Graces by Rubens

Why do we even get Fat?

Have you ever been wondering: why do we get fat if it’s bad for our health. What’s wrong with the evolution? Why do we crave these sweet things? Why is it so unfair?! Waah!!

Well, keep reading and it might make some sense in the end.

Big fat lie.

“All calories count. No matter where they come from.”  © Coca-Cola ads
“Calories don’t make you fat. Insulin does.”   © Any Keto group 

Here are two statements. 
First is factually true and was probably carefully crafted by a team of lawyers. And is useless as such.
The second one is actually not 100% right. But right enough to make people think, follow and change their lives for better. 

So if you remember anything from this article,  remember  this:
avoid  “calorie is a calorie” trap and keep you insulin under control. 

But what makes your insulin spike and why do we need it in the first place?

Blood Sugar & Insulin

So what’s the deal with insulin and blood glucose?   Is sugar really bad for you?

Well, simply put, as many other things in human biology, blood glucose follows an U curve.  There is an optimal value to keep your red blood cells, kidney and brain functioning.  And not enough sugar will starve them. 
But give your bloodstream too much sugar and it will turn into, drum roll,  syrup! 
As you can guess, the whole “plumbing” system of your veins and arteries starts to get clogged and suffers greatly.

Hemoglobin A1c test answers the question of how “sticky” ( glycated) you blood is. If yours is over 5% it’s really the high time (pun intended) to put brakes on Doritos. 

Thanks God/Evolution we have Insulin.  It gets released by the pancreas and stuffs sugar from the bloodstream into the short storage (liver and muscles) and extras go into the adipose tissue on your sides. This keeps your blood flowing and creates extra energy sources for emergencies like running from a tiger or a food shortage. 
But if none of that happens your  fat depots also gets overfilled and start to resist insulin push. 

If you keep pushing long enough, then like in a “Boy and the Woolf” story, your cells starts to ignore insulin’s call and become insulin resistant. 
There is an argument what comes first: diabetes or insulin resistance. But when your liver is failing because it’s started to accumulate fat, it’s not really that important if it was “chicken or an egg”. 


Here we can make a small detour and mention:

– Diabetes I.
Your body fails to produce insulin and dies (before the invention of external insulin in 1920’s by Frederick Banting and Charles Best) by sugar poisoning. 

– Diabetes II.
You “teach” your body to ignore insulin, so bigger and bigger doses are required, usually driving the body into a downward spiral. And if an extra weight by itself is not bad enough, it also throws into chaos other body systems.  (thyroid, glucagon control, growth hormones etc.)

– Diabetes III :
That’s what they start to call Alzheimer’s. In short, it’s another side effect of insulin resistance. In long, it’s a topic for another post.


How did it come to this? Why do we even get fat?  The answer is quite simple. To survive. 

Graces by Rubens

Even today ¼ of the population of Earth (~2 Billion) is suffering from hunger and about 8 millions die each year.

Malthusian dilemma dated 1798 (the one Darwin has based his survival of the fittest upon) postulates that humans procreate until they run into hunger.
And it was always the case. If you look back into any time before the industrial revolution,  an ability to convert as many calories as possible into internal body fat,  would be indispensable to survive the next drought or cold winter. A super power you might say. Just look at these Graces by Rubens.
They will survive the long night.  

And thus your body loves fat. It doesn’t know about 24/7 supermart.  But it knows about famine through millennia of bad experience. Any chance to get fatter gets rewarded by your “monkey” brain. It happily trades your long term health for the better chances of the short term survival. 
Now add to this that fat cells have an 8 years life turnover and like any bad tenants create mess and don’t what to leave…
How can we deal with it!?

What to do

What used to be the survival advantage for the longest time is turning into a modern curse. But hopefully with the better understanding of the process you can turn on a “smart-monkey” mode and think before you eat. An awareness is the first step to success.

  • Avoid liquid carbs (soda, juice, beer etc), they are the quickest to absorb and highest to spike
  • Avoid overly processed foods, they also spike glucose and usually devoid of nutrients
  • Stay away (if you can) from simple carbs especially in the evening, when you are most insulin resistant
  • Upkeep big muscles, to have extra reserves for blood glucose
  • Explore ketogenic diet if not as a lifestyle, but as a tool
  • Introduce controlled “famine” to compensate for overeating.  Look into Intermittent fasting or actual water fasting.

Final note

There isn’t such a thing as an essential carbohydrate. Your body produces the required glucose from the consumed fats and proteins.  But it doesn’t mean you should avoid all carbs.  Greens and roots are amazing as fiber and vitamin sources and as it happens don’t shoot your blood glucose through the roof. 

And if you are going to have your cake, make sure that you pause for a moment and think about it.
Make sure that it’s worth it, before you eat it!

Usual disclaimer applies:

Stay well and “Subscribe” for more articles. 
Leave comments if you have any questions.

Insulin resistance – “the good or the bad and ugly”:
Does Insulin Resistance Causes Weight Gain:

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