How Excess Carbs = Degenerative Disease

In 2025, 33% of the U.S. population born after the year 2000 will be diabetic!

As we discussed in a previous post, the development of diabetes starts with insulin resistance, which is driven by chronically elevated blood sugar from a frequent and excessive intake of dietary carbohydrates. When insulin is continuously secreted to remove sugar from our blood, our cells become less receptive (down regulation). With less receptor sites, insulin struggles to find somewhere to put the glucose, and blood sugar remains high for longer than usual. This not only puts unnecessary stress on our body and produces inflammation, but it increases the likelihood that the sugars in the blood bind with proteins and form something called:

Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)

When excess glucose attaches to proteins to form AGEs, it gums up blood vessels and capillaries and further damages DNA, enzymes, and receptor sites.

In 2004, Australian researchers determined that AGEs (sugary proteins) produce a 50-fold increase in free radical production.

Other than AGE-ing the body and raising our risk of disease, this process continues to decrease the likelihood that our tissues absorb glucose (insulin resistance). As we’ve discussed, the more insulin resistant you become, the more your body favors glucose conversion to body fat and blood fat (triglycerides), instead of muscle and glycogen storage. And if after full-blown insulin resistance there continues to be an excess intake of carbohydrates in the diet, the fats created in the liver get trapped. Which sets the stage for something called:

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

At this point, even though your body and liver have a ton of glucose, some of the resistant cells still perceive your blood sugar levels as being low. In a desperate attempt to keep homeostasis, your body starts to secrete cortisol (the stress hormone), which triggers the breakdown of muscle mass and prevents protein absorption to support the apparent need.

Insulin resistance (and diabetes) is not just a disease that promotes fat storage, it actually destroys muscle and tissue.

Aside from the unfortunate body composition consequences, this gradual deterioration in insulin sensitivity eventually results in Type 2 Diabetes. Essentially, the pancreas becomes so exhausted from secreting insulin to deal with elevated blood sugar, that it can no longer produce it. It’s also associated with an increased risk of cancer (1, 2), heart disease, neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and early death.

Many of you reading this are nowhere near this state of health, but its important to recognize what can happen if you continue to consume excess carbohydrates on a daily basis. Sadly, many choose carbohydrates because they think they’re required for energy; not realizing that if they’re carrying excess fat, there’s plenty of ‘energy’ to go around.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike