I wear corrective lenses to see the world clearly. If I look at a flower without my contact lenses, I see a distorted, unclear image of the flower. If I wear my contacts, I will see the same flower, as it truly is.
It’s time to put on our lenses when we look at the causes of childhood obesity as it pertains to a mother’s weight gain during pregnancy and the birth weight of her baby.
The correct prescriptive lens to view prenatal weight gain, birth weight, and childhood obesity is to look through the lens of Metabolism B.
Metabolism B; the genetic predisposition that exists in over 50% of overweight adults, also exists in over 50% of pregnant women. The hallmark of Met B is a pancreas that over-releases the fat gain hormone; insulin. Insulin triggers increased fat deposits both on the body (belly fat, back fat, muffin top, love handles) and in the blood (elevated cholesterol and triglycerides). Excess insulin also causes blood sugar swings that trigger appetite. Millions of people with the genes for Met B over-react with excess insulin to increases in blood sugar that occur 24 hours a day….caused by the intake of carbohydrate foods or the release of glycogen stores from muscle and liver.
Insulin is a major player in the endocrine system as it is supposed to control the concentration of sugar in the blood to a normal level. As part of the endocrine hormonal base, changes in other hormonal levels cause insulin swings. It is common for a woman with Metabolism B, undergoing the very wide hormonal swings of pregnancy, to gain more fat than the woman with textbook metabolism….even as they eat the same number of calories! The woman who has the genes for Met B will consistently overreact to blood sugar swings from the carb she eats (even great carb sources like nonfat milk, fruit, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread). She also over releases insulin when she sleeps and she is fed by liver sugar stores.
Also, remember that Metabolism B is genetic in nature. It is very possible that her unborn child will also have an over reactive pancreas and put on more fat stores based on wide fluctuations in mom’s blood sugar.
Making it real: A mom- to- be with normal insulin release always has normal blood sugar….so the food source (blood sugar) presented to her baby is always in the normal range. There is an excellent chance that her unborn baby is receiving nourishment with normal sugar concentration and that his/her pancreas will react normally. Hence, if the mom eats normally during pregnancy, her unborn child is being fed appropriately…the mom ends the pregnancy having gained a reasonable amount of weight and her baby is born at ideal weight.
Conversely, the mom who goes into the pregnancy with unknown Metabolism B has very wide swings in her blood sugar due to the hormonal imbalance that is natural in pregnancy. As a result, her insulin level goes even higher than pre-pregnancy. High insulin drops her blood sugar, makes her crave carb or makes her liver over-release sugar to bring the blood sugar back up. Her blood sugar and insulin swings ….roller coastering and ultimately over-feeding the unborn child with excess blood sugar. There is a good chance that her unborn baby has the genes for Met B and his/her pancreas over responds with insulin and the baby not only becomes fatter in utero but actually may develop an excess number of fat cells. The baby is born bigger than they should have been born. The mom ends the pregnancy having gained excess weight and her baby is born at a higher than ideal weight. This child enters the world with a rocking pancreas, excess fat cells, and is “set up” for weight related problems during childhood.
Once again….THIS IS NOT A CALORIES IN – CALORIES OUT PROBLEM. Take off those glasses when it comes to the obesity and diabetes epidemics in this country and around the world!
My proposal. Instead of waiting for the 24-28th week of pregnancy to screen for Gestational Diabetes (PS, the problem has evolved into diabetes at this point), why don’t we screen women at their pre-pregnancy gynecological visits or at least their first OB visit for Metabolism B? Physicians: start to focus on fasting values for:
Lipid Panel (LDL and triglycerides)
Hemoglobin A1C (average blood sugar 2-3 months prior to the blood draw)
Vitamin D level
If the woman is diagnosed with Metabolism B, she should receive diet information based on controlling her blood sugar (and insulin) before, during, and after pregnancy. In this way, we can give her a chance to gain an appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy, produce a baby at his/her correct birthweight, and allow the mom to return to a healthy weight after the birth of the baby.
Easy solution…… no medication….economical…. ….. but it requires putting on the right lenses.
As the developer of the only diet program built to match all the facets of Metabolism B, The Metabolism Miracle, I would be more than happy to develop the first pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and breast-feeding diet plans for women with Metabolism B. Let’s go AMA and ADA; let’s work together to stop the obesity and diabetes epidemics BEFORE the problem starts.