Type 2 Diabetes and Triglycerides, the Insulin Connection

Type 2 diabetes and triglycerides go together, and there is a simple reason why. Both have a strong connection to insulin.

What confused me at first was that triglycerides are a kind of fat. It helped to learn what fats and fatty acids are.

When we eat fat, it is broken down by our bodies in different ways based on whether it is animal or vegetable fat. But the fat inside our bodies is not made directly from the fat we eat.

Remember, eating fat does not make you fat. The insulin hormone stores calories as fat from unused glucose.

Where Type 2 Diabetes and Triglycerides Meet

Here is how it works. Your body makes triglycerides with a molecule of sugar and three fatty acids. It does this to store glucose long term.

Some is taken to your fat cells and some is stored in your liver. There is also some floating around in your bloodstream.

We are not sure what normal levels are because we began measuring triglycerides in modern times. We eat a lot more added sugar now than in previous centuries.

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But higher levels of triglycerides in the blood go along with eating more carbohydrates than your body has insulin to take care of.

So we use high triglycerides as one of the signs of insulin resistance. This is where doctors tie type 2 diabetes and triglycerides together.

A diet full of high glycemic foods is one obvious cause. Another is overuse of alcohol. And as your BMI (body mass index) rises and insulin resistance gets worse, triglyceride levels also rise.

Does That Mean Triglycerides Are Bad?

No, they are not. Our bodies go to a lot of trouble to make them, and when things are working normally, triglycerides have an important job.

They help keep the insulin and blood sugar balance in our bodies through long hours of fasting between meals, at night and while exercising.

It is a very efficient way to store unused calories, and 99% of the fat stored in our bodies is triglycerides. But these bundles of fat require insulin to form.

If our insulin levels are too high, more triglycerides are formed. But if insulin is low and the cells call for food, our liver responds by converting its triglyceride stores into glucose and sending them out.

That conversion produces ketones you can measure with a urine test. Too much of these ketones in the urine of a diabetic signals ketoacidosis. That does not mean ketones themselves are bad.

Looking for the Bad Guy

Looking at type 2 diabetes and triglycerides, we are trying to find something to blame. Because we are told ketoacidosis is dangerous, we think ketones are evil. They are not.

In the same way we tend to think cholesterol and triglycerides are bad too. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Ketones can be used by your heart and brain in the absence of blood sugar. Cholesterol builds cells and makes hormones. Triglycerides store unused calories for later use. All of these are absolutely necessary for you to stay alive.

Medical experts have a habit of seeing a fire engine and trying to destroy it instead of putting out the fire so the fire engine won't be needed. Treating symptoms is often like that.

Low cholesterol is not good. It leads to death. High blood sugar is bad but so is low blood sugar. And if triglycerides are too high, we ought to find out what is disturbing the delicate balance of hormones.

Looking at type 2 diabetes and triglycerides in the right way, researchers have found the fire. It is constant use of high glycemic carbohydrates and diets full of refined and processed foods - our typical Western diet.

Too many high glycemic foods lead to insulin overproduction, high BMI and insulin resistance. This is compounded by lack of enough exercise to increase insulin production and help to burn the excess calories.

Putting Out the Fire

Stop feeding the fire that causes the link between type 2 diabetes and triglycerides. Then the fire will go out.

Type 2 diabetics who stop eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates watch their triglycerides lower to more normal levels.

If they also exercise and eat omega-3 rich foods, the results can be amazing.

Your body needs vitamin C to fight infections and immune disease, but sugary foods block and even destroy that vitamin. Since your body cannot make vitamin C you must get it from your food.

It's another reason to stop eating what is making you unhealthy and unable to resist internal damage.

Cut out the sugary, highly processed convenience foods. Eat more whole foods and low glycemic carbohydrates that are full of antioxidants and vitamins.

Then the twin fires of type 2 diabetes and high triglycerides will come under control for you. Add in some exercise and you will see a change.

I know it can happen for you as it has for me. I wish you well.

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