If you’ve been battling your weight for years without success, you’ve probably heard about diabetes and all the health issues it can cause. But what you may not know is that you can have prediabetes for many years before it becomes diabetes, and this is not a minor concern. Prediabetes can start causing serious and irreversible damage to your cardiovascular system long before it officially becomes diabetes. To prevent these risks, it is important to eat SANE foods and nutraceuticals that promote proper insulin response and that lower your setpoint weight so that you can safely and permanently lose weight.
Why lowering setpoint weight helps prevent prediabetes
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are symptoms of the same metabolic disorder. Namely, they both involve the body’s inability to use insulin properly.
Though doctors and researchers long understood the mechanism of type 2 diabetes and that it was a symptom of poor insulin usage (whether or not they understood it to be insulin resistance in the early years), they were not as quick to understand insulin’s role in obesity.
In the 1950s, researchers noted that upper body fat seemed to increase a patient’s risk of developing diabetes, kidney stones, arteriosclerosis, and gout. Researchers then conducted a study on six obese patients who had diabetes, high blood cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. After putting these patients on a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet for a time, they noted that their diabetes, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels had improved. They coined the term “metabolic” syndrome to show the association between the factors that increase the risk for diabetes.
Metabolic syndrome describes a constellation of symptoms that increases the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and related disorders.
The term “metabolic syndrome” gained widespread usage in the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1998 that American endocrinologist Gerald Reaven hypothesized that insulin resistance could be the causal link in all those symptoms. He called it “syndrome x” or “insulin-resistance syndrome.”
Lower setpoint weight, lower rates of obesity and prediabetes
It is not a surprise, then, that obesity – driven by insulin resistance — is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Indeed, both obesity and type 2 diabetes are so interrelated you’ll rarely find one without the other. According to the Centers for Disease Control, if you are obese, you have a 90 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes at some point in your lifetime. And 85 percent of diabetics are obese.
So if you want to prevent prediabetes and diabetes, lowering your setpoint weight so that you can safely and permanently lose weight is the best way to do that.
The risk of doing nothing is too awful to contemplate.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a common but dangerous health condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be identified as type 2 diabetes. There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of prediabetes. The first and often only sign is abnormal blood sugar levels.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that around 84 million (one in three) adults in the United States have prediabetes, and roughly 90 percent are unaware that they have this condition.
If you don’t know you have prediabetes, that’s a big problem. Only by making diet and lifestyle changes can you prevent its progression to full-blown type 2 diabetes. Statistics show that without making necessary adjustments to diet and lifestyle, those with prediabetes will likely develop diabetes within 10 years.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that develops when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin or when the body is unable to effectively utilize the insulin it does produce.
Health complications of diabetes
Diabetes affects every major organ system in the body. As a result, the health complications of diabetes are varied and can include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Kidney disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Skin conditions
Diabetes can ultimately kill you if blood sugar levels are not successfully managed.
Causes of prediabetes and diabetes
The two main categories of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
In most cases, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder whereby the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. As a result, those with type 1 must take insulin. The exact cause of type 1 is unknown, but researchers believe that a genetic predisposition may play a significant role. There is also some evidence that a virus or an environmental toxin may trigger it. Only 5 to 10 percent of diabetics have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body cannot use insulin properly, leading to chronically elevated blood glucose levels. As type 2 is largely a diet and lifestyle-induced disease, it can often be reversed once healthy lifestyle interventions are implemented. But if blood glucose levels are not sufficiently managed, the pancreas becomes worn out trying to keep up with ever-increasing insulin demand. In time, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas may become damaged and stop making this hormone, resulting in type 1 diabetes.
There are many factors that cause type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this disease. Some of these factors include:
- Overweight and obesity
- Family history
- Eating a regular diet of inSANE foods
Foods that can cause prediabetes and raise setpoint weight
Obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes weren’t problems 50 or 60 years ago. Almost everybody stayed naturally slim. It seemed like everybody had a fast metabolism.
And then everything changed.
For instance, the global obesity rate has doubled since 1980; the number of adults with diabetes has also doubled globally since 1980. A coincidence? Not likely, considering the interconnection between these two diseases.
What caused these twin epidemics? The short answer is that the public started consuming too many starchy carbohydrates, sugars, and processed/fast foods. Consider this:
- The number of fast-food establishments has more than doubled since 1970.
- Added sugars and solid fats make up 40 percent of the diets of 2 to 18-year-olds in the United States. Most of these calories come from soda (at the top of the list), fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk. None of these are SANE food choices, and most of them have been proven to negatively affect blood sugar levels and setpoint weight.
- A study published in Population Health Metrics found that more than one-half of the average American’s calories came from ultra-processed foods like soft drinks, cookies, doughnuts, etc. The more ultra-processed the food is, the less fiber, protein, and nutrients it contains. An inSANE food category, if ever there was one!
