How is it possible that, as science and medicine advances we’re worse of, fatter, more depressed and with more diabetes than ever before in history. Shouldn’t better drugs, technologies and procedures be able to handle even the changes in our dietary system? No. Because it is not something to be remedied by drugs since it’s a lifestyle malfunction and the only thing to make it better is a lifestyle change as well.
Were you to look just a couple of decades back, the average number of times a person ate during the day was 3. Now it’s about 6 to 10 times. Your grandma wouldn’t let you eat before a main meal because you’re going to ruin your appetite. It’s not the appetite you would be ruining exactly but she was right. By eating too often you push your hormones out of whack and the whole body follows. None of us need to be eating whole day long. The body was designed to switch between carb burning and burning its own reserves. No matter the prevalence of macronutrients communities and societies based their diet on they had ridiculously lesser obesity issues. There are still traditional societies where 60% of diet consists of pure carbs, and they are not obese. Why? Because the calories we take are less important than when we take them aka how long the gap between meals. Your body can slow down or speed up your metabolic rate significantly as it pleases to keep you optimally supplied. Dr. Jason Fung devoted his medical career to understanding obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and is working on dispelling with the myth of caloric restriction as the way to lose weight. For any one of us who’ve been through the hoops of eating less calories only to yoyo back to your old weight + some more as soon as you start eating again, this is written for you. This is for all those who seem to be gaining weight like crazy even when eating healthy or seem to have no way of losing weight, for all who are starring to experience metabolic related issues, have type two diabetes or know someone struggling with it.
We’ve been taught wrong and it is one of the most dangerous misconceptions out there. The body doesn’t respond to the amount of calories but to what the calories were derived from and in which time span. A hundred calories from broccoli won’t raise insulin, but a hundred calories from sugar sure will. You ate the same caloric value but the body response is completely different. It’s also not the same if you divide your 2000 through the day (btw this number varies significantly based on your basal metabolic rate) through 10 meals of 200 or two of a 1000. If you do the first option long enough you’ll start to develop insulin resistance and in the second you’ll be satiated, lean, energetic and evenly distributed through burning the food you ate and the stored fat reserves in your body. Body has multiple ways of responding to food and a calorie is not one of them.
So what is insulin resistance which starts the cascade of getting fat, sick and dying from what is ultimately sugar access? Every time you eat you raise your blood sugar which stimulates insulin. Insulin’s job is to regulate the blood sugar. You take what you need while excess get stored in your fat cells. Ideally, in a well-functioning body, the fat cells signal to the brain by releasing leptin that it’s been enough, you’re full and stop eating. You can stimulate insulin more or less depending on what you eat. Carbs and sugars will spike it most. Having some carbs is not a problem with a healthy metabolism. The problem arises as soon as you start eating all the time because the blood sugar doesn’t get the chance do drop back down and shift you to the fat burner mechanism where you use your own stored reserves. So they just sit there and pile on as unnecessary fat. Since your blood sugar is constantly high if you never have a long enough gap between meals, insulin is secreted all the time and type 2 diabetes starting point is when you actually have too much sugar in your blood and enough insulin but due to the constant secretion the receptors aren’t responding any more. It’s like an orienting reflex in the brain where you’d notice a tone if it just appeared but if it just kept on buzzing after a while you’d just tune it out and not hear it any more, it would fade as background noise not important to be taken into consideration since it is unchangeable and permanent. This is insulin resistance and your feedback loop of hormonal communication and homeostasis is broken. It is followed with leptin resistance where the brain doesn’t get the leptin signal that you don’t need to eat any more and you just keep eating more and more often, keep getting fatter spiking your blood sugar even more, in fact resetting your normal set body weight which it would usually hold. The people who don’t seem to get fat no matter how much they eat or don’t lose much if they eat significantly less, have a body with well-functioning hormones regulating their set body weight. If they eat more (not more often) their body increases the expenditure, if they eat less it lowers the expenditure.
If you recognize your issue here try some therapeutic fasting. Go 12 or 24 hours without food or skip a meal. As soon as insulin falls, due to lowered blood sugar ,your body’s got you covered. You won’t faint or die of hunger. It will switch to burning glycogen, your own body fat. You get hungry at the time of day you’re used to eating because the hormone ghrelin rises (the rise is more significant in women and that’s why women have more intense carb cravings since carbs spike your blood sugar back up the fastest), but the thing is – if you skip a meal very soon the hunger subsides and in a few hours you feel exactly as you would have you eaten something when you were (temporarily) hungry. You actually did eat. The body took that lunch from your fat reserves and is completely fine, even better actually because burning fat is far cleaner and with less junk by-products than burning carbs. Skipping a meal here and there or having a “no food day” from time to time resets your natural metabolism and is the best possible way to fight insulin resistance and diabetes and no drug even comes close. Drugs just mask the symptoms and don’t address the deeper metabolic issue, pushing the sugar deeper into the liver and organs. This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing, resulting in gruesome disabilities in long term type 2 diabetics. We’ll go further into this mechanism tomorrow.