Insulin insensitivity: a pathway to degenerative disease

The major role of insulin (produced by the pancreas) is to remove sugar from blood. Sugar can be used to power energy production (albeit that 90% of energy production is oxygen) or the sugar can be stored as fat (normally in the liver: ie. fatty liver). When the amount of sugar in the blood increases beyond the capacity of insulin to metabolise the sugar, a condition called insulin insensitivity develops. This insensitivity condition can lead to a range of degenerative diseases (eg. obesity, cancer and mainly diabetes).

The primary reason for insulin insensitivity is the new love affair with sugar that is either hidden in most processed foods as simple sugars (to improve taste) or in refined carbohydrates (eg. white bread, white rice, pasta, soft drinks, etc.) There is now a developing science view that processed (simple) sugar is more addictive than heroin. Sugar is addictive, and this is why nearly 50% of the population are overweight, and 30% are obese (ie. 20-40% over normal body weight). Most of these obese people will have early or advanced stages of type 2 diabetes. Also, many of these people do not know that they have type 2 diabetes, and that they have opened the door to a degenerative disease.

Women of 165 cm height should have a normal weight in the range of 55-72kg depending on body build (small to large frame) and men of 175cm should have a normal weight range from 66-81kg, again depending on build. During the period up until about the late 1960’s most people were within these ranges. The introduction of fast foods (as carbohydrates), the increased availability of sugar in foods and less physical activity stimulated the rapid escalation towards obesity, diabetes and cancer.

There is an emerging connection between insulin insensitivity, obesity, diabetes and cancer. As people store more fat cells, it is these fat cells that store toxins and this overwhelms the body’s capacity for natural detoxification. Consequently, the cells pour out cytokines. Cytokines are cell signaling molecules that aid cell-to-cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma. Increased sites of inflammation, and sustained inflammation in the body leads to a phenomenon called insulin resistance or insensitivity. Consequently, cells lose their ability to move glucose (sugar) from the blood and into the cells with normal insulin levels for metabolism. This is the start of cellular degeneration or disease development.

The escalation in degenerative disease is fundamentally linked to the movement of the Western style diet away from raw leafy green vegetables and other vegetables, consumption of fruit (particularly the red type of fruit and vegetables that produces resveratrol, eg. beetroot, black plums and cherries). Also, most people are not getting enough of the Omega 3 from plant and sea based (fish) oil foods. The higher consumption of meat that is cooked in high heat (eg. barbecued, fried, baked and pan fried) is exacerbating the onset of inflammation due to the toxicity in meat produced through high heat cooking. This is why slow-cooked meat (paleo style) is best and far more nutritious.

Generally, people are eating too much of the processed (toxic) foods and not enough of the organic, raw, fresh foods (straight from the garden). Clearly, people have choices in food, and responsibility for health rests solely with each person, or parent in the case of children. The consumption of the modern western style diet of processed (sugar laden) foods will increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and cancer by greater that 40%. Once insulin is placed at risk of insensitivity or resistance the risk can escalate by 2-50 fold depending on diet, exercise, emotional stress and other lifestyle and environmental factors (eg. exposure to toxins). It is now important to appreciate that diabetes (including type 2) is at a pandemic level and will escalate further unless people make significant changes to diet and other environmental practices that affect wellbeing.

The key to a healthy pancreas is the consumption of raw foods that contains the plant sugars capable of stimulating insulin. Additionally, Green Tea and Ginseng have proven compounds that improve insulin production in the pancreas.

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