There is an epidemic that the U.S., in fact the whole world is facing. This epidemic is obesity and diabetes. A report done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) back in January 2012 stated that the U.S. had more than one-third of adults and almost 17 percent of children of which were considered to be overweight or obese. In 2010, the CDC also reported that over 11 percent of adults (aged 20 years or older) currently have been diagnosed or undiagnosed with diabetes and over one-third of the adult U.S. population has pre-diabetic symptoms.
Poor diets and lack of exercise or activity are mainly parts of the reasoning behind the rising rates of obesity, leading many of us to become less and less sensitive to our own insulin, the hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood glucose levels. This insensitivity to insulin is a major factor in the rising rates of diabetes.
Nearly 90 percent of the carbohydrates consumed by both adults and children in the U.S. and Canada today are high glycemic. These foods include bread, flour, rice, cereals and potatoes and actually spike our blood sugar faster than if we were spooning sugar on to our tongue. This rapid rise in blood sugar causes tremendous inflammation and spasm of our arteries. Over time, it causes our arterial walls to thicken, making it very difficult for insulin to pass from the blood stream into the cell to transport glucose. The body compensates for this situation by making more insulin in order to push it across this thickened arterial wall.
As blood insulin levels rise, your blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels all begin to increase, while the good HDL cholesterol drops, eventually leading to diabetes. What most individuals don’t realize is that when you tip over into this abnormal metabolic state, the body is not able to utilize calories normally and, instead of utilizing the calories from any meal or snack as energy, many of the calories are now diverted to be stored in fat cells of the body. As long as you are in this abnormal metabolic state, referred to as the metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes, it’s much harder to lose weight.
The American Medical Association recently classified obesity as a disease, making the term “epidemic” all the more relevant. In order to improve the quality of life for our children and ourselves, we must begin making drastic life-style choices when it comes to the food we eat and our recreational habits. Eating healthy foods, participating in even mild aerobic activity and consuming quality nutritional supplements can significantly improve our insulin sensitivity and retrain our bodies to a normal metabolic state.