What Causes Premature Aging And What You Can Do About It

This Is The Biggest Cause Of Premature Ageing, According To A World-Renowned Doctor


What do you think is the biggest cause of premature ageing? Answers on a postcard, but chances are you didn’t come up with “insulin resistance” when pondering this question. According to Dr Mark Hyman, functional health doctor and bestselling author of Young Forever amongst other titles, insulin resistance is the “the root of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia”, plus it also “drives muscle loss as we age, leading to sarcopenia [involuntary loss of muscle mass and strength]”. This can result in metabolic chaos and even disability.

It’s a pretty exhaustive list, right? Insulin resistance occurs “when you overeat starch and sugars in any form”, explains Dr Hyman. “Your pancreas then pumps out loads of insulin [and] your cells become resistant to its effects, meaning more and more insulin is required to keep your blood sugar normal. Until it can’t, and then you get type 2 diabetes and a host of other problems, like increased belly fat, muscle loss, inflammation, hormonal imbalances and brain damage.” Research suggests that it affects more than nine per cent of adults around the world, while “90 per cent of people who have it are not diagnosed and have no clue they have it,” adds Dr Hyman.

The good news is that this state of play is “nearly 100 per cent reversible”. Whether you know that you’re insulin resistant or not, we can all control what we consume day to day to ensure we keep our metabolic health in check. If you’re someone who regularly eats processed, high starch and sugary foods – whether that’s doughnuts and cake, chips and burgers, takeaways or even just an excessive amount of bread – then chances are you’re en route to insulin resistance. With statistics showing an uptick in consumption of these kinds of foods in modern Western diets – and that’s including in children’s – it’s time to take stock and begin understanding the power that anything we ingest has on our ability to live well.

If you are concerned about being insulin resistant, make sure you visit your doctor, and ask them to test your insulin when fasting, as well as glucose levels after a sugar load. But day to day, becoming “insulin sensitive” is all about reducing your starch and sugar intake “and possibly even removing them altogether for a length of time”, recommends Dr Hyman. For those that need or want some guidance, there are great nutritional programmes available from wellbeing brands, like Artah, whose Metabolic Reset costs just £30 and is full of delicious recipes and guidance. Alternatively, consult a nutritionist for help.

Over time, you can reintroduce “starchy veggies, fruits, beans and whole grains” to your diet when your metabolism – and insulin response – can deal with it. It’s also worth noting that your insulin response is also impacted by your quality of sleep, stress levels and exercise routine, so try and implement a balanced lifestyle to support your diet. Yes, it’s a lot to keep in mind, but adding years onto your life and improving your health and wellbeing in the here and now is surely worth it.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

More From Vogue

Share now on:
FacebookXEmailCopy Link