Type 2 Diabetes is not a Problem of Too Little Insulin

As everyone knows, Diabetes is a problem of too much sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream.

The body produces the hormone, Insulin, to counteract the glucose in the bloodstream. It does this by pushing the glucose into body cells. The pancreas is the organ that produces Insulin.

The Type 1 Diabetic

A Type 1 Diabetic doesn’t produce Insulin in their pancreas. Without Insulin from the pancreas the blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels. The body responds to a lack of Insulin by opening up fat cells and emptying them out. That’s why Diabetes was referred to as the wasting disease.

As the caption below indicates this is the same girl with Type 1 Diabetes. The left is that girl before Insulin and the right is that same girl four months later after starting Insulin. She went from starving to looking plump.

Type 1 Diabetics will always be Insulin dependent to some degree.

The Type 2 Diabetic

Type 2 Diabetes is a completely different problem although it also is marked by high blood sugar levels. The development of Type 2 Diabetes is not a problem of too little Insulin. To the contrary, the best evidence is that is related to abnormally high levels of blood insulin. This study looked at the children of Diabetics to determine their precursors of Diabetes (Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(12):909-915. Slow Glucose Removal Rate and Hyperinsulinemia Precede the Development of Type II Diabetes in the Offspring of Diabetic Parents. James H. Warram, MD, SCD; Blaise C. Martin, MD; Andrzej S. Krolewski, MD, PhD; J. Stuart Soeldner, MD; C. Ronald Kahn, MD):

One to two decades before type II diabetes is diagnosed, reduced glucose clearance is already present. This reduced clearance is accompanied by compensatory hyperinsulinemia, not hypoinsulinemia, suggesting that the primary defect is in peripheral tissue response to insulin and glucose, not in the pancreatic beta cell.

In other words, as Type 2 diabetes progresses the body produces more and more Insulin to meet the demand. The response of the body to this increased amount of Insulin is to become Resistant to Insulin (Insulin Resistance and Insulin Sensitivity are inverse to each other). This Insulin Resistance sets up a viscous cycle where the more Insulin the body produces the more the cells resist the action of Insulin. Eventually, the pancreas can’t produce enough Insulin, but at this time it is producing many times the Insulin levels of a non-diabetic.

The truth is counter-intuitive (without the above insight). The real solution to Type 2 Diabetes is not more Insulin the body, it is less Insulin in the body.

Diabetic Medications

Enter modern medicine. There are a number of types of Diabetes Medications each with different methods of action.

Some of these types of medication cause the production of Insulin to be increased by the pancreas. But this just pushes the can down the road. Eventually the pancreas can’t keep up and it may even be damaged if pushed too hard for too long.

Other types of medications increase the ability of the cells to accept the glucose. These medications can make the problem even worse by making you fatter. Again, eventually the system will get out of control again.

Another type (Metformin) causes the liver to produce less glucose. That’s quite possibly the best and safest approach. Metformin also works unto a point when the liver overcomes the medicine and the medicine becomes ineffective.

The Dirty Little Secret

Eventually, most Type 2 Diabetics will end up on Insulin. That may start with a basal (one a day shot) but when the highs get too high that will be supplemented by bolus (meal-time) Insulin shots. Anytime a meal with carbohydrates is eaten the Insulin Dependent Diabetic will need to take Insulin. Up to 7 or 8 a day depending on how often you eat.

And the need will continue increase for Insulin to where you are eventually taking more than $100 a day worth of the medication.

So, if the problem is too much Insulin, what can we do to lower the Insulin demands of our bodies? Or are we just stuck getting sicker and sicker?

We Need a Strategy

The key to any strategy is getting the body to use less Insulin. As long as the body is producing high levels of Insulin it has a hard time unlocking fat cells for energy. This is true whether or not you are on Insulin.

Easy Natural Treatment

One easy way to reduce the amount of Insulin needed by a Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic is to eat less carbohydrates. At a Very-Low-Carbohydrate (VLC) level of around 20 grams a day most Diabetics will not need bolus (meal-time) Insulin. And because their Insulin levels are dropping they will be able to taper down on their basal Insulin (although probably not to zero for Type 1 Diabetics).

The VLC diet works because glucose in the blood mostly comes from carbohydrates in our diet. Fat has no glucose response at all. Protein has a minimal response on glucose if kept at a reasonable level.

I Did This Myself

In my case, I was on an Insulin pump. When the Diabetes Dietary Nurse counselled me she told me that I needed to bolus (take meal-time Insulin) for carbohydrates. So when I went to a VLC diet I no longer needed to bolus for meals. Over the course of the next two weeks I was able to slowly drop my basal amount down from 50 units a day down to zero units a day.

When you drop your fasting Insulin levels your cells will then start to use its own fat. In my case, weight quickly dropped off as I kept my Insulin levels low. In the first month I lost something like 30 lbs.

Within 2 weeks of starting I was completely off the Insulin pump. I continued to take Metformin for months after that since it still seemed to have a small effect on my Dawn Syndrome (High Blood Sugars in the morning). Eventually, I was able to discontinue taking Metformin.

Intermittent Fasting

Besides a VLC diet, Intermittent Fasting (IF) was the other key to getting this to work. With IF your body is only producing Insulin in response to the narrow window of meals. With a longer time between the meals it gives the body a chance to lower Insulin levels to fat burning levels.

I did 20/4 day IF. That basically meant I skipped breakfast and lunch but had an extended dinner time-frame of around 4 hours. That gave my body 20 hours to recover from the meal and naturally drop my Insulin levels. Since I ate a VLC diet I wasn’t producing glucose from the carbs that previously were in my diet.

There is Hope for the Type 2 Diabetic


Author: Doug

I'm an Engineer who is also a science geek. I was pre-diabetic in 1996 and became a diabetic in 2003. I decided to figure out how to hack my diabetes and in 2016 found the ketogetic diet which reversed my diabetes.

One thought on “Type 2 Diabetes is not a Problem of Too Little Insulin”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.