Just forewarning you now, this is going to get pretty sciency. I will do my best to limit the super dense language of it though.
Our last blog covered a case study between a set of twins in which one brother died prematurely of diabetes/obesity, while the other went on to be a super ripped up marine who will probably live well into 80s or 90s. Now, as that blog examined, your genes DO NOT determine the outcome of your fitness. You can very well have a history of obesity/diabetes in your family and never end up with those problems yourself. I have a history of high blood pressure and diabetes on both sides of my family, but I’ve never seen a doctor for health issues or even had a blood pressure reading of 121/75.
So, we know that you can do things about your health and fitness with a proper diet and proper exercise habits, BUT, and here’s the question to move past the lie, what if your diet is already preventing you from it?
Robert Lustig is an American pediatric endocrinologist and Professor of Pediatrics in the division of Endocrinology at the University of Cal – San Francisco. He began working with children back in 1995 to determine why some children at the ages of 3-12 were already obese and diabetic. Now, as we all have been programmed to think, people that are overweight and diabetic are just a bunch of slobs who overeat and never care to actually go do something about it. Well, if that is true, how can you explain an infant or toddler who is obese and diabetic? And, why is it that these kids tend to not WANT to be as active as other children who are not obese and diabetic? An infant wasn’t choosing what to eat, and most toddlers tend to run around and play to no end. So, why are we steadily seeing an increase in overweight and diabetic children?
Lustig went to work. He admitted a number of these kids into his clinic and began searching deeply for the root cause of the problem. He didn’t care about the symptoms, which most doctors will treat without ever digging for the cause. He discovered that the cause of what was making the kids obese was, as it is for all of us, the over consumption of processed carbohydrates. He began to alter what the kids were eating and ensured that their insulin levels returned to normal. But, a very peculiar thing began to happen with the children once their biochemistry was altered, they started exercising on their own.
And, that’s the lie the food and beverage industry don’t want you to know. They will tell you over and over until they’re blue in the face that it’s on you to just go out and exercise and everything will change. That it’s your fault for eating too much and working out too little. The fact of the matter is, your brain is telling you to eat more and exercise less and there’s nothing you can do about it until you fix your biochemistry.
Here’s the really sciency stuff.
When you are constantly shooting up your blood glucose from the consumption of processed carbohydrates, you are constantly spiking your insulin. We’ve spoken about this ad nauseam. However, what Lustig discovered, and what I failed to properly digest, was that once you become obese/diabetic you enter a very deadly circle. You are now, more than likely, insulin resistant. This means you need more insulin to store blood glucose. The hormone can no longer find a way to bind onto the cells because you’ve burnt out the receptors so your pancreas just continues to pump it out in hopes of getting rid of the excess glucose in your blood. This causes your brain to no longer be able to recognize the hormone leptin. Leptin is your satiety hormone. It lets your brain know, “that’s it, no more food.” However, when there’s too much insulin in your blood, you can’t recognize it so your brain thinks you’re starving. The brain then tells your liver to make more glucose via a process called liver gluco-neogenesis. This in turn tells your body to conserve energy. Basically, the brain is telling the liver, “hey make some more sugar because nothing is coming in.” And, this causes you to feel the need to conserve energy and not do anything to utilize your stored energy. And, around and around we go on this very deadly and unhappy merry go round.
You must first change what’s going on with your eating habits before you will actually feel like yourself and want to do something about it. I know, much easier said than done. But, this is why we advocate for group sessions in CrossFit gyms, we provide a support system to help people get through these kinds of things and the workouts as well. If you have further questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org