Insulin Resistance With Dr. Robert Maki

insulin resistance






There are quite a few interesting videos out there on diabetes and related topics, stuff I've watched and feel that people may be interested in, and I've featured a few on the site already and will be featuring more as time goes on.  People may want to watch the videos as well but I always add some commentary about them so you may but you don't really have to in order to at least get an idea of what they are about.

So the one for today is a presentation by naturopath Dr. Robert Maki, entitled "Insulin Resistance."  I will warn you though that it is pretty long, about an hour and a half in duration, and he does cover quite a bit of ground here and there's only room to discuss some of his points of course, so if you are up for a talk of that length it's actually a pretty good and fairly informative video.

As a naturopath, he's naturally going to be focusing a lot on "whole foods" and such, and while I'm not one for that sort of thing personally, I do think that there's something to be said about this, although I do feel that they make way too much out of this really.  As for diabetes, they do tend to promote things like whole grains and think that whole grains have some magical properties that make them benign for us, I actually feel that whole grains, while they may blunt blood sugar increases more than processed grains do, still end up adding the same glycemic load over time, and they also have a lot more lectins in them so they may even be worse, but that's another topic for another day.

In any case, this video doesn't talk too much about diet, it's mostly about the effects of insulin resistance, and he does a pretty good job with this.  The thing I like the most about this video is that it does take a high level view of insulin resistance, this is way bigger than just causing diabetes, and even bigger than just causing diabetes and obesity, he goes into all of the other afflictions and conditions that insulin resistance causes, particularly things like fatty liver, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer, which high insulin levels also contribute to.

It is not an overstatement to say that insulin resistance, and what causes it and perpetuates it, hyperinsulinemia, excessively high insulin levels in other words, are behind most common diseases these days.  It's an epidemic really with almost three quarters of people in the United States now overweight, and the number is climbing.

Dr. Rob, as he is known by in his blog, cites that 80% of overweight people have insulin resistance, as well as 40% of people who aren't overweight, and this is something that we can measure pretty easily though by just looking at people's insulin levels in comparison to their blood sugar levels, this is how we measure insulin resistance in experiments as well.

There are a number of causes of this and we know that genetics play a role, but he points out that genetics tend to be predispositions to things and genetics certainly adapt to environmental changes, so it's not just a matter of wondering whether this is genetic in some cases and environmental in others, both always play a role in the development of disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic disorders, as well as pretty much any disorder really.

The connection between insulin resistance and these other diseases is pretty well established by the way, we typically only think of insulin resistance when it leads to diabetes, but it also leads to several other things, and if you look at how many insulin resistant people there are, well the majority of people these days have this.  If you take 80% of 75% with the overweight people and then 40% of the 25% that aren't overweight, you get 70% of all people these days, in the United States at least, who are insulin resistant.

So if 70% of the people isn't enough for us to stand up and take notice I don't know how high this would have to go before we do, but the problem is that there aren't many people who are actually focused on improving conditions at all, the goal instead is to medicate as much as possible and when that no longer works, perhaps do some expensive surgeries, and not only neglect things that might improve this like managing your diet better or taking supplements, there's no money in that for them so they approach this in a way that not only doesn't fix things it tends to make them worse.

As far as the treating this goes, Dr. Rob basically focuses on avoiding sugar and refined grains, he actually wants us to avoid all refined foods, again though, unrefined grains are unhealthy for our blood sugar as well as having other health concerns as well.  So I think he's a little too caught up in his dietary philosophy to see that we need to pay attention to all sources of glucose, whole sources or otherwise.

He does mention fructose though as being particularly harmful, in moderate amounts this probably isn't the case but it certainly is if you get way too much, and to say that we generally get way too much is a huge understatement.  For starters, people consume half a pound of sugar a day on average, which is simply a stupid amount, and sugar is half fructose, and this is way different in magnitude than just eating a little fruit.

High fructose corn syrup is much worse though, and this is well known to be a poison in the amounts people consume.  I like his analogy to it being as harmful to the liver as alcohol,  and our livers can tolerate modest amounts of alcohol, but when you drink way too much your liver will get sick, and that's exactly what is happening to people consuming high fructose corn syrup, and with this stuff, unlike alcohol, there may not even be a safe amount.

So a pretty good video overall, he does provide some supplement recommendations toward the end are they are pretty decent ones, and in spite of some of his views on diet which don't account for insulin resistance as well as they could, he does do a good job at introducing people to the plague of insulin resistance.

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