I just finished watching a 30 minute talk on insulin resistance. Here is the link if you'd like to watch it: http://denversdietdoctor.com/ted-naiman-hyperinsulinemia/. If you enjoy understanding the chemistry behind obesity, how fat is stored, and how we become sick because of this, you will definitely like this video. If, on the other hand, you'd prefer the cliff notes, I'll give you a brief run-down.
In a nutshell, 70% of deaths are caused by insulin resistance. What is this? Basically when your fat cells can no longer store more fat. Once you have maxed out your fat storage capacity, your body no longer knows what to do with every meal you consume. Insulin is still being pumped into your blood but the fat cells are no longer responding to this insulin. Insulin resistance is the first step toward diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, Alzheimer's, and numerous other diseases. All of which can and will eventually kill you.
Initially, fat is stored just under the skin--subcutaneous fat. Once these fat cells are full, the fat is then stored around the organs in the abdomen--visceral fat. In addition, the liver can also store fat--this is called a fatty liver and is a sign of alcoholism as well as insulin resistance. When fat storage capabilities are maxed out, fat begins to leak from the fat cells back into the blood stream. Triglycerides will become elevated, along with blood sugar levels, because insulin is no longer working to push the fat into the cells. This creates damage throughout the body.
How does this happen? What causes these changes in the body? Is it reversible?
Scientists studying obesity in rats purchase a specially formulated rat chow that is designed to cause obesity very quickly. This special rat chow is low in protein, high in fat, and VERY high in carbohydrates. It is composed of refined grains (flour), cheap vegetable oils (soy, canola, corn), and refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup). The ratios of macro-nutrients in this rat chow perfectly mimic the ratios in the Standard American Diet. Is it any wonder that we struggle with an epidemic of obesity and insulin resistance?
On the other hand, fitness models and body building champions eat a diet designed to help them shed excess body fat and build muscle. This diet is typically composed of high protein, moderate fat, and very low carbs. Body builders will choose to forgo grains and sugars completely in order to eliminate even the subcutaneous fat layer. A typical meal might include a large leafy green salad, a grilled chicken breast, maybe some avocado slices, and a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Delicious, satisfying, and nutritious!
Which foods are the WORST? Those that contain a combination of sugar and fat. Some examples of foods guaranteed to wreck your waistline: doughnuts, pies, cookies, cakes slathered in frosting, fudge, candy bars, ice cream, pancakes with syrup, etc. Every time we eat this combination of sugar and fat, our bodies are forced to store ALL the fat and sugar in our fat cells. Because every time we consume sugar, the body immediately switches from fat-burning to FAT STORAGE mode.
Do we have to keep getting fatter and fatter? No, the answer is simple. We must cut back (or even cut out) the sugar. When there is no sugar present in the blood stream, the body automatically switches over to FAT BURNING. Fat can ONLY be burned in the complete absence of sugar. This happens whenever we fast or consume a meal very low in carbs. (Refined carbs like white bread, bagels, rice, etc. are quickly broken down into glucose, which is sugar.)
Who wants to consume a steady diet of rat chow??? A terrifying concept!