What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is a protective mechanism and kicks in when your body is overloaded with sugar. Because your body considers sugar to be toxic, it will stop it from entering your cells. Your cells then become deprived of sugar fuel and crave carbs so you eat, but your cells won’t allow that fuel in. Your pancreas compensates by producing more insulin to feed your cells. As a result, your pancreas works much too hard as 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.
How Much Sugar Does My Body Need?
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 non-starchy 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, our society is addicted to pre-packaged and processed foodstuffs that are heavily created from grains, beans, and other simple carbs. To give you an idea of how much sugar is in some typical foods you may eat daily, see the list below.
- 1 slice of white bread = 3.5 teaspoons (tsp.)
- 1 cup of cooked spaghetti = 10 tsp.
- 1 cup of whole milk = 3 tsp.
- 2 Chips Ahoy! Chocolate chip cookies = 4.5 tsp.
- 1 ounce Frito Lay’s classic potato chips = 3.5 tsp.
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 the 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 Cause Weight Gain & 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 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 rose 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 chronic kidney disease](https://www.ackdjournal.org/article/S1548-5595(12%2900225-X/fulltext) and high uric acid levels. The connection is so clear that [uric acid levels are now considered a marker for sugar toxicity](https://www.seminarsinnephrology.org/article/S0270-9295(11%2900121-5/fulltext).
Liver Disease. [Much like excess alcohol consumption, sugar leads to a risk for liver damage](https://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(10%2900644-9/abstract). A surplus of sugar taxes and overloads the liver which is the only organ that can transport it.
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, promoting cell division and spreading its growth faster.
How Can I Avoid Insulin Resistance?
To prevent insulin resistance and disease, you can allow your body to run on fat fuel instead of sugar fuel. This is done with a ketogenic diet which is distinctively healthier than other diets.
Because carbohydrates are reduced on the ketogenic diet, insulin sensitivity is also lowered. 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 with triglycerides having the ability to decrease by 35 percent.