Obesity is a huge topic in itself and going into its role in type 2 diabetes will require much more space than I am allotting here, but I wanted to start with some of the ways we see this problem and especially some of the misconceptions, as well as throw in a few things that we know to be true.
Actually, even though there is quite a bit that we do know, there is still much to learn, but sadly enough we don’t pay much attention to the science we do have when we speak about this topic generally.
Perhaps the main problem is that there is so much confusion about the science of obesity in the first place, with so many people, including many scientists, still thinking that obesity is caused by excessive caloric intake for instance.
In spite of the overwhelming evidence that obesity is a hormonally driven disease, as are all metabolic diseases, and this hormonal imbalance primarily involves insulin levels, we still cling to this old and outdated model, which never really did have much going for it and was simply postulated as a best guess by people who weren’t much good at guessing.
It’s not that caloric intake doesn’t matter, for instance if you read the last article I did on AMPK you will notice that excessive caloric consumption does drive AMPK lower, and anything that does this will lead to further downregulation of one’s metabolism, and low AMPK is a huge issue as we spoke about.
So this does contribute somewhat to excess storage, although the body is not a closed system so how much energy we store in relation to caloric intake is quite variable, and it depends on several things, the most notable of which is insulin levels.
Insulin is the storage hormone, we do need to intake food to store, but how much of it we store will be dependent primarily on insulin levels. So if we think of this in terms of percentages of potential energy being stored, the higher the insulin levels, the bigger the percentage. So it’s an open system really and we know that for certain, so it doesn’t make sense to just speak of the potential energy here as if storage was fixed and total, where it clearly is variable.
The type of potential energy consumed also influences things, for instance consuming excess carbs particularly influences storage, for the reason that they raise insulin levels. High carbs in combination with high fat does us in as well, now you’ve got the high insulin levels from the high carbs plus all this fat, and the body will store both too much of this fat and convert the carbs into more fat and store that in excess as well.
So obesity has its roots in excess storage, and excess storage has its roots in several things, eating too much and eating too many carbs in particular, hardly anyone speaks of that though, which is very odd, but their preoccupation with calories and as well as an obsession with dietary fat even to the exclusion of the more significant matter of excessive carb intake has blinded them pretty much.
Excessive food intake won’t even matter if one’s insulin levels aren’t excessive as well, as its insulin that does the work here in storing energy, and excessive insulin is needed for excessive storage, period. People with low insulin remain underweight regardless of how much they eat for instance, and people with very high insulin, and that’s quite a number of people these days, can stay fat even though they eat very little.
So this is a matter of efficiency so to speak and while efficiency is good, you just want a normal amount, not too much or too little. The too little is pretty much limited to type 1 diabetics, otherwise low insulin levels are healthy, not too low mind you, but nicely so, like fasting insulin around 5, where the average person how has insulin several times higher than this, higher than ideal and leading to being overweight or worse.
The average person, by the way, is overweight these days, that is a recent phenomenon and this is worsening in step with the worsening insulin levels of the average person, their insulin and weight both keep rising. The two just aren’t correlated, we’re talking a causal relationship here, and one that has been well proven.
So obesity is just one manifestation of excess insulin levels, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are other manifestations, as are all metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes. It’s not the obesity that does us in as some people think, it’s that this hormonal imbalance causes both obesity and diabetes.
Excess storage, obesity, does worsen type 2 diabetes though, causing other hormones to be imbalanced, but oddly enough, the net effect of the obesity may be a positive one on the diabetic condition if anything, as we know that the obesity is in some ways an adaptation to cope with the diabetes.
In any case though, the presence of obesity and diabetes together indicate that the central problem, excess insulin, is still present, causing both an excess of storage and further insulin resistance. So one does need to lose weight here, not so much for the sake of losing weight, but as an indication that one’s excessive insulin levels are being brought more in check, reducing the amount of insulin resistance present and therefore making it easier to manage one’s diabetes.
Both conventional health authorities and a lot of conventional medical science is driven by corporate medicine, who have the medical profession in their back pocket and also fund a lot of scientific research, so this does color the landscape a lot, at least the easily visible landscape.
So most of the views out there focus on eating too much generally or not exercising enough, and diabetes is seen by many as a disease of gluttony and sloth. While many diabetics are guilty of one or both of these so called deadly sins, often both, this isn’t sufficient at all to explain the disease, and far from it, but they are plenty satisfied to just point their fingers and then tell people just eat less and exercise more.
Now if they at least told them, eat less carbohydrate and exercise more, that would be very good advice actually, and especially the eating less carbohydrate, as this is the cornerstone of proper management for both obesity and diabetes. They don’t mention the carbs, they do mention eating less fat, but we in fact have to consume a higher percentage of fat to succeed here, so their advice takes us in the opposite direction, going from helpful to actually harmful.
So that’s a good place to end this, I have way more to talk about here but stay tuned for that.