Losing Weight (Part 2): What gestational diabetes teaches us about losing weight to reverse diabetes
If you are overweight and have diabetes, you might be wondering whether losing weight can possibly reverse your diabetes. My answer is Yes. In my book Eat Chew Live, I present the reasons why this is true. I do not believe insulin resistance is the cause of diabetes, nor do I agree that it is your weight that causes only 3 types of cells in your body to suddenly become resistant to insulin.
Rather, it is the fact that weight gain at some point will fill your natural allotment of fat cells. When that happens, all excess glucose you have absorbed (largely from grain-products) can no longer be stored as fat in your fat cells. When this happens, fat is broken down in your body into small fatty acid compounds, and your cells – especially your muscle cells, the biggest energy generator in your body – begin burning fatty acids rather than glucose. This “fatty acid burn switch” is what causes glucose to remain in your bloodstream.
If you lose weight, you will at some point empty your fat cells and thereby your body can revert to burning glucose again. But you need to keep that weight off, to avoid refilling your fat cells. So how much weight is necessary to lose?
A clue is found in gestational diabetes
The answer to this question is found in the oddity of gestational diabetes. If you are unfamiliar with this, this is a “temporary” form of Type 2 diabetes that appears in about 10% of pregnant women who early in their pregnancy develop high blood sugar to the point of being diabetic. What’s odd, however, is that usually within days after giving birth, their diabetes goes away. There is a significant clue in gestational diabetes that can help any diabetic understand how much weight they need to lose to reverse their diabetes.
To illustrate this, consider Lisa, who was diagnosed with gestational diabetes after gaining 25 pounds during her first pregnancy. She was not surprised with the diagnosis because her mother had diabetes, albeit after age 65. She was given insulin to control her high blood sugar. Lisa later had a normal delivery and a healthy baby. As expected, her diabetes disappeared when she lost her pregnancy-associated weight gain.
Four years later she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her second child. Her weight gain was similar to that of the first and she was again treated with insulin. She had a normal delivery and a healthy child. However, this time, she could not lose the weight she had gained during the second pregnancy. She was not too concerned primarily because she was too busy with an active toddler, a newborn baby and care of a household with a busy husband.
Six months after the end of her second pregnancy, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She accepted the diagnosis because she had been informed that she was at increased risk of developing it because of her family history and having had gestational diabetes. She never questioned it, nor had her doctor ever explained why she was free of diabetes for almost 4 years after the first pregnancy, yet why it had not disappeared after the second child.
Lisa was again started on oral medications to improve her “insulin sensitivity.” Although she experienced abdominal discomfort, she did not complain because she was told to expect it as a side effect of the medication. Her blood sugar level dropped, but she was not able to lose weight no matter how much she tried. In fact, sometimes she was forced to eat food after taking her medication because she felt hungry.
A few years later, to control her even higher blood sugar level, she had to increase the dose of her medication. However, this time, she experienced episodes of nausea, sweating and shaking about 2 hours after taking the larger dose. Eating alleviated these symptoms, but she noticed gradual weight gain.
So how you can tell how much weight to lose?
I contend that gestational diabetes exposes the inconsistencies about the insulin resistance theory of type 2 diabetes—and it gives us a clue into the importance of losing weight to reverse diabetes. It makes little biological sense that pregnancy-related factors interfere with a significant number of approximately 250 million muscle fibers so as to make them resistant to insulin, while about 250 billion liver cells and about 50 billion fat cells become resistant to insulin—and no other cells in the body do. And the big question, how and why do these affected cells suddenly reverse course within days after a woman gives birth to her child?
These illogical and inconsistent explanations about gestational diabetes lend a great deal of support to my proposal that filling your fat cells causes the “fatty acid burn switch” as I discussed above. The fact that some women, like Lisa, develop full-blown diabetes soon after delivering when they cannot manage to lose weight is also an indication that it is not insulin resistance that causes high blood sugar, but filling your fat cells.
What gestational diabetes shows us is first that you can reverse diabetes, just as a pregnant woman experiences after delivery. What matters is losing enough weight to empty your fat cells. You can tell this has happened when your fasting blood sugar becomes normal, without help from any medication. When this occurs, you may be at what I call your authentic weight.
Anyone interested in losing weight should be extra diligent to avoid grains and grain flour products, as these are the prime contributors of unneeded weight gain. Although for most people, standard tables on weight or Body Mass Index may tell them their optimum weight, you cannot be sure whether you should be at the lower end or higher end of a range within the limits based on your height and age. This is because body weight is a sum of many weights such as muscles, bones, organs, fluids and fat.
Your authentic weight is the one when your blood test values of fasting glucose, triglyceride and LDL cholesterol are within the normal range. Once this is determined your objective should be to keep as close to it as possible with periodic reassessment based on blood tests.
If you are overweight or concerned about getting diabetes, Eat, Chew, Live provides exactly the new science & inspiration you need.
Based on more than twenty years of research, Eat, Chew, Live offers a revolutionary new explanation of high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes. While traditional medicine says it is due to “insulin resistance,” Dr. Poothullil disagrees. Eat, Chew, Live will show you:
- How the consumption of grains causes your body to develop high blood sugar
- How you can lower your blood sugar to avoid or reverse Type 2 diabetes without using drugs.
- How you can change your eating habits to avoid grains while still enjoying every meal
There are no special diets to follow or products to buy. Get your copy today and inform yourself.