Dr Skye Scott
Our bodies are designed with genius. The ingenuity & innovations of nature are astounding. So, why then, are we getting so fat? Infants are three times more likely to be obese in childhood than they were 20 years ago. Current estimates in America are that 5% of children & 12% of adults are obese, representing more than a twofold increase since 1980 (1). What can we do to mend our ways
Our understanding of weight loss is becoming more complex than the simple calories-in calories-out model of yesteryear. Where we previously thought all you need to do is eat less & move more; we now understand that there are hormones at play that complicate this equation.
Trends in obesity among children and adolescents ages 2–19 years, by age: United States, as conveyed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive & Kidney Diseases
Let’s examine the hormone; INSULIN. What is insulin resistance & how does that contribute to weight gain? When we eat, food is broken down into micronutrients & glucose enters our bloodstream. In order to move from our bloodstream to our organs & to the cells that need energy, INSULIN acts like a transporter which drives this glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. In Diabetes, insulin receptors become down regulated and this transport system fails – the sugar remains in our blood stream making our blood sticky & thick and damaging vulnerable small nerves and capillaries in our toes, eyes and other end organs. It is hypothesised that much of the organ damage happens in the 10 years before the diagnosis of Diabetes, when we are in the INSULIN RESISTANT phase!
What else does insulin do? It switches off metabolism & burning of stored fat & it stores extra energy as more fat. When we consume refined carbohydrates (cake, cookies, sweets, fizzy drinks!), we overstimulate our insulin production.
Here is the maximum recommended sugar intake per day by age group as stated by the American Heart Association:
- Four to six years old – 19g (5 teaspoons)
- Seven to 10 years – 24g (6 teaspoons)
- From 11 years – 30g (7 teaspoons)
Have a look at this above recommendation. A Liquifruit box is 8.5 spoons of sugar, a small packet of Skittles is 12 spoons. Half a cup of Haagendaaz strawberry sorbet is 8 spoons… And the list goes on. We all are likely to EXCEED this recommendation. When we up-regulate anything in the body, the body responds to down-regulate the receptor to which that substance binds. So, high insulin levels results in down regulation of insulin receptors – this is what we call insulin resistance. It’s a vicious cycle as our bodies produce more insulin to counter the reduced presence of receptors.
- To lose body fat, reduce refined and processed carbs which will in turn lower insulin and upregulate your receptors again.
- Exercise often, this reduces your insulin levels and increases your insulin receptor sensitivity
- Don’t eat after dark, we are designed to sleep when the sun sets, not to eat!
- Get enough sleep, fatigue increases ghrelin levels and increases your appetite
- Chat to your family GP about measuring your sugar and insulin levels so that they can advise you on correct supplements or medicines)
- Slowly, slowly catch the worm. Sustainable changes are the best ones to make.
Start today by reducing the number of spoons of sugar you add to your coffee or tea. Eliminate that red bull or juice. Stop drinking calories, switch to water