Gabriele Wolf PhD ND
FAST-ACTING SUGARS VS SLOW-ACTING SUGARS & THE BALLOONING OF A NATION
FROM THE LATE 70’S TO NOW WE SEE THE PERCENTAGE OF OBESE ADULTS IN THE US GO FROM ABOUT 12% FOR MEN AND 16% FOR WOMEN, UP TO OVER 40% FOR BOTH.
This is the third article in a series on Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Sugar and Body Fat.
Alright, so we know that when sugar comes into the body Insulin is released to shuttle that sugar into the cell. And if the cell is full, then it connects the sugars in chains and stores them as something called Glycogen in your muscle and liver cells for use later on. And if those are full then it connects the sugar to fatty acids and stores it as body fat. And, while Insulin is in the blood stream, fat burning is prevented.
We also know that, given too much sugar for too long, the cells start resisting it and refusing to let it in when Insulin tells them too, causing them to have less sugar to make energy with as well as causing more of it to be converted to body fat.
But just natural sugars don’t do this. And definitely not to the degree we’re seeing today.
So let’s get into the real nitty-gritty now on what’s actually happening here.
You may have heard or read about the Glycemic Index. This rates different sugar sources on a scale from high to low. Sugars higher on the scale are digested, absorbed, and put into the blood stream faster, while sugars lower on the scale are digested, absorbed and put to use more slowly.
Yes, in the end it’s all sugar. But we’re in the third dimension now, and how these different sugars enter the body, or, in the case of processed sugars, how they slam into the body, determines the body’s immediate response to them. And how much, if any, fat is created.
Slow-digesting carbs raise Insulin slowly over time and to a lesser degree, while fast-digesting carbs, coming in very suddenly, can rocket Insulin levels, putting your body into shock.
FAT, THEY’RE STILL HUNGRY AND SO DEMAND MORE SUGAR! WITH INSULIN RESISTANCE WE HAVE A VICIOUS CIRCLE — AS THE CELLS DIDN’T GET THEIR SUGAR, BECAUSE IT WAS STORED AS BODY
You see, Insulin isn’t released in exact amounts.
It’s not one squirt of Insulin for 5 grams of sugar, two squirts for 10, and so on.
No. For a slow digesting carb it’s maybe a “little bit” let out over time, just enough to shuttle it into the cells. But for a few donuts, some Ben & Jerry’s, and a Coke, where leaving that high amount of sugar in the bloodstream for too long can cause real damage to your blood vessels, it’s: “Release the Kraken!”
In fact, if you’re used to a high processed sugar diet you may not even notice it at this point (your body can go numb to its effects). But once we get you off these for a bit, go grab a box of Krispy Cremes and oh boy will you feel it.
So we have these fast-acting sugars not only releasing Insulin faster, but in greater quantity overall. Add in Insulin resistance on top of this, where the body already needs to release more Insulin just to get the cells to take in the sugar, and we get even higher levels of Insulin and fat storage.
This is because, as the cells won’t take it in, the body thinks more Insulin is necessary. It needs that high level of sugar out of the blood — now. So it keeps releasing Insulin until either the cells take the sugar in or the sugar is converted to fat. One or the other, Insulin doesn’t care.
In fact, if you’re Insulin resistant you’ll find that if you consume a natural, slow-acting sugar it will feel like it doesn’t satisfy you like processed sugars do. This is not just because it’s slower-acting, it’s also because the processed sugars force the body to release so much more Insulin to take them in, but the slow-acting sugars make it release less, so it’s much slower to get into the Insulin-resistant cells as there’s less Insulin to force it in.
So how much Insulin does the body release? It depends on how fast-acting the sugar is and how Insulin resistant the person is.
But now, with Insulin resistance, we have a vicious circle — as the cells didn’t get their sugar, because it was stored as body fat, they’re still hungry and so demand more sugar. So you eat more.
But the cells still don’t get enough, because they won’t let it in. So you eat more.
So we get much more Insulin being released to force the sugar into Insulin resistant cells, and even more Insulin being released due to high levels of processed sugars vs natural sugars. And all of this Insulin is forcing the creation of new body fat and preventing the burning of it — no matter what exercise you do.
After about 5 years of this we pass the point of Pre-Diabetes (very high insulin resistance) and enter Type 2 Diabetes, where the body, sick of producing so much Insulin for so long, just… stops producing it. Or at least produces much less.
And as the cells are Insulin resistant already, this lowered level of Insulin isn’t enough to get them to take in sugar — even when they need it. So we get much lower energy levels, much more fat creation, higher blood pressure due to increased fat in the arteries, and much more.
This is when Insulin shots become necessary. And fat-burning is definitely off the table.
THE CURRENT PROCESSED SUGAR LEVELS ARE WHY SEVEN YEAR OLD TYPE 2 DIABETICS ARE NOW COMMON. THEY WEREN’T JUST RARE BEFORE. THEY DIDN’T EXIST.
Now, this could be you or not to one degree or another, but this is at a very high level these days, mainly because of the very high levels of processed sugar in almost all of our foods and drinks — even the “healthy” ones.
If those carbs have been processed at all, even if organic, they will in most cases now be fast-acting sugars.
In fact, when it comes to sugary drinks in particular, like soda or juices with high fructose corn syrup added, they hit so fast that while they really are providing the same amount of calories as a solid-food carb source, your body is not recognizing them as calories in, and so they in no way lower appetite. They’re just pure added Insulin boosters.
Think about it. You can have a bowl of pasta — pure carbs — and feel like you ate something.
Or you can have a can of Coke and get about the same carbs. But do you feel like you had a meal? Same amount of calories, but it’s how they are used.
Our bodies weren’t made for these processed sugars. They don’t know how to deal with them. They throw things off.
Most people, for the first half of the last century, still bought food that came from farms near them and prepared their own meals. And cane sugar was more expensive, so they bought less of it.
And, as they weren’t accustomed to a lot of sugar, a little went a long way. Apple pie back then wasn’t apple pie today. You’d probably call it bland at best.
And our ancestors definitely didn’t have access to this stuff.
There were no candy bar trees or loaves of sourdough roaming the plains.
Sugar sources were very few and far between. Maybe they lucked on some honey or a fruit tree, or planted maize and grains to eat.