Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Its main role is to send a signal to your fat, muscle and liver cells to absorb and use the glucose.
When you eat carbs, your blood sugar rise and your pancreas will release insulin. The insulin activates the cells to absorb the glucose and your glucose in your blood comes down to a normal level again. This is a normal physiological process in your body.
Insulin is an important hormone that controls many processes in your body.
What Is Insulin Resistance
Being insulin resistant, means that the cells in your muscles, fat and liver, don’t respond well to the insulin and it doesn’t absorb the glucose from your blood stream anymore.
Your blood glucose now remains high, because there’s nowhere for the glucose to go. Your body starts to product more insulin to compensate for the higher blood sugar.
You can imagine your pancreas are now working under a lot of pressure and at some point, this whole mechanism is going to shut down. At which point your pancreas will not be producing insulin anymore.
A build-up of this hormone, along with the high blood sugar in your body, is at the root of many modern health conditions today.
Why is Insulin Resistance a problem?
Consistently high blood sugar and high insulin levels can have toxic effects on your body. It can cause severe harm to your body and organs and potentially lead to death if left untreated.
Insulin is extremely common. Most people won’t even know they have it because they’ve been conditioned to the affects that slowly made their way into their lives over a period.
What causes Insulin Resistance?
There are many factors that plays a role in the development of Insulin Resistance. Dr Sarah Hallberg summarize causes of insulin resistance into:
- Your environment you were exposed to as a child
- Refined and processed Carbohydrates and Sugar
Other causes of insulin resistance include:
Fructose – high fructose intake has been strongly linked to insulin resistance.
Inflammation – increased stress and inflammation in your body may lead to insulin resistance.
Gut Microbiota – evidence suggest that unhealthy gut environment do play a role in insulin resistance.
Signs of insulin resistance
Your insulin resistance can be measured with some blood tests (see next paragraph). But there are some other signs and symptoms that could suggest that you could be insulin resistant.
Your risk of being insulin resistant increases greatly if you have excess weight, especially around your waist. Insulin coverts excess sugar into belly fat. A first sign, that your insulin hormone is not working effectively in your body. This is also prevalent in “beer bellies”.
If you’re unable to get rid of stubborn weight, could be another factor. You’ve followed yo-yo diets, lost weight, but gained all the weight back.
You are not satisfied after a meal and you keep on eating more. That is because the cells are not absorbing glucose and now the cell is starving for fuel and certain nutrients.
You do not get diabetes overnight. It’s a chronic disease that gradually develops over time. In can take up to 10 years to develop. Sugar and carbs does not cause an immediate psychoactive reaction like other drugs do. That’s why it’s a slow, progressive disease, that slowly creeps up on you.
How is insulin resistance diagnosed?
The National Institutes of Health guidelines define metabolic syndrome as having 3 or more of the following:
>102 cm in men
> 88 cm in women
<1.0mmol/L in men
<1.2mmol/L in women
*It’s important to note that Total Cholesterol is not a stand-alone risk factor for metabolic disease, which can cause heart disease.
Elevated Blood Pressure
>130mmHg systolic (the upper reading)
> 85mmHg diastolic (the lower reading)
Elevated Fasting Glucose
Chances are, that you have routine blood tests taken, that the above would’ve been included in the blood test. It’s important that you familiar yourself what each of these lab tests really mean. It will empower you to have an informed discussion with your health care provider about proper treatment.
How is insulin resistance treated?
The treatment is simple.
Deal with the problem. Allow your body to need less insulin.
Here’s a few guidelines on how to do that.
GET MORE SLEEP
Lack of sleep has been linked to increase insulin. One study in 9 people have found that a single night’s sleep deprivation, can increase insulin resistance and the ability to regulate your blood sugar.
Stress affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
Which means you must cut down on refined carbohydrates, process food and sugar. When you’re under stress, your body go into “flight or fight” mode. It stimulates the production of stress hormones like cortisol and glucagon. Stress hormones make your body more insulin resistant.
Lower your Insulin by Fixing What You Eat
Since insulin resistance is trigger by what you eat, it makes sense that this should be the first action to take. Carbs are the main factor that causes insulin in your blood to rise. Diets high in carbs, processed foods or sugar, leads to spikes in blood sugar. The type of carbs you choose is also important.
High intake of fructose are also linked to higher risk of insulin resistance. These foods contain high amounts of added sugars and include sweetened products, beverages, cakes, cookies and pastries. Any packaged food nowadays are pretty much laden with added sugar. And companies are finding innovative ways to disguise sugar in their products with over 60 different names now all representing sugar in one form or the other.
Absolutely avoid all artificial trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are not fats. They are highly processed chemical compound, use for cooking. In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared trans fats unsafe to eat. Yet, it still show up in many of our food products.
Eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Our low carb program has been specifically designed to support your blood markers, while making healthy lifestyle changes which is sustainable.
Lose Excess Weight
Excess weight, especially in the belly area, increase insulin resistance. Luckily, losing weight, is a very effective way to lower your insulin resistance, or even possibly reverse it.
Can Insulin resistance and subsequently Diabetes Type II be reversed?
Clinical studies conducted by Virta Health has demonstrated that patients can safely improve health markers associated with Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and inflammation.
Jay Wortman, MD, tells the story of how he got rid of his rampant type 2 diabetes using a simple dietary change. Eight years later he is still free from the disease and needs no medication. Basically, he stopped eating the foods that turn to sugar in the gut.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This treatment is extremely effective. If you have diabetes and take blood sugar lowering medication (especially insulin injections) you may need to reduce the doses a lot to avoid potentially dangerous hypoglycaemia. You may instantly become too healthy for your medication.
If you need support with your nutrition, you can check out our low carb program here. It’s a program specifically designed for anybody who wants to adapt a healthy, whole food lifestyle.
Feel free to also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. I would love to hear how I can help you.
Talk again soon,