All experts agree that sugar overconsumption is a driver in so many diseases because too much sugar causes insulin resistance, and sugar overconsumption and insulin resistance contribute to obesity.
Insulin, you see, is key, and we mean that literally.
Insulin — a hormone produced in the pancreas in response to glucose — is a metabolic key that unlocks our cells in order to allow glucose in the bloodstream to enter, be used for energy and power our metabolism.
Insulin resistance develops, over time, when our bodies get overwhelmed with too much sugar and carbs, causing our cells to go into defense mode and to ignore insulin’s unlock “requests,” which spikes our blood sugar levels and leads us down the road to chronic disease.
Insulin resistance can bring on metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome, sometimes called Syndrome X, affects 47 million Americans and is marked by elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat and unhealthy levels of either LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or ”bad” cholesterol) or triglycerides.
Metabolic syndrome boosts your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes — also called diabetes mellitus — your cells become resistant to insulin and your pancreas can’t make enough insulin to overcome this resistance.
Instead of being able to go into your cells, where it's needed for energy, sugar builds up in the bloodstream.
If we don’t do anything to combat it, insulin resistance — along with its partners in crime, obesity and physical inactivity — often leads to pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Pre-diabetes, which affects 84 million Americans, is the stage right before diabetes, when blood sugar levels are almost, but not quite, high enough to “graduate” our insulin resistance to full-blown diabetes.