Why isn’t it possible to suddenly get diabetes after a single large sugar binge?


Why isn’t it possible to suddenly get diabetes after a single large sugar binge?

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Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. This is a persistent myth. it’s simply not true.


Being overweight dramatically increases the risk of diabetes and a lot of overweight people eat a lot of sugar, but it’s not the sugar directly.

Type 1 here, there are 2 major types of diabetes and other sub genres. The type I have is an autoimmune disorder, it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. Nobody is sure what causes it, or a cure for it. Type 1 is the kind where you see people injecting insulin. T cells mistake Beta cells as being invaders to the body and destroy them, meaning you can’t process sugar, so it just builds up. There are really long winded ways of describing the disease, but I’m trying to keep it simple…Type 2 I’m not so sure on, I know if it becomes really bad you can have to rely on insulin to correct it, but generally requires pills to keep blood glucose in check, despite their names, the trigger for both diseases are not related. Your pancreas, Beta cells and natural insulin ensure your blood glucose is always kept in check, if you are healthy, you cannot override this system no matter how much sugar you eat in just one sitting.

Diabetes, was historically an auto immune disorder. Where the immune cells would attack the beta cells in the pancreas. This requires patients with diabetes to be on insulin for the rest of their lives. Sugar was not the culprit.

And then something shifted. It went from being called diabetes to insulin dependent diabetes. Now it is called Type 1 Diabetes. There was a time they called it childhood diabetes but over 40% of people with type 1 actually develop it over the age of 20.

Type 2 diabetes should never be called diabetes, the diseases progress nothing like each other, At least that’s my opinion. My wife is a type 1 and was diagnosed at age 30, we constantly hear people saying you don’t look like someone with diabetes, i.e obese. If she fails to take insulin daily, she will die within 24 hours. This is not the same for someone with type 2, or insulin resistant diabetes.

Type 2, It is not an autoimmune disorder, It is a lifestyle disorder. Though there is evidence that some things can influence the likelihood of developing it later in life besides lifestyle.

The simple explanation is that it takes __time__ for your body to become insulin desensitized. It takes years old high blood sugar and triglyceride levels for the cells to stop responding to the hormones. Treatments invoice drugs that enhance insulin delivery to cells, like metformin and lifestyle changes. Some skinny people develop type 2, but they tend to have chronically high blood sugar even though they are not obese.

Soo, nurse here.
We all know about Diabetes I and Diabetes II.
First one is when cells for insulin production inside of pancreas lose function, as in auto-immune or just maybe pancreatitis or maybe even born with an insufficent insulin production.
Type II on the other hand happens, when cells in your body get resistant to insulin, because the insulin reaction, which is necessary for getting glucose into your cells, happend so often, that the cell needs a “bigger trigger” in order for the reaction to happen.
So, no you wont get Diabetes by binging once, but binging over months/years will make your cells resistant to insulin and your glucose value rises.

even though they are all called diabetes, the different types are different diseases. the thing they have in common is: high blood sugar. (and in the urine, which is where the name comes from!)

diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing cells. the body needs insulin to get the glucose inside our cells. so if there’s no insulin, the glucose stays in the bloodstream, thus you have higher levels of blood sugar. in the late stages of the disease, the patients need insulin from the outside.

now diabetes type 2 is characterized by a few different mechanics, one of which is insulin-resistance. if you have a persistently high blood sugar, the body will also produce a lot of insulin to deal with the glucose and get it inside the cells. so at first, the blood sugar, despite a higher sugar intake, will remain about the same. at some point though, the cells have more than enough glucose and will react less to insulin. in return, this means that the cells let less sugar inside = more glucose in the bloodstream = higher blood sugar! so you see, it’s almost the opposite of type 1. despite high insulin levels, you also have high blood sugar levels.

diabetes in pregnancy is also quite different. in pregnancy, the body reacts less to insulin so that the blood sugar levels remain high enough to ensure that the growing baby gets enough glucose. this mechanism can get out of hand though and the pregnant person ends up with way too high levels of blood sugar.

there are also other types of diabetes, like genetic types. all different diseases with one common thing: high glucose levels in the blood.

