The Real Reason Why Cats Become Obese and Diabetic
The fact is, nearly half of pet cats are considered overweight. Furthermore, just as in humans, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in cats. According to the Cornell University Feline Health Center: “diabetes in cats is a common disease in which a cat’s body either doesn’t use or doesn’t produce insulin.”
This statement about cats and diabetes is not based on independent research done but by extrapolating the explanation of why humans get Type 2 diabetes. In other words, veterinary scientists are guessing that cats get Type 2 diabetes for the very same reason that humans do—insulin resistance.
Doesn’t this sound a little strange to you—that cats develop insulin resistance just like humans? It does to me.
I have a very different theory about why humans develop Type 2 diabetes—and my theory can explain far better why cats also get high blood sugar, rather than this very odd notion that cats develop insulin resistance. Please read on and I believe you will find my theory much more logical.
Type 2 Diabetes in Humans
If you have been reading my blogs, you know that scientists claim that in humans, Type 2 diabetes is caused by three types of cells—liver, fat, and muscle—that become “insensitive” to the presence of insulin. Scientists refer to this as “insulin resistance,” and it prevents those cells from accepting glucose, leaving you with high blood sugar. (Just to be clear, Type 1 diabetes is completely unrelated. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, usually starting in infancy. Type 1 diabetics need insulin to replace the insulin their body does not produce.)
The problem with the insulin resistance theory is that it has many inconsistencies. If Type 2 diabetics cannot get glucose into their muscle cells to produce energy, why do they not lose the ability to walk, run, dance, play sports, or move around? How can they maintain their body heat? Why does insulin resistance affect only three types of cells when the body contains at least two hundred types of cells? Finally, What is the reason for the body to become resistant to insulin and only to this hormone?
The fact is, the insulin resistance theory doesn’t make biological sense. Moreover, despite more than 80 years of research, insulin resistance is still “proven” only by measuring a surrogate marker – elevated blood sugar level—while the actual mechanism of resistance is unproven.
It is true that over time Type 2 diabetes diabetics often lose their ability to produce insulin. However, I suggest it is far more likely that the long-term use of medications that stimulate the pancreatic islet cells, along with persistent hyperglycemia, is actually the cause of pancreatic exhaustion, rather than the currently accepted concept that diabetes is a “progressive” disease.
A Logical Theory for Type 2 Diabetes in Humans
In short, I suggest, while accepting Type 1 diabetes as a true hormonal disease, the widely accepted classification of the human Type 2 diabetes as a hormonal disease is wrong.
I propose a different explanation for why Type 2 diabetes occurs in humans. Humans are not evolving to become insulin resistant; they are simply overconsuming products containing grains—breads, muffins, pastries, cakes, cookies, snack foods, doughnuts, and other grain flour-based products. This includes products made with “whole” grains and “gluten-free” products, because those are still grains.
Over time, triglycerides made from grains fill all available fat cells, whether one is lean, overweight or pregnant. With nowhere to be stored, triglycerides break down into fatty acids and flow through the bloodstream. Much like a hybrid car that burns gas or uses electricity, muscle cells begin burning fatty acids rather than the glucose. This leaves the glucose in the blood, creating high blood sugar. This explains why Type diabetics have just as much energy as any person—because their body is deriving energy from fatty acids. It also explains why Type 2 diabetes is spreading in countries where grains become a major percentage of the diet.
The Same Logical Theory for Type 2 Diabetes in Cats
I suggest that the insulin resistance theory makes as little sense for cats as it does for humans. How does a cat’s body know when to become resistant? How do the same cell types, as in humans, know they are the chosen ones to develop resistance to insulin, and only to insulin?
When they are diagnosed, diabetic cats do not show any muscle weakness. They walk, run and play just as they always did. This means if their muscles are not generating energy from glucose, they must be generating energy from some other fuel—and just like humans, it is from fatty acids.
Where do cats get fatty acids to switch from using glucose to produce their energy? I suggest that, just like humans, cats consume too many carbohydrates from grain products. Most modern day pet foods may contain 25 to 35% carbs, primarily in the form of rice fillers. Rice is composed of molecules of complex carbohydrate each of which is made with up to 200,000 units of glucose. Although rice is not a natural food for cats, they are capable of digesting the complex carbohydrate and their little cat bodies absorb the resulting glucose.
Like humans, the body of a cat can store only a limited amount of glucose as carbohydrate, called glycogen. The rest has to be converted into fat. This is done by the liver, first by converting glucose into fatty acid and then to triglyceride, the name given to fat. Eating too much carbohydrate is how cats consuming mostly man-made pet foods become overweight. Eventually, when a cat does not have any more available fat cells to store all the fat produced from the excess glucose, fatty acids are released into the blood. This makes it easy for muscles to switch the fuel from glucose to fatty acid. Glucose molecules not used for energy or converted into fat stay in the blood, causing blood sugar to elevate and leading to the diagnosis of cat diabetes.
Too Much Protein Can Also Cause Diabetes in Cats
When a human or animal has increased blood sugar concentration, the pancreas increases the production and release of insulin, in an attempt to lower the blood sugar.
But did you know that an increased amount of amino acids in the blood, such as from eating meat, can also have a dramatic effect on insulin secretion from the pancreas if it happens at the same time that the cat’s blood glucose concentration is already elevated. The combination of high blood sugar from carbs PLUS lots of amino acids in the blood puts a tremendous amount of stress on pancreatic cells. If your pet has been eating this type of high protein diet for a long time, the prolonged stimulation may have already led to exhaustion of the insulin-producing cells of your cat’s pancreas. This could explain why almost one-half of cats require insulin injections as soon as diabetes is diagnosed.
In my opinion, the best way to prevent Type 2 diabetes or even reverse the diagnosed condition of Type 2 diabetes in cats is to eliminate any pet food that contains added carbohydrate such as rice. The consumption of any form of carbohydrate is not essential for health and wellbeing of humans or cats.
P.S. It is widely accepted that diabetes in dogs occurs predominantly via a type 1 mechanism. In my opinion, obesity and diabetes in pet dogs is due to the same mechanism as in humans and cats with the probability that pancreatic cells in dogs are likely to be exhausted earlier compared to that of a cat under the same stimulus of added carbohydrate combined with protein. I challenge veterinary scientists to do a controlled study to clarify this.
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