Updated: Jan 5
Understand the role of the perpetrator
It is so common a name that I hope everybody is aware of this hormone ‘Insulin’. Insulin is produced by a few million cells present in our Pancreas, which is always released in response to increased blood glucose (sugar) levels in addition to high protein intake. This is the only hormone which lowers blood glucose level. There is no other hormone in our body for this job. We call this hormone hypoglycemic or lowering blood glucose hormone. It is also anabolic, which means it builds body tissues.
They say when insulin is not functioning in our body; we will develop a condition “Diabetes Mellitus”. The word diabetes literally means “abundant urine”, and Mellitus means “sweet”. We will not delve into symptoms, signs, or complications of Diabetes, here, the focus remains on what goes wrong when due only to increased weight and increase fat and/or sugar content of our diet leads to diabetes, more commonly known as type-2 diabetes (type-2 develops later in life due to careless eating habits, mostly).
The point of emphasis over here is that if you are taking more carbohydrates than you can burn (in other words: not stylish life), in the presence of insulin all these extra sugars will be converted to fats
What are sugars?
Here the word “sugar” needs to be explained a little. Sugar encompasses all the carbohydrates we eat. It does not only mean table sugar. Carbohydrates are found in most of the food we eat, e.g. flour of wheat, corn or others, rice of all kinds, lentils, seeds, etc.
What is the biggest “outside” source of our high blood cholesterol?
While we develop the habit of eating lots of carbohydrates or sugars and most of the time relatively continuously, it will always lead to the release of insulin to combat the increase in blood glucose levels. Over time, these cells cannot cope with the unceasing burden of being stimulated by increased blood glucose and start to worn out and die, which leads to a state of either insulin insufficiency or altogether no insulin. At times, cells become resistant to the actions of insulin, whose job, among others, is to send glucose into the cells whenever blood level rises. These cells also become fed-up with all this glucose and decrease their production of receptors through which insulin will exert its action. Hence, the body is left in a state where either insufficient insulin is present or no insulin or cells have become resistant to it. In any of the cases, now normal functions of the body are impeded and it has gone into a pathological state of “Diabetes”.
The point of emphasis over here is that if you are taking more carbohydrates than you can burn (in other words: not stylish life), in the presence of insulin all these extra sugars will be converted to fats and will be stored as a reserve in the usual storehouse of the body, i.e. buttocks, thighs, breasts, and abdomen, etc. (see my other post for a detailed analysis). When even these are full, fat will find unusual places, e.g. under the skin everywhere in the body, to name one. So don’t be fooled that you are not taking much fat so your diet is better.
Don’t blame the eggs for that!
Usually, we think that cholesterol is bad and its high level is dangerous for our vessels and heart, true, but the question is where all this cholesterol comes from. It is also synthesized within our body for normal use. Some are required from outside. What is the biggest “outside” source of our high blood cholesterol? Wait for the answer; I am sure you will be amazed and terrified too. It is not particularly the fat but the sugars we eat and love to shove ourselves up to the brim.
Why we eat sugar?
What are these sugars we eat in our daily diet? I will come to the answer in a while, but first to understand, why we love to take in a lot of sugar. Most, if not all, sugars in our body are converted to glucose. This is fuel on which our brain lives and thrives. It can also use ketone bodies, but mostly it burns glucose, so here is your answer for the love of sugar.
Coming to what kind of sugars (or carbohydrates) we take in our daily diet; and for the answer, we have to go into the details of each of the different sugars as well where they are found.
The most staple diet around the word is:
Wheat: Whether taken as bread, roti, noodles, cakes, buns, or any other stuff you can think of is made of wheat. Try to find out how many times and how much wheat you take daily. One cup of all-purpose or white wheat flour has 95 grams of total carbohydrates. The sugar found in wheat is mostly starch. It is a long chain of glucose. As soon as wheat is digested, starch is broken within minutes by powerful pancreatic enzymes into glucose ready to be absorbed, leading to the abrupt rise of your blood glucose level.
Rice: Another widely used staple is rice. The carbohydrate content in a bowl of rice is 44 g. The sugar of the rice is also starch.
Corn: One cup of cornstarch 117 grams of carbohydrates.
Whatever our diet is, I am sure it will include one of the 3 staple ingredients. So carbohydrates are well on their way. It’s not all bad, because you need carbohydrates in your daily diet for proper energy, as they are the best and efficient source.
Honey is mostly water and sugar with no significant nutritional value.
The fruit sugars
Most of the fruits have got fructose and glucose in varied proportions. Below is data taken from this site for your eyes only:
One cup of raspberries only contains five grams of sugar. Like raspberries, blackberries are low in sugar, with only seven grams of sugar per cup. Half of a grapefruit only contains eight grams of sugar. One cup of strawberries contains seven grams of sugar. Figs may be delicious, but one cup of raw figs contains a staggering 27 grams of sugar. One orange contains 12 grams of sugar.
More on their site, so please visit them to have a better knowledge if you are interested (I teaspoon is 5 grams).
The Honey: Our favorite substitute for sugar contains mainly fructose and glucose. It is mostly water and sugar with no significant nutritional value.
Then comes the real enemy, table sugar, this is the most consumed sugar in our life. It is composed of glucose and fructose. Biochemist also called it sucrose. We use it in beverages (1 coke can contain 3 tablespoons), orange juices (5 tablespoons), beer (less than 1 teaspoon per glass); confectioneries, bakery stuff, deserts, and in many food items we take.
