Insulin for Type II Diabetes Makes Things Worse

Insulin works less effectively when people eat fatty foods or gain weight. Diets containing less fat improve insulin sensitivity, as does weight loss.1 An individual who is overweight requires more insulin, whether he or she is diabetic or not. In fact, giving overweight diabetic people even more insulin makes them sicker by promoting weight gain. They become even more diabetic. How does this process work? Our pancreas secretes the amount of insulin demanded by the body. A person of normal weight with about a third of an inch of periumbilical fat will secrete X amount of insulin. Let’s say this person gains about twenty pounds of fat. His body will now require more insulin, almost twice as much, because fat on the body blocks the uptake of insulin into the cells.

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.
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Jill - September 18, 2007 11:38 PM

What about the fact that Type 2 is a progressive disease and despite weight loss diabetics will most likely require insulin? Do you believe this is true that with the newer insulins like Lantus and Levemir that this is true? What about all the research that shows the earlier you initiate insulin therapy you can't halt the loss of beta cell loss? Sometimes, the ONLY way to reduce blood sugars is with insulin? I get so confused b/c there is so many articles that contradict each other. Which is correct?

JOSE LUIS - June 26, 2008 2:53 PM

As time passes bye and you take insuline will insuline injections kill you slowly? I know it helps control your blood but their has to be a sighteffect.

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