Are you a Met? The Alternative Metabolism

Just a few years ago, I thought I was doing everything right—diet, exercise, healthy lifestyle—but my numbers kept creeping toward prediabetes. What I didn’t know then was that I have what I now call an Alternate Metabolism. I, along with 30-70% of the population, was born with the genetic predisposition to improperly handle carbohydrates: breads, pasta, sweets, rice, starchy vegetables, pretzels, even whole grains! We (I like to call us “Mets”) experience a rise in blood sugar after eating carbohydrates that triggers the pancreas to make more insulin than necessary, which results in, among other things, an inability to lose weight, elevated lipid levels, and insulin resistance. Alternate Metabolism has also been linked to Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin resistance.


I’ve learned to look for Alternative Metabolism in patients referred to me by their doctors with prediabetes and diabetes. Simple bloodwork can confirm my suspicions. I’ve also learned to look for it in patients who present with symptoms but haven’t been diagnosed with prediabetes yet.

Because I found myself and so many of my patients in this Alternate Metabolism boat, I set out to find a way circumvent the hand that fate dealt.

You can’t imagine the joy I experienced when I found the blood sugar work of Dr. Mark Hyman, MD and Diane Kress, RD, CDE. I adapted their work and came up with my very own “Pancreas Stabilization Program,” a program that has reversed the trend of diabetes in 100% of my patients who follow it! (The other positive result is the normalization of blood lipids levels—cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides.)

Little ole me? Well, I’m still a Met and always will be, but my numbers are completely normal, I feel great and my weight has stabilized. I will always have to adhere to a modified pancreas plan, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid a boatload of health issues.

Only a thorough analysis and blood work can determine if you are a Met, but the following symptoms are few clues (you don’t have to have all of these symptoms):

  • Difficulty controlling your weight following traditional diets?
  • Rising LDL cholesterol and/or triglyceride blood levels?
  • Stubborn belly and back fat?
  • Low Vitamin D levels?
  • Abnormal blood A1C and/or fasting blood glucose levels?
  • Fatigue on a regular basis?
  • Difficulty focusing and concentrating?
  • Restless sleep on a regular basis?
  • Gestational diabetes with any pregnancy?
  • Intense carbohydrate (breads, cereals, crackers, cookies, sweets, etc.) cravings?

To help you understand better, here is a simplified explanation of how a Met’s body handles insulin in response to carbohydrates entering the bloodstream.

The Journey of the Pretzel


  • A Met eats a pretzel or other high carbohydrate (also called glycemic) food (bread, rice, pasta, sweets, tortilla chips, pretzels and even whole grains).
  • The body recognizes ALL of it as sugar as it enters the bloodstream.
  • The pancreas releases the hormone insulin in response to rising blood glucose.
  • Insulin is like the bus driver with the key that takes its passenger (the sugar) to the cells and unlocks the door for them to go in.
  • Big problem: The pancreas overreacts and pumps out too much insulin.
  • Most of the insulin bus drivers travel to the overabundant fat cell hotels because their keys don’t fit the other cell hotel doors. This is because too many of them have been “knocking” on the cell doors for years. The locks are worn out and misshapen.
  • This condition is called Insulin Resistance.
  • The insulin bus drivers invite glucose into the fat cell hotels, they get larger and the locks (insulin receptors) stretch.
  • This causes too few of the insulin buses and glucose passengers in the blood and the brain signals you to eat carbohydrate to raise blood sugar.
  • You feel shaky, hungry and irritable in response to low blood sugar.
  • You eat carbohydrates and feel temporarily better, but as the blood sugar rises, insulin is overproduced again and the whole cycle starts again.


The High Cost of the Alternate Metabolism

Inability to lose weight. Mets often eat less calories than their friends who don’t have this metabolism, but are unable to lose weight. Traditional weight programs don’t work well with these people.

Elevated lipid levels. This is especially true for triglyceride levels. Elevated blood sugar molecules stick to protein molecules making them “sticky.” This raises triglycerides.

Insulin resistance. Over the years, as insulin is over released, the pancreas tires from working so hard and makes less insulin. The remaining insulin has a hard time “unlocking” the doors of the cells to allow sugar into the cell. The locks (insulin receptors) on the cells have become misshapen. The insulin “key” no longer fits.

Progression of disease. It’s just a matter of time before a Met who is not a pre diabetic will become one. If a stabilization program is not followed, Diabetes II will result.

Other health issues. The Met increasingly experiences more fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate, mild depression, energy slumps, carbohydrate cravings, accumulation of belly and back fat, sleep difficulties, decreased short term memory, flushing or dizziness after a small amount of alcohol, increased dull headaches, and decreased sex drive.

happy-coupleThe progression of the Alternative Metabolism is like being on a train that will eventually take the Met over the cliff to disease and poor health. The good news is that the Pancreas Stabilization Program helps the Met to stop the train and actually go in the opposite direction of danger.

I had one of my Met patients write a testimonial about this program in the patient testimony section. Jim’s adherence to the Pancreas Stabilization is paying off—his diabetes numbers are amazing, he is off all of his diabetes meds and his doctor is thrilled to reduce all of his other meds and eventually wean him off those in the future.

If you are a Met, there is hope. This makes me happy!


No comments yet