Table of Contents
Taken from the book Live Young TWO Times Longer, written by co-author, Dr Jacques Lambert, MD.
No wonder why you are confused about this hormone, which is said to be essential for life, but which can also cause serious problems if it is constantly secreted, and in too large a quantity. This is the paradox of insulin, because it is essential for life, but it can also become a factor in accelerated aging, especially when we talk about insulin resistance. It creates a vicious cycle for diabetics who accelerate their aging due to lipid deposits in all vital organs. Here are some facts that can help you.
The dangers of refined sugars
When you consume carbohydrates (the scientific name for complex sugars) – let’s call them “sugars” – found in large quantities in bread, fruits, soft drinks or pasta, your body transforms them into a more simple form of sugar called glucose, which circulates in your blood. This sugar is used as an energy source throughout the human body. So when you take in sugars, your blood glucose levels increase. Problems arise when it increases too quickly after taking refined sugars or carbohydrates that are not from whole grain products. Your body negotiates with glucose as if it were an undesirable substance and the pancreas comes to the rescue by secreting insulin, a hormone which determines where we get our energy from, that is to say, where the calories are going to come from.
When you secrete insulin, you burn the sugar, not the fat. If the sugar remains high in the blood, it is called diabetes. Insulin saves your life by removing sugar from your blood, allowing it to be transported into cells so that it is metabolized (burned) to provide energy to walk, run, and cycle. But this is the last good thing insulin does.
Sugars and weight
Problems arise when too much insulin is constantly secreted, for example in the presence of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is caused by using it too often or in too high quantities. It then loses its effectiveness and it takes much more to allow the sugar to enter the cells and serve as a source of energy. The pancreas eventually burns out and the person becomes diabetic. This overproduction of insulin can cause a lot of problems. Some of the negative impacts of overproduction of insulin include:
- insulin converts calories to fat, even those from fat-free foods.
- insulin stores fat especially in your hips and belly, but also everywhere else, like in the viscera and noble organs, the heart and the brain.
- insulin prevents cells from using fat as a fuel source. When you train intensively, you think you are burning fat, but it is not.
- insulin keeps you hungry. It makes you to eat more of the same sugars that started the insulin secretion cycle in the first place. Hence the first vicious cycle.
In addition to the stimulating effect of insulin and blood glucose variations on appetite, there is a second vicious cycle linked to abdominal and visceral fat. The weight gain caused by the consumption of refined sugar causes an increase in the size of the fat globules which are used to store excess energy. These larger fat globules will attract certain specific cells of the immune system into the adipose mass (macrophages) and cause the production of inflammatory molecules. The adipose tissue then becomes an inflammatory tissue which will promote the development of insulin resistance. This insulin resistance causes sugar to be stored rather than used as an energy source, which promotes the development of large fat cells. This results in easier weight gain and a vicious cycle that is difficult to break. Thus, gaining weight facilitates subsequent weight gain, as well as increasing systemic inflammation and the risks of heart disease, osteoarthritis, and type II diabetes.
And it does not stop there. Insulin is also the common denominator behind several debilitating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and several other degenerative diseases.
Reducing insulin levels is the key to losing fat and therefore finding and maintaining our healthy weight. To be healthier and age less quickly, eat as little sugar as possible, first being refined sugar and bleached flour products. It is therefore not fats, but refined sugars and bleached flours that should be banned first.
Whole grain bread and pasta
A study by the American Cardiology Federation recently created controversy by reporting that people who eat “gluten-free” have higher risk levels for type II diabetes. However, these people consume less sugar. The reason seems to be that the benefits are associated with whole grains. Whole grain products contain a lot of fiber, but also other molecules that are beneficial to health that are removed from white flours.
The following three things are important to know about whole grains:
- the consumption of whole grain products also has an effect on satiety; it reduces appetite and people eat less;
- whole grain products do not cause the rapid rise in blood glucose as observed with refined flour products and therefore do not stimulate the overproduction of insulin;
- whole grain products contain a large amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that protect against the development of type II diabetes.
Thus, eating whole grain products would prevent the development of type II diabetes, but the key also lies in a balanced diet rich in vegetables.
It’s all about balance
Too much insulin is the problem. And consuming refined sugars increases insulin levels. Cutting the sugars will decrease insulin secretion, and that’s the solution.
Refined sugars are the worst because they quickly release a discharge of glucose into the blood and when they are in your digestive tract, they propel the secretion of insulin which slows down the use of fat. The “good” sugars, like those contained in whole grains, are also called “complex sugars” because they make up plant structures and it takes longer to break them down into glucose, resulting in a slower release of insulin, compared to the sugars in a soft drink (containing eight teaspoons of sugar… by the way).
But if you look at losing weight, “good” sugars can also be considered enemies, because they too will still increase insulin secretion. The best sugars are the least harmful and are found in leafy greens, especially the leaves: kale, cabbage, spinach, etc.
- They mainly consist of water.
- They are low in sugars.
- The little sugar they contain is linked to cellulose, so that they are digested slowly and not completely.
This explains why all of these greens are great for diabetics. Cellulose is the structural part of a plant. It makes celery rigid and gives tone to beets. Extracting nutrients from greens requires digesting cellulose, but that means having cellulase, an enzyme that humans don’t have, unlike herbivores. Certain plant nutrients are trapped in cellulose. For example, despite the high level of vitamins in kale, we don’t have full access to it.
Hunger can be avoided in two ways: to fill up on sugary products and become obese, or eat more vegetables and hardly any refined sugars and not gain weight. Fat is therefore not your enemy! When you limit your fat intake to 50 grams or less per day – such as a slice of whole grain bread and a banana – and replace refined sugars with good animal or vegetable fats, such as nuts, avocados, coconut, olives (humans are omnivorous, don’t forget!), you will get your calories from the body fat already stored. The metabolism of fats releases ketones and these suppress hunger (hence the origin of ketogenic diets which suppress hunger and allow weight loss). You still have to be careful and not go to extremes: for some people, these diets can cause serious health problems. It is always recommended to consult a nutritionist.
Sugar and aging
In addition to gaining body weight, theoretically and according to animal models, the consumption of refined sugar accelerates aging. The metabolic pathways of aging are intimately linked to the metabolic pathways of growth and development. In all living organisms, the consumption of sugar accelerates development. This allows a living organism with access to a good source of energy to grow quickly and reproduce. Since aging is also caused, for a large part, by the unnecessary drive for development after adulthood, sugar also accelerates aging.
And what about sugar replacements?
Recent studies have shown links between the consumption of sugar-free sugary drinks and the risks of type II diabetes. These drinks would also facilitate weight gain, with equal calorie consumption. Although the mechanisms involved are not clearly established, it is easy to hypothesize that cheating on the brain is not a good idea. When we consume sugary products without sugar, we seek to send the message to the brain that we consume sugar, without it appearing in blood circulation. Normally, the body should respond to this message with an increase in insulin production, which increases the risk of type II diabetes and the ease of gaining weight. Thus, all types of “sweet without sugar”, natural or chemical, should be avoided.
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