DIABESITY AS AN ENERGY CRISIS
Do you recall the energy crisis of the late 1970’s, when hundreds of cars were backed up for hours at the gas station? Some of the cars ran out gas and were abandoned in the street. Sometimes, the gas station itself ran out of gas. This is what is happening in your body if you are low on energy because of Diabesity. We think that if we run out of energy, we need to eat more food, but that would be an oversimplification. This is why so many of us feel drowsy after a huge Thanksgiving dinner! One would think that all that food would give us amazing energy. If the calories were the key to having enough energy, then we should have enough energy to run a marathon a few hours after a 5000-calorie Thanksgiving meal. Besides, when we overeat, our bodies store away most of the calories that we consume as body fat, and so we feel tired as a result, especially if we have Metabolic Syndrome, which is a marker for Diabesity. Patients who present with Metabolic Syndrome are characterized by markers such as central adiposity (belly fat), high blood sugar and blood pressure, and dyslipidemia (high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol).
So then, where do we get our energy from?
Fats, protein and carbohydrates? No, those are all merely building blocks of energy. To go back to the car analogy, those macronutrients are what biochemistry refers to as “energy substrates”, they are the body’s equivalent of crude oil. We cannot fuel our cars with crude oil, only refined gasoline. So what is the body’s equivalent of refined gasoline? A wonderful enzyme called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), often called the “molecular unit of currency of intracellular energy. ATP has two partners: a sugar manufactured by the body called D-Ribose and another enzyme called Co-Q10. When all 3 of these co-factors are sufficient in the body, they can do their job of delivering clean-burning fuel to our mitochondria, the “engines of energy” within our cells, which has little to do with how many calories we are consuming on any given day. ATP can be made from fats or glucose derived from carbohydrates and protein. It can also be manufactured from our stored body fat (if our insulin level is low) or even our muscle mass if we starve ourselves, which is not a good thing, especially since we trying to hold on to our muscle mass as we grow older! As for D-Ribose and Co-Q10, which most of us become deficient in as we age, both can be replenished with supplementation. We carry pharmaceutical-grade versions of both of these products, please see hyperlinks below.
These concepts may be a bit complex to wrap our mind around, but it is an undeniable truth that the organic machinery that is you is an incredibly complex mechanism. We are not steam engines completely bound by the laws of thermodynamics. The principle of counting calories is an outdated paradigm from decades ago that our most advanced researchers have now revealed as absolutely flawed. It is certainly true that the gratuitous overconsumption of calories can rob us of energy and increase the girth of our waistline, but that is not because of the calories itself, it is because they are causing our pancreas to overproduce insulin, which is our body’s fat storage hormone. What we should all be counting is our carbohydrates, because they raise insulin the most significantly and encourage the accumulation of body fat, which is primarily what robs us of energy and impedes our ability to make ATP. Carbohydrates inhibit our body’s ability to access our fat stores as fuel, once again due to the role of insulin in energy metabolism. And so we have come full circle in our discussion of energy. It really is all about the ATP! As specialists in Functional Medicine, we are trained to help you increase your energy levels naturally and healthily, instead of the fake “crash-and-burn energy” that you get from processed refined sugars and products such as the “5 Hour Energy” drink.
We will teach you how to access fat as your body’s primary energy substrate, which will turn you into a human version of a lean mean full electric vehicle that would never have had to sit in a long line of cars waiting hours to fuel up at a gas station back in 1978! So the decision is entirely yours to make. Would you rather be a giant gas-guzzling Lincoln Continental or a sleek pure electric vehicle such as the new Mercedes-Benz B Class?