If the person is obese, with more than fifty pounds of additional fat weight, his body will demand huge loads of insulin from the pancreas, even as much as ten times more than a person of normal weight needs. So what do you think happens after five to ten years of forcing the pancreas to work so hard? You guessed it — pancreatic poop-out.
The pancreas begins to secrete less insulin, in spite of the huge demands of the body. Eventually, with less insulin available to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, the glucose level in the blood starts to rise and the person gets diagnosed with diabetes. In most cases, these individuals are still secreting an excessive amount of insulin (compared with a person of normal weight), just not enough for them. When they eat a less taxing diet and lose weight, they don’t need the extra insulin to control the sugars.
What this means is that typical Type II diabetes is caused by overweight in individuals who have a smaller reserve of insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas. In the susceptible individual, even ten to twenty pounds of excess weight could make the difference. Losing the extra weight enables these individuals to live within the capabilities of their body. Most Type II diabetics still produce enough insulin to maintain normalcy as long as they maintain a thinner, normal weight.
Following a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet is the most important thing a diabetic individual can do to extend his or her life span. It has been known for years that intentional weight loss improves diabetics’ blood sugars, lipids, and blood pressure. A recent study documented a significant increase in life expectancy, with an average of 25 percent reduced premature mortality when diabetic individuals dropped their body weight.2 Imagine the results when a program of nutritional excellence achieves the weight loss.
Insulin is a dangerous drug for Type II diabetics. These are people who are overweight to begin with. Insulin therapy will result in further weight gain, accelerating their diabetes. A vicious cycle begins that usually causes patients to require more and more insulin as they put on the pounds. When they come to see me for the first time, they report their sugars are impossible to control in spite of massive doses of insulin, which they are now combining with oral medication. It is like walking around with a live hand grenade in your pocket ready to explode at any minute.
1. Lovejoy, J. C., M. M. Windhauser, J. C. Rood, and J. A. De La Bretonne. 1998. Effects of a controlled high-fat versus low-fat diet on insulin sensitivity and leptin levels in African- American and Caucasian women. Metab. 47: 1520–24.
2. Williamson, D. F., T. J. Thompson, M. Thun, et al. 2000. Intentional weight loss and mortality among overweight individuals with diabetes. Diabetes Care 23 (10): 1499–1504.