The Healthy Dose – Sugar and Diabetes Part 2


By Parth Dwivedi

Recapping last week’s installment, insulin helps your body absorb glucose from the bloodstream. When glucose absorption fails to occur as a result of decreased insulin activity it is called Diabetes Mellitus. As a result the osmolarity of the blood shifts, with common side effects being fatigue, dehydration and weight loss.

Another, less obvious manifestation of Diabetes Mellitus is increasingly acidic blood. When glucose cannot make it to different parts of your body to be burned as fuel, your body switches to fats as a fuel source. While fats contain more energy, using them results in the production of ketone bodies. These ketone bodies make the blood more acidic, which can worsen fatigue and ruin the entire body’s state of balance.

What is at the root of all these symptoms, though? The main causes of Diabetes are broadly grouped into two categories.

Type 1 Diabetes is marked by insulin deficiency. As mentioned last week special cells in the pancreas produce insulin and when these cells are absent then so is insulin. This type of disorder exists from birth and diabetic children are usually type 1.

Treatment can be tedious but is very effective. Insulin from external sources must be taken daily, often through a syringe. This form of management can successfully be continued for more than 75 years, allowing patients to lead functional and productive lives.

Type 2 Diabetes is more common and insulin production is less of an issue. Patients with this diagnosis are less sensitive to insulin. In other words the same amount of insulin would do less if given to a type 2 patient than it would if given to a type 1 patient.

In order to see how this can happen we need to understand that your organs respond to disruptions by adjusting themselves. You can think of this as your body acting out the story of the boy who cried wolf.

Insulin is how your body tells certain organs that a fresh load of glucose has come in and your organs respond by absorbing it. Overeating and poor diet result in a flood of insulin through your bloodstream, your body’s way of screaming at your organs. Over time they will adjust and respond less as type 2 diabetes slowly sets in.

Parth Dwivedi has a B.A. in Neuroscience and an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences. He likes reading non-fiction and still watches I Love Lucy.

Parth Dwivedi has a B.A. in Neuroscience and an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences. He likes reading non-fiction and still watches I Love Lucy.

Avoiding or reversing all of this happens through exercise and diet—walking counts! Preliminary studies have even indicated that long-term yoga practice might be effective at doing this as well.

Join us next week when we discuss the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa, and visit our website to read previous installments in this column!