These inSANE foods have been proven scientifically to raise setpoint weight and to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a number of other illnesses.
Here are some foods that can spike your blood sugar levels, raise your setpoint weight, cause obesity, and increase your risk for prediabetes.
Okay, one serving of corn or a potato here and there is not going to kill you or increase your risk for prediabetes. But if you eat starchy vegetables all the time, especially when you combine them with noodles or another starch, you’re just asking for blood sugar troubles. This can send your blood sugar levels spiraling, which over time can lead to prediabetes.
SANE Tip: Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and celery are excellent choices. But be sure to add green, leafy vegetables to your plate. Kale, spinach, mixed greens, and others are superfoods that have unique nutritional properties that supercharge fat burning.
As already mentioned, eating a diet of processed foods is terrible for your setpoint weight. But what wasn’t mentioned is that it increases your risk for prediabetes and diabetes. In a Harvard School of Health meta-analysis, researchers found that eating a small amount of processed meat every day increased diabetes risk by 51 percent. Though the researchers couldn’t pinpoint the reason for this increase, one theory is that the levels of sodium and preservatives play a role.
Whatever the reason, processed foods are bad news for your diabetes risk. And we do know that eating them also raises your setpoint weight because they help create a hormonal clog. It’s best to avoid processed foods as much as possible and just prepare meals at home.
SANE Tip: Purchase foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For instance, select vegetables that you could have grown yourself (although frozen is totally fine.) Choose meats that you could hunt. What does this look like in practice?
Simply purchase fresh or frozen vegetables, and stay away from the canned versions. Purchase packages of humanely raised, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken. Those are meats you could hunt. (Buying a package of breaded chicken fingers or onions or honey mustard bbq wings does not qualify as meat you could hunt.)
Highly-processed carbohydrates are white foods with their fiber, bran, and most of their vitamins and minerals gone. Anything made with white flour, white rice, and white sugar qualifies as a highly-processed carbohydrate.
With their fiber removed, these foods are digested quickly. This means your body turns them into glucose fast and dumps it into your bloodstream. This causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. A steady diet of highly-processed carbohydrates puts a continual burden on your pancreas, and the eventual result may be pre-diabetes. Is it really worth that doughnut or pastry or piece of cake?
SANE Tip: Replace highly processed carbs with non-starchy vegetables or nutrient-dense protein. Both of these will fill you up quickly and keep you full longer. Plus, they will decrease your risk for pre-diabetes and lower your setpoint weight.
Drinking sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages are known to raise the risk of pre-diabetes and raise the setpoint weight. One of the reasons for this effect is that many of these sweetened drinks contain high-fructose corn syrup, which is metabolized by the body differently than table sugar.
When you drink a beverage containing high-fructose corn syrup, it goes to your liver, which turns it into fat and then sends the fat back into your bloodstream.
Many studies have shown that high-fructose corn syrup increases the risk of many diseases, including pre-diabetes. Not that table sugar is innocent. For instance, a 2010 study published in Diabetes Care revealed that drinking two sugary beverages a day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26 percent when compared with having less than one a month.
SANE Tip: It is best to avoid sugar-sweetened drinks whenever possible. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and if that’s too boring for you, there are a few flavorful options. For instance, you can make your own flavored water by blending water and a strawberry or a few blueberries together. It’s healthy, tasty water that won’t increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Trans fats are manufactured fats made by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Food manufacturers love using trans fats because they extend the shelf life of their products, and restaurants often use trans fats in their deep fryers because they can reuse the oil many times without it breaking down.
But trans fats have been proven to cause many health problems, including prediabetes. Trans fats can increase LDL “bad” cholesterol in the blood, a known risk factor for diabetes.
The FDA has instituted a ban against trans fats, but food manufacturers have a period of time in which to faze it out of their products. In the meantime, you are still free to eat this dangerous artificial fat.
SANE Tip: Since artificial trans fats are found in processed and fast foods, an easy way to avoid them is to avoid their sources. Turn your back on processed foods and start cooking meals at home. Shop the perimeter of the store, where you’ll find the meats and produce. (Processed junk is located in the middle aisles of the store.)
There is a SANEr way that will prevent diabetes and lower setpoint weight
Over 13,000 peer-reviewed studies have shown that SANE eating is the best way to lower your setpoint weight and reduce your risk of a number of serious diseases, including pre-diabetes.
With SANE, you’ll eat foods that fill you up quickly and keep you full. In fact, you’ll be so full of SANE foods that you couldn’t possibly have room for anything inSANE. It is a complete lifestyle change that will make you healthier and happier. Guaranteed!