What you’re talking about is T2 diabetes aka Adult Onset.

I was diagnosed in my early 30s. Turn 40 in a few months.

In a normal situation, you eat sugar/carbs (we’ll say “carbs” for the sake of simplicity). Your liver breaks those down into fuel for your cells and dumps it in the blood. The measurement of this is Blood Glucose (BG)

Your pancreas secretes insulin, which is the key that opens the lock to move the sugar from your blood into your cells, where it’s used for fuel.

So carbs in > BG up > insulin up > BG down > Insulin down. Repeat.

T2 is the result of constant spikes in insulin in response to sugar/carbs. So if I tend to eat large, carb laden meals and wash it down with a Pepsi (like I did in my 20s), it goes like this:

Big carbs in > BG skyrockets > Big insulin to compensate > levels start coming back down. Repeat.

Over a decade or so, you develop Insulin Resistance (IR), where your cells need more insulin to absorb the BG.

I’ve seen a few different takes on what exactly is happening with IR, but Jason Fung’s perspective makes the most sense:

After repeated big spikes, your cells are crammed with more glucose than they need. But you keep eating like a King. Your pancreas keeps doing its job and dumping insulin. The cells are forced to absorb more BG. Cycle continues.

Eventually, there’s nowhere to put this excess BG. Cells are full. Liver’s full. A lot has been stored as fat. What can’t be dealt with ends up floating in your blood stream, so your fasting BG goes up.

On a personal note: Do everything in your power to avoid diabetes. It sucks. I have a Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor (CGM) that sticks on my arm and keeps an eye on my BG for me. It’s expensive. The meds are expensive, too.

I haven’t even suffered complications from it, but it increases risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, limb loss, gangrene, and a host of other nasty issues.

TLDR: it takes years of abuse to develop T2 diabetes, just as it takes years to become obese. You have to work at it. Your body is surprisingly resilient, but it has its limits.

Edit: If you’d like to know more, I suggest The Diabetes Code by Jason Fung. There’s been criticism of his work, but I’ve found it to be anecdotally accurate.

And for the love of God do what you can to avoid diabetes. Make sure your doc is checking your A1C every visit.

We don’t fully understand diabetes. The type you develop is a special type. Let’s ignore the type you’re born with or is genetically predisposed.

The way the type you develop happens seems to be related to having the systems in your body that regulate sugar via insulin stop working properly. One way we think that happens is sort of how some cancers form: if you do a little damage to an organ it can heal, but if you keep damaging that organ over and over the odds it doesn’t heal properly go up.

So eating too much sugar stresses that system and damages it a little, but you can’t destroy it in one sugar binge. It has a “110%”, so to speak, and once it’s working so hard it’s getting hurt it doesn’t work harder than that. In the end there are much more direct bad things that might happen to your body from that much sugar but it’s likely a ton of it will just pass through your system unabsorbed (or you will vomit an awful lot.)

Doing that every day, every week, or every month etc. increases your risk. But everyone’s body is different, so a frustrating thing is some people can develop diabetes from relatively small amounts of “abuse” whereas other people never worry about sugar and never face any consequences. There probably IS someone out there who is one sugar binge away from developing a permanent problem. Nature isn’t fair.

(Also some of the conditions we call “diabetes” are actually more directly problems with the organs that regulate insulin like the pancreas. Having those conditions makes your body pretty much act the same way as diabetes, so outside the context of a doctor trying to form a treatment plan the general public doesn’t really gain much from understanding the nuances between the dozens of different distinct conditions that might be “diabetes”.)

Everyone gave great responses regarding Type 1 and Type 2. Here’s are 2 lists of all the types of diabetes if you’re interested in learning more: