Diabetes and Obesity Pandemic
Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the rates of Obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In America, it is estimated that one in every 11 people has Diabetes, while the rate is one in every 16 in the United Kingdom. However, as Gary Taub writes, the increase in the number of people with Diabetes did not happen overnight. It has been escalating since the mid-1980s and has been a cause for concern for many medical practitioners over the years.
So, what is the connection between sugar intake, Obesity, and Type C Diabetes? Well, unregulated sugar intakes cause a ‘butterfly-effect’ in our bodies.
Diving Into Mechanism
Taub, in his essay for the BMJ, calls for an investigation of the connection between sugar and both Diabetes and Obesity. Sugar is a high-calorie product and is a proven direct catalyst for Obesity if taken in unregulated amounts. Excessive sugar, when consumed, is converted into fructose which is accumulated in the liver as fat. This may cause complications such as insulin resistance and cardiovascular diseases among other health complications. Often, fructose-containing sugars are the main sugars consumed by people, and therefore pose the greatest danger.
The effect of the formation of the fatty liver often leads to Obesity; as too much fat is accumulated in the body which often never gets digested. Studies have shown an unprecedented increase in obesity rates in America and an almost proportionate increase in diabetes among the obese population. In fact, researchers have established a direct connection between Obesity and Diabetes, pointing that obese people have a higher probability of getting Type 2 Diabetes.
Consumption of too much sugar creates insulin resistance in our bodies hence increasing the prevalence of diabetes. In effect, it reduces the body’s ability to control the sugar levels in the blood as the body cells become more insulin resistant. Further, consumption of high sugar levels leads to the accumulation of excessive body fat. This has been proven to cause chronic inflammation, especially around the abdomen.
The Old Solution
Fortunately, we are not victims of sugar as energy source. Also, evolution allowed cells of higher organisms to develop a number of positive responses toward calorie restriction or periods of starvation. Limiting food intake can delay the deleterious effects of aging and extend lifespan of mammals. It is a brilliant remnant of survival response that we can employ as a life-extending strategy ourselves. By reducing the amount of food, but primarily sugar intake, we can avoid Obesity, Diabetes, and Chronic inflammation. The synergy created by caloric restriction and reduction of sugar intake may ultimately lead to even faster health improvement and longevity.
Gary Taubes. What if sugar is worse than just empty calories? An essay by Gary Taubes. BMJ, 2018; j5808 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j5808