How a Diet High in Sugar and Grains Drives Disease
These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge. You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.
We’ve spent a few days looking at exactly how a diet high in sugars and grains causes weight gain by raising insulin levels which cause the body to go into “fat storage” mode but that’s not the whole story. These same chronically high levels of insulin also drive levels of inflammation which in turn drive most metabolic diseases. We will spend the next few weeks looking at individual diseases but for now, let’s take a bird’s eye view of the process.
Your body has been finely tuned by evolution for one purpose, to keep you physically fit and healthy enough to pass your genetic code to the next generation. This is the main reason our bodies seem to deteriorate so rapidly once we pass those child bearing years, we just don’t have an evolutionary reason for continued optimum health.
Now add to this the fact the the human race as consumed primarily animal products for most of its existence. If you were to condense all of human history into a year, we would have only developed agriculture yesterday. This means that humans are excellent at processing fat and protein but have a much more difficult time dealing with grains and sugar as these were not a substantial part of our diet for most of the time we have been around. In fact, the only way most of our ancestors got any fructose in our diet was from fruits, which only appeared at the end of the growing seasons just before winter. Our bodies didn’t really deal with fructose at all, it just shunted it off to fat cells to be stored for the coming winter. So fructose has been evolutionarily designed to make us fat which is fine if we only eat fruit for 1 month a year before a long period of famine but now fructose is in our diet every day and we never have any times of famine.
So our bodies developed the insulin response to deal with the high blood sugar levels that came from eating the processed grains we just started developing. Insulin does a great job of lowering blood sugar levels but at a cost to our overall health. It is comparable to a slow acting poison that does its job in the moment at the cost of your health in a few decades time.
Here is a look at a few of the diseases that are caused by chronically high levels of insulin and the inflammation it causes. We look at these more in depth in the coming few days.
Type II diabetes – This is probably the most obvious because a pancreas that is constantly secreting insulin all day every day will eventually wear out as the cells in the body become more and more insulin resistant. The pancreas has to secrete more insulin to keep up until it finally fails and you become a diabetic
PCOS – We now know that PCOS is nothing more that insulin resistance in the ovaries. Reduce your insulin and the risk of this drops dramatically.
Increased VLDL – We used to think of all LDL Cholesterol as “bad cholesterol” but we now know that LDL occurs in several different sizes and it is the VLDL particles that do the damage we associate with bad cholesterol. What causes VLDL? Not dietary fat as it was once thought but carbohydrates.
High Blood Pressure – Insulin drives increased sodium retention and blood volume which drives hypertension
Coronary Disease – Insulin damages the walls of the main arteries feeding your heart. In fact the plaque build up that happens in the arteries of people with advanced heart disease isn’t caused by the cholesterol, it’s cause by insulin damaging the walls of the arteries at which point the body tries to cover the damage with a layer of cholesterol just like the body would scab over a cut on the outside of your body. Reduce your insulin, that will reduce the damage to the vessels which will cause less build up.
Alzheimers – Many doctors now call Alzheimer’s Type III Diabetes because it has the same root as type II, namely high blood sugar and high insulin levels. If you would like to learn more about the effect of carbs on the brain, I highly recommend Dr Perlmutter’s book Grain Brain.
Macular Degeneration – Increased blood sugar and insulin cause damage to your eyesight over time.
There are more but I hope this gives you some idea of the chronic, long term damage a diet high in carbohydrates can cause.