WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is characterised by chronically elevated blood sugar levels. However, the main cause as well as the driver for this condition is something called Insulin Resistance. When you eat certain foods, particularly refined carbohydrates, that food is converted to sugar inside your body. Your body’s way of dealing with this sugar is to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin moves the sugar inside your cells so that it can be used for energy. Sounds great, right?
Well, yes and no. When working efficiently, this is a fantastic system that helps your body to function well. But when you have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or significant abdominal obesity, that system does not work so well.
Eating too many refined carbohydrates elevates your insulin levels for long periods of time and your cells start to become resistant to the effects of insulin. Think of this a bit like alcohol. When you start to drink, a single glass of wine can make you feel drunk. Once your body becomes accustomed to drinking, you need more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect. This is what happens in diabetes. You need more and more insulin to do the same thing. The problem is that too much insulin is toxic to the body.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF RAISED INSULIN LEVELS?
- It causes water and salt retention, which causes raised blood pressure
- You become at risk of atherosclerosis (“furring of arteries”), which can lead to heart attacks
- Raised insulin levels increases VLDL (very low density lipoprotein), a type of blood fat and one of the “bad” forms of cholesterol
- Can drive the growth of certain cancer cells
- In women, it can cause the ovaries to produce more testosterone, which is associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Significantly increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes
The only way to effectively reverse type 2 diabetes (or even pre-diabetes) is to deal with the underlying cause – Insulin Resistance. Trying to address the blood sugar levels (with medication) without addressing the insulin levels is treating the symptoms, not treating the root cause. It is similar to using a bucket to remove water from an overflowing sink rather than actually turning off the tap!
The most important thing to do is to stop adding fuel to the fire. If Insulin Resistance is driving the condition, you need to firstly stop consuming foods that increase insulin production. Secondly, you need to make some lifestyle changes so that you can become sensitive to insulin once again