Aging Cells Reject Sugar Delivery Truck

Jane is approaching 40. She’s noticing the extra weight, because as we get older, we become more
“insulin resistant.” We’re sure you’ve heard that term before. The idea of insulin resistance can
easily confuse people, especially if they already have the knowledge that insulin is our fat storing
hormone. They wonder, “Why on earth do we get fatter in an insulin resistant state when insulin
is supposed to be making us fat. Shouldn’t resisting insulin be a good thing?” More confusion!
To clear this up, all you need to know is that it is only our muscle cells that become
resistant to insulin. If muscle cells stayed receptive to insulin, that would be fantastic as mus-
cles burn glucose rather than store it as fat. But once they begin to resist insulin, fat cells have
to take up the slack and receive the loads of blood sugar that our muscle cells used to be able
to handle, but don’t want anymore. Insulin resistance essentially means less glucose burning,
more glucose storing. Two words: fat gain.
It is rare for fat cells to ever develop this resistance issue, but some very skinny people do
have fat cells that are more resistant to insulin than their muscle cells. Folk with this condition
have the opposite problem to most of us and have trouble putting on enough weight.
Generally, most people have fat cells that stay highly insulin receptive and greedily gobble
anything insulin has to offer them. Fat cells keep gobbling, getting larger since they don’t burn
fuel like muscles cells do. Unfortunately, as we age, it is only our muscle cells that become a lot
fussier. High-carb intake over the years only makes this worse. Dr. Diana Schwarzbein, author
of The Schwarzbein Principle, says on page 13: “By the time you are thirty years old, your cells
do not utilize sugar as well as they did when you were younger; this is cellular aging. What
you have eaten and how you have lived your life will determine the actual age of your cells and
therefore the health of your metabolism at any given time.”
When we are young, our muscle cells are open and ready to welcome the insulin truck with
its load of blood sugar. Think of young cells like hungry baby birds in a nest with their mouths
wide open to accept any food they can scarf down. As we age, these cells become less ready to
accept the glucose that insulin offers us for energy. They are simply not as hungry for it. You
can use a similar visual image of the nest of birds to picture insulin resistant cells. These baby
birdies would have mouths half open in a lackluster way, listless, and disinterested in wolfing
down anything insulin has to offer.
Jane is simply not able to use the amount of blood sugar that she could in her youth. She
is left with more and more leftover glucose in her bloodstream. This has to be removed. It’s insulin to the rescue again. However, since all her muscle cells are already full from her last
carb laden meal, it has only one place to go. Guess where? You got it. It is stored as fat! Insulin
enables carbs and sugars to magically turn into fat more easily as her cells age and become more
insulin resistant.
The kicker is that this state of insulin resistance causes the body to make even more insulin,
which means the body will also consequently make more fat. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a worse
state than having to store excess glucose as fat after a high-carb meal. The same kind of carb
rich meal can cause an insulin resistant person to store twice the fat because the muscles refuse
to receive as much of the glucose.
The truck arrives at Jane’s cell loading zones, beeps, and gets ready to tip its sugar load. It
yells out to the muscle cells, “Are you ready?”
“No thanks,” her cells respond. “We couldn’t handle a mouthful more. We’re not as inter-
ested anymore.”
Insulin replies, “Fine, I will store, store, store in your fat cells. They’re not so picky and
always accept anything I have to offer.”
This scenario is the reason Jane’s waist is expanding. We may have over explained, but it is
imperative that you “get” this fundamental point.

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