Detox and Destress
Do any of these circumstances sound familiar to you?
- Are you concerned about being overweight?
- Do you crave sugar and carbs?
- Does diabetes run in your family?
- Do you frequently feel stressed?
- Can’t seem to lose weight despite exercise?
If you can relate to any of these questions, you could be heading towards diabetes.
What is Diabesity?
Diabesity is a new term that denotes the interchange between diabetes and obesity. Most people assume diabetes results from being overweight, but it goes both ways. Increased blood sugar causes the body to produce fat cells, and fat cells make losing weight difficult and increase the risk of diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar level is chronically too high. Sugar molecules “stick” to everything, so when you have too many sugar molecules in the blood stream, they stick to blood vessel walls, nerves, and muscle fibers. Over time, they damage these structures, which eventually leads to many health complications – from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease.
A Vicious Cycle: What Causes Diabesity?
When there are elevated sugar levels in blood, the body responds by increasing the release of insulin to shuttle the sugar molecules from the blood into the cells, where they are used to produce molecules of energy. Insulin is required to get the sugar molecules inside the cells. Insulin acts as “the gatekeeper” to escort sugar across the cell membrane. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the body tries to keep up by increasing the amount of insulin present to shuttle more sugar into cells. After a while, though, the cells stop listening to insulin. This is how insulin resistance develops. Once the cells are resistant to insulin, sugar levels in blood will stay high. Even though the levels of sugar in blood are high, the cells don’t have enough sugar to make energy. People with diabesity then suffer from fatigue and a slower metabolism, which makes weight loss much harder.
Several factors, especially diet, increase blood sugar. The body metabolizes starchy carbohydrates such as breads and pastas into sugar. When you eat concentrated sweets too often, your body struggles to control blood sugar levels.
Higher amounts of body fat increases blood sugar because fat creates insulin resistance. An abdominal circumference greater than 38 inches for a man and 34 inches for a woman indicates insulin resistance. Belly fat, also called adipose, increases inflammation, which leads to increased blood sugar and increased insulin. Recent studies show that adipose itself is a gland that produces hormones that affect the body. A few of these hormones increase inflammation. One of the hormones actually prevents you from feeling full – so the more adipose you have, the hungrier you are! It gets to be a vicious cycle.
The Effects of Stress On Blood Sugar
Stress is another important factor of elevated blood sugar. When we are stressed, our bodies release more sugar into the bloodstream so our muscles have the fuel to “fight the tiger” of stress. Evolutionarily, our predominant stressor is danger, so more sugar in the bloodstream gives us more energy for our muscles to run from, or fight, the tiger. Stress over time, however, drives an increase in blood sugar, which leads to diabetes and obesity. In the 21st century, our stressors are not tigers but time, toxins, relationships, etc. We aren’t burning the increased blood sugar running from a tiger, so our bodies store it as belly fat.
The Effects of Toxins on Obesity
Many toxins in our environment cause us to gain weight. Pesticides, insecticides, heavy metals, and plastics act as “endocrine disruptors” – they adversely affect our hormone balance, namely cortisol and estrogen. These toxins hinder the body from producing cortisol and they mimic estrogen in the body. For example, pregnant women gain weight to help feed their unborn babies, so they are high in estrogen. When we have toxins that mimic estrogen in the body, we gain weight. The extra belly fat induces high blood sugars and insulin resistance, which starts the whole vicious cycle.
How to Break the Cycle & Prevent Diabesity
Diabesity is a multifaceted problem and requires a multifaceted approach.
To break the cycle, first address your diet. Eliminate concentrated sugars and starchy carbohydrates like breads, pastas, crackers, cereals, etc., as well as pies, cakes, and candy. Increase your vegetable intake.
Second, Eliminate Stress
Next, look at the stressors in your life and eliminate unnecessary pressure. When you are trying to improve metabolism, you must support the adrenal glands as well.
Exercise is crucial. By burning sugar and building muscle, we reverse many of the metabolic issues that increase our risk for diabetes.
Fourth, Take Care of Yourself
Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep causes a slower metabolism. Lack of sleep also makes you more hungry, so continues the vicious cycle. Destressing and getting enough sleep also helps balance your sex hormones, and well-balanced hormones help to reduce elevated insulin and sugar levels. For women, estrogen helps insulin to be more effective, while progesterone helps us burn carbohydrates. For men, testosterone burns sugar and builds muscle – two very important factors to help decrease the risk for diabetes.
Finally, you must detox. Avoid toxins as much as possible. Support the liver with B vitamins and antioxidants. Eliminate toxins already present in the body with blue-green algae or chlorella.
When you are trying to improve metabolism, you must support the adrenal glands as well.
Nutrients for Treating Diabesity
Every cell has vitamin D receptors, even the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Cells don’t function well if they don’t have enough vitamin D. Vitamin D helps lower sugars and improve metabolism. Depending on where you live, a dose of 2000 IU for sunnier areas and 5000 IU per day for cloudy areas.
Chromium is needed to transport sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells. It also helps to cut down sugar cravings. Doses of 600 mcg/day may be necessary if you have elevated blood sugar or insulin levels.
L-Tyrosine helps with carb cravings and emotional eating by working on the adrenals, thyroid, and dopamine pathways. Typically 500mg twice daily is helpful to curb emotional eating.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a little enzyme helper in the very cycle through which our cells make molecules of energy called ATP. ALA therefore increases metabolism, helps to decrease insulin resistance, and promotes healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. ALA is also a very powerful antioxidant, thus helping with detoxification especially in the kidneys and liver. It is best to start with low doses of ALA – 250mg twice daily.