More people are becoming aware it’s an epidemic, but exactly what is Diabetes? It’s related to ‘too much sugar’, that much Americans seem to understand. By gaining a clear picture of what leads to diabetes you can better understand how to prevent and reverse it.
Diabetes Type 2 Develops Over Years
When we hear the name ‘adult onset diabetes’, it sounds as if it’s a sudden thing. Actually diabetes is far from sudden in most cases. It takes many years of seemingly harmless eating habits that include not just candies and desserts, but a daily dose of foods containing processed grains (breads, pasta, crackers, corn chips etc.), juice and soda.
Most young adults have lived a childhood and adolescent life eating this type of food and seem like they are doing just fine. But in most cases, there’s a gradual assualt occuring on the body by blood sugar and insulin. The effects of which may not rear its ugly head until later in life.
This happens at different rates for people eating such diets, depending on many factors including genetics and how active they are. However, even professional athletes have been diagnosed with diabetes so it’s safe to say you can’t outrun it forever.
Sadly our diet and lifestyle has become so bad today that we even see young children with onset type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity.
To understand what is diabetes, we must know what happens with a person’s blood sugar and insulin as result of their lifestyle.
All Carbohydrates Become Sugar
All carbohydrates, no matter if people are eating ‘healthy carbs’ or pixie sticks, end up as glucose in the body. Glucose is also known as SUGAR! In fact, here’s a potentially life-changing formula to manage your intake of sugar.
4 grams of carbohydrates = 1 teaspoon of sugar
Let’s take a bowl of the typical cereal for example, which is one of the highest volume selling categories in any grocery store. The average serving of cereal contains at least 24 grams of carbohydrates. When a person eats this, it will make its way into the stomach then the small intestine. There it will be broken down into glucose. This glucose is then absorbed through the intestinal walls into the blood stream.
This one bowl of cereal adds 6 teaspoons of sugar to your blood (24 divided by 4).
Our bodies have a specific range of sugar that we need in the blood to function properly, in fact we have impressive biochemical processes to keep our sugar levels in the right range. When there is too little blood sugar the body will begin breaking down other tissues to convert them to glucose. When there is to much blood sugar an organ called the pancreas will secrete the master metabolic hormone called insulin. The insulin pulls excess glucose out of the blood and transports it into the body’s cells to be stored as energy. These cells become fat cells. Yes, fat is literally stored energy.
In a healthy person the pancreas is able to secrete the right amount of insulin and everything functions as normal. Unfortunately this doesn’t describe most Americans.
The ‘Overheating’ Pancreas
We don’t see healthy insulin function to often anymore because most people have been eating too many processed carbohydrates and sugars for years. Their pancreas has become a non-stop insulin producing machine.
Eventually the body begins producing more insulin than it needs. This results in too much blood sugar being removed. Memory and concentration degrade because the brain is the first thing affected by low blood sugar.
You’re brain is now hungry. This isn’t about willpower, it’s simple biochemistry. You have extra insulin floating around that needs more sugar and your brain is doing what has to in order to survive—tell you to eat more sugar!
Some people that seem to have ‘more willpower’ actually just have different biochemistry and hence don’t have the same cravings.
The Decline into Insulin Resistance and Obesity
Here’s the real ticker. Guess what you can’t do if you have insulin in your blood?
You cannot burn fat.
Yep, as long as your body is under the influence of insulin you will never be burning fat. In fact, you’ll be storing more. This is why obesity is often a sign of type 2 diabetes.
When people feel brain drain due to the low sugar (caused by too much insulin), they don’t typically go for a roasted salmon and asparagus dish. They go for what’s cheap, convenient and easy to metabolize fast like chips, cookies or crackers.
The person feels great for maybe 30 minutes. Then their blood sugar peaks and plummets again like a roller coaster. This vicious cycle perpetuates and your body begins to ‘grow numb’ to insulin, resulting in blood sugars that are continuously too high. This is called insulin resistance.
When the blood sugar levels get to 100+, people get a ‘pre-diabetes’ diagnosis.
Inadequate Changes Lead To a Diabetes Diagnosis
When people get a pre-diabetes diagnosis they are often motivated to change their lifestyle. The problem is that the changes are usually inadequate. Switching to whole grain and adding fiber isn’t enough. As we said before all carbohydrates become sugar, even the ones that include fiber. And when your body is primed with an overactive insulin response, the high blood sugar levels don’t get any better.
At some point the pancreas finally ‘overheats’ and begins to fail. Insulin production is not able to keep up and now the person officially has diabetes. But you can now see that the problem has been going on for a quite some time.
Learn more about how you can prevent and reverse diabetes with effective lifestyle adjustments.
Now you know the answer to what is diabetes and with the proper help you can take control to prevent or reverse this dangerous disease.