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Dr. Ben Bikman plans on being a healthy grandparent. In his book titled "Why We Get Sick", he explains that metabolic syndrome, once known as insulin resistance syndrome, is not primarily a glucose issue but rather an insulin issue.

Although glucose is still a concern, the more significant problem is insulin resistance. Elevated glucose levels can cause both acute and long-term damage to the body. Acutely, high glucose levels may lead to food coma due to reduced blood pressure caused by the body losing water as it attempts to excrete excess glucose.

Long-term consequences of chronically elevated glucose include nerve and capillary damage and the accumulation of sorbitol within cells. By concentrating on lowering insulin levels instead of just glucose, we could potentially identify and treat metabolic syndrome more effectively.

Why We Get Sick by Dr Ben Bikman

Insulin Sensitive Skeletal Muscle & The Insulin Resistance Liver

The body's insulin sensitivity varies between different tissues. Skeletal muscle, for example, is the most insulin-sensitive tissue, while the liver is more insulin-resistant.

Skeletal muscle plays a crucial role in glucose disposal, as it is the primary site for glucose uptake in the body. Following the ingestion of carbohydrates, glucose levels in the bloodstream rise, and muscle cells play a significant role in absorbing this glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, insulin-resistant conditions can impair the muscle cells' response to insulin, resulting in a reduced ability to take up glucose, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and eventually causing type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, the liver is naturally more resistant to insulin. In a healthy state, the liver produces glucose during periods of fasting to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It also stores glucose as glycogen when carbohydrates are ingested. However, in cases of insulin resistance, the liver may begin to overproduce glucose even when it is not required, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Additionally, insulin resistance can promote fat accumulation in the liver, which may result in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

insulin resistance cycle

Insulin resistance affects certain key tissues in our body, such as the skeletal muscle and liver, which play crucial roles in our overall metabolic health. While not all cells experience insulin resistance, it is important to note that the consequences of insulin resistance in these tissues can lead to various health issues, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.

Muscle cells are prone to becoming highly insulin resistant, resulting in problems such as impaired glucose uptake and protein breakdown. Conversely, fat cells located in different regions of the body exhibit diverse levels of insulin resistance. For example, women's gluteal femoral fat cells maintain insulin sensitivity, while visceral fat cells surrounding organs can develop insulin resistance, which can help prevent damage to internal organs.

The location of fat storage in the body is governed by sex hormones, with insulin regulating the amount of fat stored. Insulin resistance can cause several health problems, including hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, migraines, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Adopting low-carb diets can assist in reducing insulin resistance and its associated health complications in many instances.

Exercise is Beneficial for Managing Insulin and Glucose Levels

Insulin levels tend to decrease during physical activity as muscles demand energy, and insulin is responsible for storing energy. During exercise, muscle cells possess an insulin-independent mechanism that allows them to uptake glucose without the need for insulin. Consequently, this mechanism plays a vital role in reducing glucose levels in the bloodstream. Engaging in a brisk walk following a meal rich in starch can also facilitate the swift reduction of elevated blood sugar levels.

According to Dr Bickman, a vegan diet is unsuitable for human survival. Although some individuals may seem to be doing well on it, it is probably due to their ability to afford the necessary supplements and their education on nutritional deficiencies.

Vegan diets frequently lack iron, vitamin B12, and essential omega-3s (DHA and EPA). Vegans may suffer from iron deficiency anaemia and pernicious anaemia due to the absence of B12 in their dietary intake, which can impact an infant's growth and cognitive development.

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Humans are unable to convert plant-based omega-3s (ALA) effectively into EPA and DHA, which are essential for brain development, particularly in growing babies. These insufficiencies are merely a few of the apparent issues with a vegan diet.

Some Valuable Ideas Discussed in Why We Get Sick by Dr Bikman Include

  • Insulin's role: Insulin is an essential hormone that regulates energy storage and usage in the body. It plays a vital role in fat storage and is anti-catabolic in muscles, defending muscle protein rather than promoting muscle protein synthesis.
  • Insulin resistance: Insulin resistance is a common health disorder, affecting a large portion of the global population. It is linked to numerous chronic diseases and is primarily caused by diet.
  • Reversing insulin resistance: Insulin resistance can be reversed through dietary changes, such as adopting a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-protein diet. This approach can lead to significant improvements in health within a short time frame.
  • Refined foods and oils: The consumption of refined starches and oils, often found in processed foods, contribute to insulin resistance. By reducing the intake of these items and focusing on whole foods, you can positively impact your insulin sensitivity.
  • Lactate as a misunderstood nutrient: Lactate, often wrongly maligned as lactic acid, is an underappreciated fuel source that can be used by the body's cells, including brain cells. It does not contribute to acidosis or muscle burn during intense workouts, contrary to popular belief.

To Sum Up

1. Effective management of insulin resistance requires regulating carbohydrate intake.

2. Animal protein is a superior source of essential nutrients because of its higher bioavailability compared to plant-based proteins, which may be incomplete and contain undesirable substances.

3. Adding healthy fats from animal sources to the diet is vital for protein absorption and has anabolic properties.

4. Fasting, including different types like time-restricted eating and multi-day fasting, can boost metabolism. It is best to have an earlier eating window, although personal preferences and lifestyle should be taken into account.

Related: Fast This Way by Dave Asprey: The True Essence of Fasting

Guest Author
Guest Author

This article was contributed by a guest author with expert knowledge in their field.

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