I remember being skinny when I was five years old. In the bathroom I could look down and see my chest, my thighs, my knees, and my feet, all in one glance. My mom couldn’t do that – she had about fifty extra pounds around her stomach. I had no idea that the genetic hammer of insulin resistance would strike me within just a few years.
Now I am in my thirties and I’m finally back to a normal weight again. It took me this long to identify excess insulin as the main cause of obesity in my entire family tree. I had changed my diet a year ago to reduce carbohydrates (which meant that my insulin production dropped too) and the weight just started slipping off.
I found out that I had early diabetic symptoms through the relief of these symptoms. I had been drinking 12+ cups of water a day and after changing my diet, my thirst reduced to a normal ~8 cups. The intense hunger pangs (just an hour or two after eating a meal!) stopped. My blood pressure lowered and my A1C test (a measure of high blood sugar over time) slid to the middle of the normal range. Ironically, even though I was fat, tired, hungry, and having the beginning symptoms of type 2 diabetes, I had not yet gone far enough over the line for my doctor to mention metabolic syndrome, let alone a diabetes diagnosis.
Metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and body type
By reading Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, I found that high amounts of insulin in my body causes intense hunger and fat storage. People with great genetics have an ideal response to carbohydrates – their body releases enough insulin to digest the carbs and then quickly reduces insulin to a normal level. But most people don’t have great insulin genetics. Most people start becoming “insulin resistant” as they age. This means that when they eat carbohydrates, their body releases insulin, but then it sticks around in the blood stream because the body can’t use it normally. The calories from the food go directly to fat storage and hunger signals are sent to the brain.
Insulin resistance progresses over time until the symptoms are so severe that the person is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes… ten or twenty years after the problem started.
If this sounds like you – if your family tends toward overweight – and you are unreasonably hungry despite eating recently – consider that you might be suffering from early metabolic syndrome. Check out Dr. Bernstein’s book, reduce carbohydrate consumption, and measure whether this is an improvement for your body. Your physician should be willing to order quarterly blood tests so you can get a quantitative analysis, or you can simply watch your weight, your blood pressure, and your quality of life for an answer.