Any heart disease in your family? Do you have any kind of heart or artery disease? Odds are really good because cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in America. And maybe you are kinda worried about that heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm. So maybe you would like to avoid that.
While most of us would be concerned about our heart, we aren’t nearly as concerned about diabetes. As far as we know people may be getting fat but they aren’t dying from diabetes so why worry? Here is the news. The usual path to diabetes and cardiovascular disease are one and the same; both are the result of high insulin levels in the blood.
What is insulin?
When we eat food with sugar in it (which is absolutely everything that grows out of the ground) insulin is released from our pancreas to move that sugar out of the blood stream and into our body cells for energy or into storage (body fat). It’s All About the Food explains this process pretty clearly.
People have been eating plant food for a very long time. Unfortunately we aren’t eating much whole food out of the garden these days. Instead we get our sugar in processed food in sacks, boxes, jars, etc from either our grocery store or fast food restaurants. The amount of sugar in this processed food is extreme. Consequently we eat way more sugar than is required for energy and we end up with a lot of stored sugar in the form of body fat.
Let me tell you about my friend Jeff. From early childhood his diet consisted largely of macaroni and cheese, french fries, pizza, bread in any form, chips, pancakes with syrup, twinkies, etc. Jeff’s mother was not fond of cooking. The amount of sugar in his diet was extraordinary and the amount of insulin required to get that sugar out of his blood was eventually more than his pancreas could produce. In other words, he transitioned from continuous levels of high insulin to not enough insulin. And of course he was obese.
All the time that Jeff’s insulin levels were high, his vascular system was being damaged. He had his first heart attack before he was diagnosed diabetic. Turns out this is not a unique situation. It is the high insulin levels prior to diabetes diagnosis that do the damage. Diabetes is invariably diagnosed based on blood sugar measurements and not insulin levels. Blood sugar is cheap and easy to measure. Insulin not so much.
This insulin thing is really not new news although it is only now getting a lot of press. But eventually I discovered it. I did not find very narrow, specific studies that proved unequivocally that insulin was the bad guy in cardiovascular (or any other disease). Actually the finger was most commonly pointed at high blood sugar with diagnosed diabetes or high cholesterol or fat. So it seems it kinda depends on what we decide to study.
I discovered recently some very old research (back before research funding was so hard to come by) that essentially proves the insulin consequences on cardiovascular and many other diseases. It shows perfectly clearly what happens to insulin levels in the development of diabetes and how that correlates directly to heart disease.
Here is a link to a youtube video describing the research by Dr. Joseph R. Kraft, MD MS MCAP. It also includes an interview with Dr. Kraft, a pathologist now in his nineties. Dr Kraft is the author of “Diabetes Epidemic and You.” I regret missing this book early on because reading it would have saved me a lot of time.
The quote in the title of this blog is Dr. Kraft’s. “Those with cardiovascular disease not identified with diabetes…are simply undiagnosed.” Insulin levels and cardio damage move in lock step.
The entire video is a bit long but the upfront slideshow summary of the important points with simple graphs takes only a couple of minutes. However, your questions may be the same as mine.
- What possible excuse can there be for such a medical and nutritional disconnect to exist?
- How is it possible that an element so critical to cardiovascular health has simply been ignored in medical guidance?
You will be interested in how the interview addresses those question. Consider watching it all.
My book, Its All About the Food, Where the American Diet Went Wrong, Why That Matters to You, and What You Can Do About It is specifically intended to show folks why their diet is so important and to give simply direction on how to correct it. Because it is obvious that failure to manage blood insulin levels has deadly consequences, the time to fix the problem is before it starts. Click on the book name to order your copy from Amazon.