Are you overweight? Almost anyone at least 30 pounds overweight is already experiencing the effects of metabolic syndrome. What is metabolic syndrome? It’s a little complicated but let’s just make it simple and say it’s when the body begins to become less and less tolerant of the abuse you are inflicting upon it by continuing to eat much more than your body needs for daily activities and even as storage (bodyfat, at least a 10-15% of bodyweight amount of fat is actually “normal” for the body). You heard me right. It might be pleasurable to continue eating very rich sugary foods and more than you need, but the effects on the body look almost exactly the same as a viral attack. I know. I sound dramatic, but it’s the truth.
So what’s at the heart of this problem? Insulin. Insulin is a hormone used by the body to put away all that extra sugar and fat (and protein for muscle growth but that’s for a different post) that we don’t need right at the moment. You see, our cells protect themselves by keeping their doors locked when they are busy going about their business. Insulin knocks on the door and opens it up so that sugar (in the form of triglycerides) can enter the cell to be stored or used for energy. Fat cells in particular are called upon to store this unneeded energy. The whole system works smoothly as long as we generally consume no more than we really need everyday, give or take a pound or two a week. We naturally store some fat and that’s ok. But if we constantly knock on the door of our cells and ask that it stores our leftovers, our cells will begin to ignore that message. So now we have what’s called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when our body ignores insulin’s message, our cells become resistant to it’s constant nagging.
So then what? Well worst case scenario, insulin will actually signal a cascade of events that will lead to new fat cells being made so they can, guess what, store more of our left-overs. In the meantime, and this is where it gets really tricky. In the meantime, our body begins to have way too much sugar and triglycerides floating around. Our body starts reacting to all these nutrients as if it was a viral attack like a flu. We become inflamed. Inflammation is an immune reaction. Some inflammation is normal. Constant inflammation is a bad idea. It causes even more insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia (excess fat in the blood) and causes the liver to go haywire and start making even more blood sugar which adds even further to the problem until you end up with type 2 diabetes, and ultimately a whole package of other diseases like cancer, heart attack, atherosclerosis and so on.
So what can we do about this? Well the first thing we MUST do is to restore insulin sensitivity. In my next post, I will talk about the top ten strategies and substances that will help restore insulin sensitivity. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, be kind to your body, stop giving it more than it needs.