If you happened to miss yesterday’s eye-opening article on ‘whether carbohydrates make you fat’, then pop over to The MAN Cave to check this out too… it puts a few myths to bed.
Onto the question at hand… Do carbohydrates cause Diabetes?
Well let’s take a quick look at what we already know around diet and Diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Two forms of Diabetes exist, Type I and Type II, both of which involve the inability of insulin to do its job i.e. unlock our bodies tissue (organs, muscle etc) to enable glucose to enter to deliver energy (broadly speaking).
Insulin acts like a key, in Type I Diabetes insulin (the key) has been lost, or the factory is no longer manufacturing it meaning we cannot produce insulin at all, meaning glucose is unable to travel from our blood supply and enter the working tissue that needs it for fuel. In Type II Diabetes the key no longer ‘fits the lock’, so insulin is still being manufactured but the shape is all wrong and thus, glucose still cannot get to the working tissue for energy.
Take Type I Diabetes, you are born with the condition, therefore this quashes the ‘Carbs cause Diabetes’ theory right away. So for the sake of the remainder of this post we will refer to Type II Diabetes only.
So What does this mean?
The consequence of Diabetes of any kind is basically high levels of blood sugar, low energy to the working tissue, poor absorption of vital nutrients and most of the time, weight loss and failure to thrive. If it is poorly controlled for a period of time, the outcome can be severe morbidity and death (if you have Diabetes don’t stress, it is easily managed with appropriate guidance and support by a Dietitian and Specialist Nurse).
OK, so there is a lot more to it than just that, but that is a whistle stop tour.
Where do carbs come into this?
Glucose is your bodies main and preferred energy source, and we mainly get glucose from…carbohydrate. You can also get it from glucogenic amino acids such as Valine for example, but mainly we get it from carbohydrates such as potato, rice, oats, fruit, some veg and dairy (if we eat mostly healthily).
Unfortunately, a large portion of the world’s population get the majority of their carbs from refined sources such as bread, pasta, noodles, and worse still, French fries, chocolate, sweets, ice-cream etc.
So yes, if the majority of your diet consists of these types of carbs then it might be fair to say that carbs contributed quite heavily to a person’s diabetes diagnosis.
However, this is tarring all carbs with the same brush, and that simply isn’t fair, especially when you consider that French fries, chocolate and ice-cream come with plenty of fat and additives too!
So what actually causes Diabetes?
A number of factors including genetics and family history, epigenetics and environment, ethnicity, age, diet and more…so not just carbohydrates then, no?
Of course not. In fact, one of the main contributors and predictors of diabetes onset is OBESITY. Yes, many people develop diabetes without being overweight too, but there are other factors to consider too (as mentioned above).
Being overweight is the main predictor of diabetes, and as we know from yesterday’s Daily MANtra, carbs do not make you fat, too many calories do! You can get too many calories from a number of sources, not just carbs.
If you know that the main cause of weight gain for you is carbs in the form of sugar dense foods and soda’s, then there’s a good chance carbs contributed to your development of diabetes. If you know that you over consume fast food and processed junk, then chances are the trans fats, refined carbs (processed carbs) and preservatives in them is the main contributor.
It really isn’t one food group in isolation guys…poor old carbohydrate!
So considering diabetes is defined by high blood sugar levels, it is worth considering this closing fact…
High saturated and, particularly, high trans-fat (man-made crap) in the diet can cause high circulating levels of fat in the bloodstream. This fat can build up inside the muscle cells, creating damaging and volatile ‘free radicals’ that block the insulin signalling process (remember the key not fitting the lock analogy).
Therefore, this high fat intake and consequent fat in the blood and muscle (known as intramyocellular lipid) means the insulin can’t do its job!
This is known as insulin resistance, and prolonged insulin resistance is basically diabetes.
So if you want to point the finger at anything guys, point it at man-made junk food that delivers too much sugar and fat, increases inflammation, increases internal fat stores and ultimately increases the risk of diabetes.
If you need help demystifying the mystery that is ‘healthy eating’, then get the support and direction you need on my MANtra Diet Reset Programme.
What to eat, when to eat it and how much to have. DONE.