Here is the 3rd of a 3-part series (℅ Dr. Gregor of www.nutritionfacts.org) on the mechanics of Type II diabetes and Insulin Resistance. You can read the 1st article at www.purehomeopathy.me/2015/10/what-causes-insulin-resistance-part-i. The link to the 2nd article: http://purehomeopathy.me/2015/11/what-causes-insulin-resistance-part-ii/ .
BTW: My 7 year-old had her very first dentist appointment this morning. I’m not sure she really believed that the Tooth Fairy has a special room in the clinic, but she sure played along. She got a really cool light-it-up toothbrush and a whistle. I remember when all I got was a boring toothbrush (green or red?) and a ring. Sigh…
Diagnosis: perfect teeth, gums, and jaw. Funny how all the medical professionals who see her mention how unusually healthy (physically and mentally) she is. Not bad for the lowly placebo. And a WFPS diet. And lots of sleep. Not that anything like that matters…
HOW SATURATED FAT RAISES BLOOD SUGAR
The association between fat and insulin resistance is now widely accepted, so-called ectopic fat accumulation, the accumulation of fat in places it’s not supposed to be within our muscle cells. But not all fats affect the muscles the same. The type of fat, saturated or unsaturated, is critical. Saturated fats like palmitate (found mostly in meat, dairy and eggs) cause insulin resistance. Oleate (found mostly in nuts, olives, and avocados) may actually improve insulin sensitivity.
What makes saturated fat bad? Saturated fat causes more of toxic breakdown products and mitochondrial dysfunction, increases oxidative stress free radicals and inflammation, thus establishing a vicious cycle of events in which saturated fat-induced free radicals cause dysfunction in the little power plants within our muscle cells, which causes an increase in free production and impairment of insulin signalling. [Everything crystal clear?]
Fat cells filled with saturated fat activate an inflammatory response to a far greater extent [than non-saturated fat]. This increased inflammation, along with eating more saturated fat, has been demonstrated to raise insulin resistance through free radical and ceramide production. Saturated fat also has been shown to have a direct effect on skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Accumulation of saturated far increases the amount of diacyl- glycerol in the muscles, which has been demonstrated to have a potent effect on muscle insulin resistance. It doesn’t matter if the fat in our blood comes from our fat, or their [animals’] fat.
You can take muscle biopsies from people and correlate the saturated fat buildup in their muscles with insulin resistance.
While monounsaturated fats are more likely to be detoxified or safely stored away, saturated fats create those toxic breakdown products like ceramide that causes lipotoxicity. Lipo (meaning fat, as in liposuction) + toxicity = lipotoxcicity. This fat toxicity in our muscles is a well-known concept in the explanation of trigger for insulin resistance.
I’ve talked about the role saturated and trans-fats contribute to the progression of other diseases, like autoimmune diseases, cancer, and heart disease, but they can also cause insulin resistance, the underlying cause of prediabetes and Type II diabetes. In the human diet, saturated fats are derived from animal sources while trans-fats originate in meat and milk, in addition to partially hydrogenated and refined vegetable oils.
That’s why experimentally shifting people from animal fats to plant fats can improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity was impaired on the diet with added butterfat but not on the diet with added olive fat.
We know prolonged exposure of our muscles to high levels of fat leads to severe insulin resistance, with saturated fats demonstrated to be the worst. But [the high levels of saturated fat] doesn’t just lead to inhibition of insulin signalling. The activation of inflammatory pathways and the increase in free radicals cause an alteration in gene expression leading to a suppression of key mitochondrial enzymes like carnitine palmitoyltransferase, which finally solves the mystery of why those eating vegetarian have a 60% higher expression of that fat burning enzyme. They’re eating less saturated fat.
So do those eating plant-based diets have less fat clogging their muscles and less insulin resistance too? There hasn’t been any data available regarding the insulin sensitivity or inside muscle cell fat of those eating vegan or vegetarian… until now.
Researchers at the Imperial College of London compared the insulin resistance and muscle fat of vegans vs omnivores. Now those eating plant-based diets have the unfair advantage of being so much slimmer, so they found omnivores who were as skinny as vegans to see if plant-based diets had a direct benefit, as opposed to indirectly pulling fat out of the muscles by helping people lose weight in general.
They found 1) significantly less fat trapped in the muscle cells of vegans compared to omnivores at the same body weight, 2) better insulin sensitivity, 3) better blood sugar levels, 4) better insulin levels and, excitingly, 5) significantly improved beta-cell function, the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. They conclude that eating vegan is not only expected to be cardioprotective, helping prevent our #1 killer, heart disease, but that veganism is beta-cell protective as well, helping also to prevent our seventh leading cause of death: diabetes.
[ES: I don’t advocate a vegan diet. Veganism is a spiritual practice, not a way of eating. I advocate a WFPS diet – Whole Foods Plant Strong with no more than 10% animal protein (3 small servings a week) and little-to-no added fat. This is in line with Dr. Swank’s research and his spectacular results with patients with MS.]
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D Estadella, C M da Penha Oller do Nascimento, L M Oyama, E B Ribeiro, A R Damaso, A de Piano. Lipotoxicity: effects of dietary saturated and transfatty acids. Mediators Inflamm. 2013; Epub 2013 Jan 31.
G Perseghin, P Scifo, F De Cobelli, E Pagliato, A Battezzati, C Arcelloni, A Vanzulli, G Testolin, G Pozza, A Del Maschio, L Luzi. Intramyocellular triglyceride content is a determinant of in vivo insulin resistance in humans: a 1H-13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy assessment in offspring of type 2 diabetic parents. Diabetes. 1999 Aug;48(8):1600-6.
B Vessby, M Uusitupa, K Hermansen, G Riccardi, AA Rivellese, L C Tapsell, C Nalsen, L Berglund, A Louheranta, B M Rasmussen, G D Calvert, A Maffetone, E Pedersen, I B Gustafsson, L H Storlien, KANWU Study. Substituting dietary saturated for monounsaturated fat impairs insulin sensitivity in healthy men and women: The KANWU Study. Diabetologia. 2001 Mar;44(3):312-9.