Veri Logo

What Is Metabolic Health, and Why Does It Matter?

It used to be that the word ‘metabolic health’ was only ever heard after a person had become metabolically unhealthy.

The doctor would sit you down, tell you that you were overweight with high blood pressure, that you were, in short, metabolically unwell. Ouch. Because now you had to prick your finger for daily blood sugar tests as a person with diabetes type 2.

Couldn’t have mentioned this whole metabolic health thing any sooner, Doc?

Things have gotten a little better now that we’re aware of terms like pre-diabetes and insulin resistance. But for the most part, metabolic health doesn’t really matter to us until it’s gone.

We trudge through life with brain fog and energy crashes and heart problems and anxiety and weight gain and focus issues, never knowing how these problems (and many more) are caused by poor metabolic health, and never changing our habits because we aren’t yet labeled as pre-diabetic.

We at Veri want to change that.

That’s why we’ve declared January asMetabolic Health Month, in hopes of leading a million people to better metabolic health by 2023.

So for the next four weeks, you can follow along with weekly challenges and insights into all things metabolism to unlock your next level of health and happiness.

So What Exactly Is Metabolic health?

Medically speaking, metabolic health is the absence of metabolic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But we know that this isn’t the full picture, because while those diseases affect only a small percent of the population, nearly 90% of Americans have been categorised as metabolically unhealthy. [1]

This means that most average people who think they’re good to go are much closer to being pre-pre diabetic than healthy. Kinda cray-cray…

Back to the question, then: what is metabolic health?

To fully answer it, we have to know what the metabolism actually is.

In summary –

·     metabolism is the processes and systems that produce energy for life from food, from digestion, to assimilation, to atp production, and to the building of new cells

·     the metabolism is hinged on the breakdown and delivery of nutrients into cells via insulin

·     insulin is a key regulator (or disruptor) of metabolism – this hormone shuttles glucose and other nutrients into cells and out of the blood stream

So metabolic health in a nutshell is when your body can use insulin to clear sugar out of the bloodstream and put it to good use in cells that generate power for your body.

Seems simple enough to achieve.

But when glucose levels are consistently spiked by sugary drinks, processed carbs, and sedentary lifestyles the body releases large volumes of insulin. This elevated insulin desensitizes your cells, and they require more and more of the storage hormone to clear the same amount of glucose.

Enter: metabolic disease

The end result of ‘insulin resistance’ is higher spikes in blood sugar, which leads to more insulin; higher blood glucose, which disrupts energy production; and more fat storage.

And the truly mind-blowing thing is that you don’t have to be overweight (or even close) to have insulin resistance or blood sugar spikes. The survey study we mentioned in the beginning of this section showed that 2/3rds of lean people had the same middling metabolic health as everybody else. [1]

Why Does Metabolic Health Matter to You?

Do you sleep? Do you love playing a particular sport, or an instrument? Do you enjoy sex?

Metabolic health is related to every facet of life, because balanced blood glucose and insulin is the foundation for a healthy circadian rhythm, for muscular power and endurance, for mental acuity, and even for reproductive health. (Remember: insulin is the key for converting blood glucose into usable power for all your cells!)

Far from simply staying out of the doctor’s office, metabolic health means having life in abundance. It also means relief from the nagging aches and pains– both physical and mental – that we associate with any age over 30.

And the good news?

You don’t have to instantly drop 50 pounds to be metabolically healthy, nor must you count calories. You just need to focus on a handful of simple lifestyle changes that help to control your insulin levels.

Metabolic Health Month Challenge #1

The first lifestyle change we are recommending in this first week of Metabolic Health Month is eliminating all sugary beverages.

Sugary drinks (including soda and even fruit juices) are the biggest dietary assault on your metabolism because the sugar instantly spikes your blood glucose. These spikes elicit an insulin WHAM, for lack of a better word; and the high volume of insulin often is more than the body needs to get back to baseline, which causes a blood glucose crash.

Blurry vision, anxiety, feeling hungry despite having just consumed a ton of calories?

Yep, you’ve had a crash. And even if your blood sugar is still higher than normal, such a drastic decline will alert your body to crave more sugar in order to keep your glucose-hog-of-a brain online. This is the beginning, middle and end of metabolic illness – and especially weight gain.

That’s why we’re challenging you to eliminate all sugary drinks for one week. Just one week! And to kick it off, we’re encouraging a sugar dump, where you snap a photo of yourself pouring a soda down the drain! 

Here are some helpful tips to navigate your first week without sugary drinks:

·      have a friend or loved one do this challenge with you

·      raid your cupboards and toss (or give away) any soda or fruit juice you find

·      stock up on sparkling water. (We love Gerolsteiner for the minerals, and it totally satisfies the need for something bubbly and nice)

·      try to stay away from low-calorie sweetened drinks. (Even if it’s sweetened with stevia orerythritol, it can still spike your blood sugar and insulin)

·      if you’re craving something sweet, eat some fruit instead

One thing to keep in mind for this first challenge is that your tastebuds can take a couple weeks to adjust. [2] So if you find yourself literally hating a strawberry* for not being as sweet as you think it should be, just know that your tastebuds are adjusting and will eventually hate the toxic syrups you used to love ❤️🙃.

*please be nice to the strawberries.

PS: If you’ve thought about anyone while reading this post, please send this information their way. Better yet, invite them to be your partner in this week’s challenge! 

References

1) https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/met.2018.0105

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4500487/


Get started with Veri today

Shop
Shop

Further reading