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#43 – Dr. Benjamin Bikman – Insulin Resistance and Why We Get Sick

Dr. Benjamin Bikman (author of Why We Get Sick) sits down with Mikhaila to discuss insulin resistance and sensitivity, curing type 2 diabetes, why our current method of diabetes treatment doesn’t help, how some people can gain weight easier and faster than others, the benefits of ketones, and the pros and cons of Metformin.

You can find more on Dr. Benjamin Bikman in his book Why We Get Sick, on Instagram @benbikmanphd, on Twitter @BenBikmanPhD, and read about Dr. Ben’s low carb meal replacement shake on

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[3:30] What is insulin? What is insulin resistance? Why should anyone care? Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is when your body can’t create insulin anymore. Insulin affects every cell in the body. Insulin resistance is when cells in the body stop responding to insulin, leading to insulin levels elevating in the body and other complications.
[9:00] Dr. Ben Firmly believes that Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by insulin resistance.
[11:30] What causes people to start becoming insulin resistant? Dr. Ben believes there are three primary causes of insulin resistance. Stress hormones (cortisol and epinephrine) create insulin resistance, elevated stress levels create more of these hormones. Inflammation on its own causes cells to become insulin resistant. Too much insulin referring to elevated amounts of insulin in the blood in a domino effect that quickly makes the imbalance of insulin and glucose higher. Omega 6 fats (abundant in processed vegetable oils like soybean and canola) make the body’s fat cells insulin resistant. “Insulin resistance is sort of this process of one tissue falling like the first domino. I believe that it’s the fat cells that become insulin resistant first, and in doing so they start bumping into other tissues like muscle, liver, brain, etc.”
[16:30] What can you do if you are already insulin resistant to reverse the effects?
[18:30] “A drug can never cure a disease it can only ever treat symptoms.”
[19:30] “The good news, the gospel is that you can change this. The food you eat is either the culprit or the cure.” “Let food be the cure. Control your carbohydrates. Avoid the foods that are spiking your insulin which are refined starches and sugars.” The solution is simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s very hard when you’re talking about changing people’s habits.
[31:30] Mikhaila and Dr. Ben Discuss opinions on the large amounts of money involved in not letting the general population know that most of their chronic illness comes from what they are eating and treating them with drugs that are expensive and which the patient becomes dependent on.
[33:00] Misdiagnosis of type 2 diabetes as a glucose disease instead of an insulin disease is leading to decades of late diagnosis from the start of health issues. Low carb diets have been proven to almost eliminate type two diabetes in patients who were willing to change their lifestyle.
[36:30] The best ways to measure if you’re insulin resistant is by using fasting insulin or looking at blood lipids (triglyceride to HDL ratio)
[40:30] Why do some people gain weight much easier than other people? It has nothing to do with the metabolic rate. What is the primary fuel that a person burns sugar or fats? If you are fat-burning it’s easier to control your weight because your body will always be looking for fat to burn. If insulin is high you will naturally default to burning sugar more easily.
[48:30] Fat Cells, Fasting, Low Carb, and Breastfeeding.
[52:00] Ketoacidosis in type 1 diabetics and the temptation to purposely underdose on insulin to stay thin.
[58:30] Drug Metformin, Insulin activated m-tor more than protein does (m-tor being the hypothesized cause of aging of cells). Keeping insulin low is a key component to aging well, some even take this to the extreme and take insulin lowering drugs like Metformin. Dr. Ben believes the evidence does not support that this will help you to live longer and will inflict harm to your body.