So why the intake of sugar so bad?
One thing a common person must understand is the role of insulin with our blood glucose. In addition to high protein intake, glucose is the only substance that leads to the release of insulin from our pancreas. Mostly, our protein intake is not high, so the only stimulus then remains the entry of glucose from our intestines into the blood, which will trigger insulin release. At the risk of losing sight of the forest and concentrating on the trees, we will see that the only job of insulin with glucose is to push it into the cells, where it is converted to glycogen (in the liver and skeletal muscles), which is the ultimate storage form of glucose. There are 2-ways the glucose enters into our bloodstream, quickly and slowly. If free abundant glucose is released inside our gut quickly, it will be absorbed rapidly, as the most effective mechanisms for its absorption is in place. On the other hand, if glucose is released at a slow pace from our food, obviously it will lead to slow entry.
This makes a lot of difference, a rapid high level of glucose will stimulate the high amount of insulin for a longer period of time and vice versa.
Be vivid and stylish, increase your knowledge, and learn about things. In this case, see how much sugar are you taking
When our glycogen storage is full to their brims, all the extra glucose, in the presence of insulin, is moved to our fat stores and is converted to fats to be stored for later energy release. Our normal fat storage sites are buttocks, inner thighs, abdomen, and under the skin. There is no limit in these places as to how much they can accommodate. Later fat starts to accumulate around the organs, vessels, and other odd places. As long as you keep on supplying the abundant glucose and insulin is working, don’t worry you will have lots and lots of fat in your buttocks and other areas, happy?
So what to do?
Be vivid and stylish, increase your knowledge, and learn about things. In this case, see how much sugar are you taking, and most importantly, will it lead to the abrupt rise of my glucose level or the other way round. The more tightly sugar is packed with other stuff, say fiber, the more difficult it for your intestine to release it quickly, the more work to be done, and hence more energy spent on releasing glucose.
Free sugars, for example, table sugar, honey, and some fruits are easily digestible, and abundant glucose is released rapidly and entering your blood to cause a peak in insulin secretion, whose only job related to glucose you already know.
Just to give you an idea. A raw apple contains 95 calories, which can be spent after about 8 minutes of running. To digest a raw apple, our body will spend around 10-20 calories, further decreasing the caloric value, plus the fiber contained in an apple will not let your blood glucose level to rise abruptly.
So who is the culprit?
If you want to blame anything for your high cholesterol level, accuse your sugar intake, rather than the eggs or another fat intake. Don’t get me wrong, taking animal fat is not advisable, but when it comes to heart attacks and strokes, it is the sugar which was the main and most important culprit rather than the juicy hamburger you were very fond of.
Are you still in dilemma, talk with me and we can discuss the issue?
There is another condition; I wanted you to know about.
Prediabetes is an emerging health threat and can lead to type 2 diabetes. Nearly 1 in 5 adolescents aged 12-18 years, and 1 in 4 young adults aged 19-34 years, are living with prediabetes, according to a new CDC studyexternalicon published today in JAMAexternal icon Pediatrics.
Prediabetes is a health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. The condition also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.
Monitoring the percentage of adolescents and young adults with prediabetes can help determine the future risk of type 2 diabetes. To do this, CDC researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey covering the years 2005-2016.
The prevalence of prediabetes in adolescents and young adults reinforces the critical need for effective public health strategies that promote healthy eating habits, physical activity, and stress management,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “These lifestyle behaviors can begin early in a child’s life and should continue through adolescence and adulthood to reduce the onset of type 2 diabetes.”
Prediabetes is a health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Key study findings:
Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) adolescents (those aged 12-18) and 1 in 4 (24%) young adults (aged 19-34 years) were living with prediabetes.
The percentage of adolescents and young adults living with prediabetes was higher in males and participants with obesity.
Hispanic young adults had higher rates of prediabetes compared to white young adults.
Adolescents and young adults with prediabetes had significantly higher cholesterol levels, systolic blood pressure, abdominal fat, and lower insulin sensitivity than those with normal glucose tolerance, which increased their risk of type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
“We’re already seeing increased rates of type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications in youth and young adults, and these new findings are evidence of a growing epidemic and a tremendously worrisome threat to the future of our nation’s health,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Additional research is needed to support the development of interventions for youth and increasing access to programs that we know work for young adults, like the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.”
What can be done?
Research shows that adults with prediabetes who take part in a structured lifestyle-change program, including weight management and exercise, can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old). Participation in the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in those at high risk. The program, available to those aged 18 and older, is taught by trained lifestyle coaches and encourages healthy, whole-life changes to help participants address barriers to improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and coping mechanisms for stress reduction.
Parents can also help turn the tide on prediabetes by encouraging healthy eating and increased physical activity. They can aim for their children to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. To find tips on how to encourage children to eat healthily and stay active, visit CDC’s Healthy Weight site.
There are several ways state and local organizations can create a supportive environment to promote healthy weight and help prevent diabetes-related to obesity. States and communities can:
Support mothers who choose to breastfeed.
Increase access to healthy and affordable foods.
Make it easier and safer to walk and bike where families live, learn, work, and play.
To learn more about diabetes or the National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit cdc.gov/diabetes.
To see the full article:
CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety, and security. Whether disease starts at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.
Questions? Feel free to ask.