.
However, that doesn’t mean the body is immune to disease. Insulin resistance, in fact, increases the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In turn, this creates more chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer. Weight loss is also made difficult with insulin resistance.
Why Does Insulin Resistance Occur?
Your body considers sugar to be toxic, so it will stop it from entering your cells when you have too much of it. Your cells then become deprived of sugar fuel and cause carb cravings. You give into those cravings and eat, but unfortunately your cells won’t allow that fuel in.
Your pancreas then compensates by producing more insulin to feed your cells. As a result, your pancreas works much too hard. It produces five to seven times more insulin than it normally would. This creates a two-fold problem where your body has way too much insulin in your blood, yet the insulin is not able to do its job in your cells. This constant feedback loop continues which causes a more detrimental problem and that is chronic disease.
To prevent insulin resistance and disease, you can allow your body to run on fat fuel instead of sugar fuel. This is done with the keto diet which is distinctively healthier than other diets.
Shouldn’t I Eat Some Sugar for Energy?
The amount of sugar your body needs to keep blood sugar values normal is less than one teaspoon, and that tiny amount of sugar can come from eating protein and vegetables. Therefore, your body can run smoothly without adding any sugar to your diet at all. This prevents insulin resistance and chronic disease.
How Much Sugar Does the Average Person Consume?
The average person consumes 42.5 teaspoons of sugar per day which equates to more than three pounds per week. That’s nearly 150 pounds of sugar per year. Unfortunately, most so-called healthy diets are heavy on grains, beans, and other starchy and sugary carbs. Some even allow refined breads and pasta. Just one slice of white bread equates to three teaspoons of sugar, and one cup of cooked spaghetti is equivalent to 8 teaspoons of sugar.
Still yet, many diets recommend that 10 percent of your diet should come from sugar. This equates to 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. If blood sugar is regulated as normal on less than one teaspoon per day, what do you think this extra consumed sugar will do to your body? It’s no wonder that one-third of Americans are diagnosed as pre-diabetic or diabetic. Still yet, there are many more who haven’t been diagnosed.
How Does Sugar Contribute to Obesity & Disease?
Numerous studies have reported the negative side effects of consuming too much sugar. In fact, excess sugar metabolizes into body fat which leads to debilitating and chronic diseases. Following are some of the effects that excessive sugar can play on your health.
- Obesity.Sugar fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite control system. In other words, certain hormones are turned off so that you’re continually hungry which causes you to eat more. This is insulin resistance which evenutally causes your blood sugar to be out of control.
- Metabolic Syndrome.Consuming excess sugar causes numerous symptoms of the classic metabolic syndrome. This includes excess body fat around the abdomen, high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol.
- Type 2 Diabetes. Eating up foods full of sugar increases diabetes rates. Risk for diabetes rises by one percent for every 150 calories of sugar eaten per day.
- Cardiovascular Disease. The risk of dying from heart disease is much higher for people who eat a high sugar diet. A diet consisting of 17 to 21 percent from added sugar contributes to a 38 percent higher risk of fatality from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed a diet of 8 percent in sugar.
- Hypertension.Consuming a high sugar diet leads to an increase in blood pressure of about 7mmHg/5mmHg which is greater than the rise sodium typically creates which is 4mmHg/2mmHg. As a side note, mmHg is the millimeter of mercury or the unit of pressure.
- Chronic Kidney Disease.Scientific research has linked high sugar intake and metabolic syndrome to high uric acid levels and chronic kidney disease. The connection is so clear that uric acid levels are now considered a marker for sugar toxicity.
- Liver Disease. [A surplus of sugar taxes and overloads the liver](https://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(10%2900644-9/abstract) which is the only organ that can transport it. Much like excess alcohol consumption, this leads to a risk for liver damage.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.The root cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is insulin resistance which is caused by a high intake of sugar.
- Dementia.High sugar intake promotes the risk of developing dementia including Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders. The constant burning of sugar for fuel by the brain is the cause.
- Cancer.Sugar promotes the proliferation of cancer cells. In other words, it feeds cancer by promoting cell division and spreading its growth faster.
Prevent Insulin Resistance by Avoiding Sugar
Insurance resistance can be avoided effectively by avoiding sugar in your diet. Because carbs are adequately reduced on the keto diet, it may be the best diet to prevent or correct insulin sensitivity. In fact, insulin sensitivity improves by a dramatic 75 percent when switching from a sugar fueled diet to a keto diet. Other improvements are also made on a keto diet such as hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. Triglycerides alone are decreased by 35 percent.
Though carbs and sugars are low on the keto diet, you can still get enough nutrient-dense vegetables. By including five to 10 percent of green and cruciferous vegetables in your diet, you’ll get all the sugar you need. Including more dietary fat with meals, you’ll also beat sugar cravings and addiction which will help prevent insulin resistance. In turn, you’ll also lose weight, optimize your health, and protect your body from chronic disease.