Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, affecting nearly 29 million Americans, yet many are controlling or even reversing the condition with the core pillars of a primal lifestyle.
Championed by Mark Sisson, the primal lifestyle aims to control the way genes express themselves by utilizing the concepts of evolutionary biology. Through a combination of activity and a specific diet, adherents to the primal blueprint attempt to build the strongest and leanest bodies they possibly can, a concept which has a very real impact on type 2 diabetes.
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Through a complicated series of biological processes, people suffering from type 2 diabetes become insulin-resistant, leaving high levels of glucose and insulin in their blood stream, which leads to systemic inflammation. When excess carbohydrates consumed as part of a modern diet are converted to glucose and stored in the body as saturated fat, a cycle begins that eventually exhausts the pancreas, preventing it from producing insulin that the body needs, but that a diabetic is increasingly resistant to.
The primal blueprint is, in many ways, perfectly tailored to counter the nutritional deficits and inactivity that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Activity and exercise form a core pillar of the primal lifestyle, which has a major impact on improving insulin sensitivity by burning off glycogen in the muscles. This causes the body to “up-regulate” insulin receptors, speeding up the process that allows glucose to be absorbed into muscle tissue.
Another cornerstone of a primal lifestyle is cutting back on carbohydrate intake, something that has a dramatic impact on diabetes. According to Sisson, refined sugars are enormously stressful on the body, triggering a genetic susceptibility in those prone to developing diabetes.
“The entire mainstream argument boils down to this: sugar does not cause diabetes; it’s genetic. I couldn’t agree more. I would simply say that our shared genetic susceptibility to insulin resistance, inflammation, cardiovascular disease and obesity shows that any sort of refined sugar or grain is the last thing humans should be eating. Our genetic ‘primal blueprint’ indicates that we are not meant to consume sugar.”
Instead of obtaining 60 percent of your caloric intake from carbohydrates, Sisson advocates making fresh vegetables the base of a primal food pyramid. Healthy animal fats and protein also form a core component of the primal diet, providing the nutrition and biological building blocks that refined sugars lack.
With an ever-growing list of success stories, Sisson’s primal lifestyle is providing a glimmer of hope to those with type 2 diabetes, giving them the option of a future without insulin dependency.
[Image via Mark’s Daily Apple]