8 minutes reading time (1672 words)

Diabetes & Obesity are NOT genetic


So I opened my practice and started this blog as a way to shake things up in your health world.  This post today is most likely going to do just that so get ready for some "wait, whats", "get outs" and mindblown reactions.   Let me start by repeating the headline.

.... diabetes and obesity are not genetic.  

Yes, the diseases may be common amongst family members, but it isn't because of genetics.  So what does that mean?  That means that preventing and reversing either condition is possible, regardless of your family history.  You heard that right.  You can prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes and obesity and you are not doomed to suffer from either, because your mom or grandfather did.   

So if it isn't genetic ... then what is it?

One of the things I try really hard to do is keep things simple.  Having spent my entire life trying to translate "doctor speak" in order to care for my kids, my husband, or myself, sharing information in a way that isn't complicated is important to me and I'm guessing important to you too right?  After all, if you can't understand the why, what, or how, where does that leave you?  Usually heading to the pharmacy to pick up more prescriptions to mask a symptom from some diagnosis, as if you're on autopilot. Not really sure why but just doing as your told because that's what we do right?  At least temporarily anyway.

But what if someone sat you down and said something like this:

We just got your blood work back and your labs have placed you in a pre-diabetic or diabetic range. Now that may sound scary or maybe it's something you were expecting to hear, but I want you to know that where you are today, does not determine where you'll be later. There are certain steps you can take to not only manage this disease but even reverse it. Of course, the choice is yours. If you'd like, I can give you a little bit more information about what causes the disease, and then you let me know if you'd like to move forward with medication to help manage the progression and hopefully reduce some of the side effects like problems with your eyes, kidneys, nerves, amputations or even heart attack or stroke, or making some lifestyle changes to reverse it. How would you like to move forward?

Would you be open to learning more, and willing to make lifestyle changes or would you rather just make the commitment to funding prescription medication every month, for the rest of your life, and tolerating the progression of the disease as you age? If you'd rather learn more and make lifestyle changes to improve/reverse the condition, then keep reading. If you'd rather take meds for the rest of your life, then I'm not your girl, and you can stop reading now.

Why? Because I don't prescribe medication. I don't recommend treating symptoms and ignoring the root cause. I want to help heal the world, not medicate it. So if you're still with me and want to learn more ... keep reading.  

Well, looky here! 👀 You're still with me! I cannot tell you how much that just lights me up inside! Seriously! I literally have goosebumps, just thinking about you right now, reading more. So let's do this!

A mentor of mine, Dr Cywes, coined a phrase years ago.  Insulin Production Capacity and this my friends is what determines whether you become obese or diabetic, first.  Wait, what? 😕 First? What do you mean first

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are the same disease. Get out!  They have the same cause🤯 which means it isn't whether or not you'll develop the disease, it's which comes first and this is the only piece to this puzzle, that is determined by genetics.  

The max amount of insulin that our bodies can produce, is determined at a genetic level.  

Some of us are high-insulin producers and others of us are not. 


(Sidebar: When I talk about a low-producing insulin producer, I'm not talking about someone diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  I am referring to how much insulin your body can produce before any disease increases or reduces that production.  Make sense? Ok good, let's continue.)

As you know, over the last several weeks I've written quite a bit about insulin.  (But I don't take insulin and When insulin can no longer do its job are the two most recent articles.  Feel free to take a look if you missed them.)  Insulin is a hormone that regulates energy in your body.  The more insulin sensitive you are, the easier it is for insulin to do its job.  Bottom line, as a human being, insulin is either regulating glucosis (using glucose/sugar as a primary fuel source), ketosis (using fat as a primary fuel source), or gluconeogenesis (producing new glucose in your liver.)  

Still with me?  Hope so, because here is where it gets good. 😉

Why is how much insulin you can produce important?  Knowing what your peak insulin production capacity is, helps you determine how quickly you will become insulin resistant, without necessary lifestyle changes.  If you are a low-energy producer, meaning you are not able to produce excessive amounts of insulin, then you become insulin resistant much faster.  When your body is constantly triggering insulin to be produced, your cells become tolerant and then resistant, so your cells no longer pull sugar in.  

