There is an epidemic afoot called Type-II diabetes.
You can tell it is an epidemic because we are now seeing it starting in increasing numbers at younger ages, even in children. It is a primary cause of disability and death among the aged. It is not that we are catching some viral-induced genetic plague – it is an eating disorder. A disorder that results in a gradual progression toward, first, Leptin Resistance, with reduced metabolic activity and energy production, second, malfunction of the insulin signaling system and insulin resistance, and third, the ultimate failure of the pancreas to continue producing insulin and full-blown diabetes. Finally, elevated blood sugar and continually high blood levels of injected insulin age the body at an accelerating rate until some major system fails, typically seen as heart/vascular disease, auto-immune diseases, vision loss, amputations or kidney/liver failure.

How do you make sure you get this outcome? Here is a sure-fire way: Consistently eat too much at any one time and eat too often.
Every time we eat too much, exceeding the calories required for current energy production needs, the surplus is stored; some as glycogen in muscle cells, but far more is stored as fat. Over time, this increased fat releases more leptin and raises inflammation levels throughout the body, a process which leads to ‘Leptin Resistance’. Leptin, a hormone produced by white fat cells, is the master regulatory hormone that controls metabolism. In a famine, leptin levels fall as fat is lost, and to save the body from death, this drop is sensed by the hypothalamus and down-regulates thyroid function to slow metabolism to a crawl; leptin is the primary famine survival hormone. ‘Leptin Resistance’ is a state where there are high levels of the hormone leptin in the blood (because of our ample body fat), but several factors prevent it from reaching its primary appetite control sensor in the brain, the hypothalamus. The result is that while the body has plenty of stored fat, the brain thinks we are starving, and ramps up our appetite, particularly urging us to eat more carbohydrates for a perceived boost in energy, while shutting down metabolism to keep us from the famine perceived by our brain. .

At the same time, our bodies, which in a healthy, youthful state produce at least 75% of their energy at rest from burning fat, and only 25% from burning glucose, start shifting toward burning glucose as a primary fuel. This shift results in decreased energy production, first because the storage capacity of the body for carbohydrate energy is limited, and second, because burning glucose, for most of the body’s cells, is less efficient than burning fats. This is the cluster of complaints experienced by nearly all overweight people; the body hangs on to fat for dear life, it screams for more food all the time, and it feels drained of energy, worsening with age.

The best way to hurry this along is to eat too frequently.
For many years, weight-loss gurus have been telling us to eat every 3-4 hours, as a means to suppress appetite and eliminate overwhelming cravings to gorge at the next meal. This author adhered to this approach for about 40 years. I was told to eat this way as a means of overcoming hypoglycemia; bouts of very low blood sugar brought on by eating too many carbohydrates at any one time. The problem is that, while I stayed very fit in terms of low body fat and very good muscle structure through regular exercise, and proper diet focused on real food, I was developing all the symptoms of metabolic syndrome; rising blood sugar and blood pressure, increasing LDL cholesterol, low HDL, dropping testosterone, high C-Reactive Protein (a marker of vascular inflammation), etc. Eventually I developed severe coronary artery disease, requiring a quad-bypass operation at the age of 61. So, while a person might actually see a short-term weight loss from better appetite control, long-term use of this strategy pushes one toward type-II diabetes.

Why does this occur?
When you eat a meal, it takes about 3 hours for digestion, and during that process the pancreas produces a wave of insulin to shuttle the nutrients into the cells of the body, then insulin falls toward very low levels in a healthy person. As insulin drops, glucagon, a hormone output by the pancreas, rises, ordering fat cells to start breaking down triglycerides, releasing fatty acids and glycogen into the blood stream. The fatty acids are transported throughout the body bound to the protein albumin for local energy production. Both glycogen and fatty acids are reprocessed by the liver, to release a steady supply of blood sugar, primarily to supply fuel for the brain, and acetoacetates (basically ketones) for energy production in many other tissues. In other words, your liver is supposed to feed you with fuel between meals and make sure you have the right amount to function well

Here is the takeaway lesson:
If we eat again in 3-4 hours, we completely shut down the burning of fat for energy; leptin is held at elevated levels, insulin is not allowed to fall to baseline levels, fat cannot be broken down for energy and the march toward metabolic syndrome and type-II diabetes is underway. This process can take decades or more if one is exercising regularly, sleeping well and managing stress well. But for the average American, burning the candle at both ends, the decline into type-II diabetes can go much faster. We now see this increasingly evident in our overeating, soft drink-swilling, overweight, diabetic teenagers.

The best approach to avoiding this decline with age is to eat in harmony with leptin, by eating no more than three meals a day, with a 5-6 hour fast between meals (no snacks period – drink plenty of water when hunger surfaces) and eat nothing after dinner to get an 11-12 hour minimum overnight fast so the body can burn fat all night long. Eating lots of those so-called ‘clean-burning’ carbs is absolutely wrong for controlling blood sugar and minimizing fat storage. So, reduce grains and starchy vegetables in favor of fibrous, above-ground vegetables as the primary staple of diet. Eat seafoods, grass fed meats, free-range poultry and eggs, tree nuts, natural cheese and butter in reasonable quantities, with extra-virgin (unrefined) oils and spices for most the diet. Avoid hydrogenated fats like the plague. Our primary source of nutrition must be real foods, not the junk found in the isle-after-isle center section of your supermarket. Stick with the real foods found against the outside walls, and space out your feedings to let the liver maintain proper function for life. For more detail and persuasive evidence for eating this way, I suggest further study with Byron Richards, the leading authority on Leptin at his website Wellness Sign up for his weekly emails and podcasts for a graduate-level understanding of how eating is the master control of our long-term health.

Good Living – Frank

Author's Bio: 

Frank Wilhelmi of chronicles strategies for staying healthy and fit into advanced age. He is an electronic engineer by trade, but his passion is teaching others to lead healthy, vibrant, pain-free, activity-filled lives.