If you are overweight or obese, insulin functions differently in your body than it does in healthy bodies. The extra fat tissues actually cause your body to resist the natural actions of insulin.
As you eat too many of the foods that are high on the glycemic index (those that virtually inject glucose directly into your bloodstream), your pancreas strives to keep up by producing ever-increasing amounts of insulin. This results in a flood of the hormone.
Once the insulin is in this much excess, it has nowhere to go and, slowly but surely, begins to create problems for the body, not the least of which is the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Nearly 16 million people have Type 2 Diabetes today. Shockingly, this number has increased by nearly one third in the last ten years. Now, you may think that diabetes is no big deal—that it can be easily treated with insulin or other medication. But treatment does not mean cure.
And if diabetes itself doesn’t frighten you, perhaps its possible consequences, including serious kidney damage or amputation of toes or legs, will do the trick.
Individuals who have Type 2 Diabetes are also at increased risk for developing heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Given that the glycemic index was developed specifically for individuals suffering from diabetes, it makes sense that managing your diet using the GI index can help reduce your risk of ever developing the disease.
Two Glucose Storage Locations
The body stores excess glucose in two locations: the muscles and the liver. If glycogen, a long string of glucose molecules, is stored in the muscles, your brain cannot use it. If it is stored in the liver, however, it can be broken down and sent back to the bloodstream to maintain adequate blood sugar levels for your brain.
The liver has a very limited capacity to store glycogen-derived carbohydrates. So limited, in fact, that the carbohydrates can be depleted within 10 to 12 hours. Thus, it is essential that glycogen reserves be maintained consistently.
But what happens when you eat too many carbohydrates? The average person can store between 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates in the muscles, where, unfortunately, they become inaccessible for any future use by your body.
Elevated glucose levels are serious. Even if the levels don’t rise high enough to be classified as diabetes, the glucose can still interfere with the proper functioning of your body’s processes.
Scientists are just now recognizing that a combination of symptoms work together to warn you of the future possible development of diabetes in your body. These symptoms are known collectively as Metabolic X Syndrome, and can include the following:
• Elevated blood pressure
• Elevated level of triglycerides
• Low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – the good cholesterol
• Resistance to insulin
All of these conditions work closely together. Metabolic X Syndrome is a stunning example of how the bodies’ processes are all interdependent.
For one thing, increased insulin raises your triglycerides levels, creating a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Excess insulin also impedes the functioning of the kidneys, which can lead to high blood pressure.