When your liver becomes resistant to glucose, the excess glucose (sugar) is converted into and stored as fat.  It is at this point that your blood sugar starts to rise a bit.  This is Stage 1 insulin resistance.  Since your pancreas can't produce excessive amounts of insulin to force your liver to remove the glucose/sugar from your bloodstream and store it as fat, that sugar gets stuck in your vascular system, and damages your red blood cells, resulting in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  So low insulin producers, develop type 2 diabetes very early on.  Because you can't produce excessive insulin, you also can't make excessive amounts of fat, so you become overweight, (with some weight to lose), but are seriously diabetic. Yep ... you read that right ... not super heavy, but super diabetic. While that might not sound too bad, I do have some more news to share with you.  These low-insulin producers tend to end up with organ failure.  Diabetes in these individuals, affects their legs (leading to amputations), erectile dysfunction, damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, the brain, and literally every organ in the body suffers.  In addition to these vascular effects, clots tend to form, break off and travel through the body, which results in heart attacks and strokes.  Ever heard of an athlete who suffered from a heart attack?  Most likely, a low-insulin producer.  Not heavy, but the risk of cardiovascular disease is significant. 🤯

So what about the high-insulin producers?  

If you have a pancreas that can crank out excessive amounts of insulin, you literally push the liver to pull the sugar out of your bloodstream and turn it into fat.  Yep, high-insulin producers, have the ability to become enormous, but they are not often diabetic and they also don't suffer from high cholesterol.  "Wait, what?"😕  So high-insulin producers are "healthier"?  In a sense, yeah kind of.  You see, as a high-insulin producer your body's ability to produce excessive amounts of insulin actually protects you from the cardiovascular effects of high blood sugar.  You become very overweight by producing fat very easily, but your ability to overproduce fat keeps your blood sugar low.  Of course with excessive anything, there is usually a negative side-effect, right?  In this case, excessive insulin production affects steroid hormone production, which leads to another slew of diseases.

You see all steroid hormones start out with cholesterol as a precursor.  The cholesterol goes through some changes and becomes human growth hormone (HGH), estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid, Vitamin D, etc.  The problem here though is that insulin blocks that very first step needed, (cholesterol converting into pregnenolone).  So with insulin always high, you can't produce enough of the steroid hormones I just mentioned and you suffer from conditions like estrogen deficiency (aka PCOS) or low testosterone (in males), low Vitamin D, etc. You develop cortisol issues, thyroid diseases, and the list goes on.  

Hopefully, this is making sense and you understand now why knowing what your insulin production capacity is, is so important to your health.  If you have questions, please reach out and ask me.


Is your head spinning a bit now?  That was a lot, wasn't it?? but look at that .... you're still here!!🥳 To help calm your brainwaves down a bit, let me package all of this up into a neat little package for you ok? 

  • Type 2 diabetes and obesity are not genetic.
  • Type 2 diabetes and obesity are the same disease - with the same root cause
  • Your insulin production capacity determines which disease you will develop, first. 

If anything has distracted you, please come back to me.  We are almost done and what I'm about to say is the most important piece of this entire article.  Yes, I saved the best for last.

Your insulin production capacity is only relevant if what you are doing causes your body to respond by producing insulin.  If you reduce your need for insulin, you won't develop either disease.  

That is why lifestyle changes, that focus on reducing your body's need for insulin, will prevent/reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes, whereas a lifetime of medication simply attempts to slow down the progression of the disease.  

So what are your thoughts on what you just read?  I'd love to read them, so please post them below.  

How would you proceed, knowing what you know now?  Would you choose a lifetime of medication or lifestyle changes so you can enjoy a life free of pain, disease, and dependence on medication? 

More than 1 in 3 American Adults have pre-diabetes
When insulin can no longer do its job