I’m quasi-paleo and refuse to take statins. Any advice?
NPR: … The Afghan soldiers, police and civilians he treated in Kandahar had radically different bodies from those of the Canadians he took care of back home.
“Typical Afghan civilians and soldiers would have been 140 pounds or so as adults. And when we operated on them, what we were aware of was the absence of any fat or any adipose tissue underneath the skin,” Patterson says. “Of course, when we operated on Canadians or Americans or Europeans, what was normal was to have most of the organs encased in fat. It had a visceral potency to it when you could see it directly there.”
… “Type 2 diabetes historically didn’t exist, only 70 or 80 years ago,” says Patterson. “And what’s driven it, of course, is this rise in obesity, especially the accumulation of abdominal fat. That fat induces changes in our receptors that cells have for insulin. Basically, it makes them numb to the effect of insulin.”
For a long time, the human body can compensate — the pancreas secretes even larger amounts of insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. But over time, the pancreas begins to fail to secrete enough insulin, and that is when diabetes develops.
He explains that the increase in abdominal fat has driven the epidemic of diabetes over the last 40 years in the developed world — and that he’s now seeing similar patterns in undeveloped regions that have adapted Western eating patterns.
See also the essay below.
Maisonneuve: … Excessive fattiness is precisely why, when caring for the critically ill in North America, glucose levels are tightly controlled with insulin—a procedure necessary even for those not thought to be diabetic. Stressed by the infection, or the operation that has brought us to the intensive care unit, our sugar levels rise, paralyzing our white blood cells and nourishing the bacteria chewing upon them. But it was never necessary to give the Afghans insulin, no matter how shattered they were.
Among North American adults, 40 percent of us maintain normal glucose levels only by secreting larger than normal quantities of insulin from our pancreas. So we wander in and out of our family doctors’ offices and, if some blood work is done, we are reassured that our glucose levels are normal, that we don’t have diabetes. Mostly, they are and mostly, we don’t. But our bodies are not normal. The Afghans’ bodies are normal. We are so commonly ill we take it to be normal.
Here is our normal: 40 percent of North American adults have metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is caused by being fat, even at levels North Americans would not recognize as abnormal. Obesity prompts the receptors that insulin acts upon to become numb to its effects. As we grow fatter, and insulin resistance proceeds, higher and higher levels of insulin are necessary to get the sugar out of the blood. Eventually, overt diabetes may supervene, as it has for 8 percent of North American adults, a tenfold increase since the turn of the last century. But even prior to the development of diabetes, metabolic syndrome insidiously eats away at the bodies of those it affects.
Metabolic syndrome’s elevated insulin level is why we order a second Whopper; getting fatter, cruelly, stimulates our appetite. It is also why high blood pressure is more common among Westerners, too, and why our cholesterol panels are more alarming. Ultimately and especially, it is why heart attacks are almost unknown among traditional peoples like the Pashtun, while half of us will spend our last minutes with the impression that a large kitchen appliance is sitting on our chests.