Do you find it almost impossible to lose weight no matter what you eat? Do you become unreasonably tired in the afternoon or after a meal? You may be suffering from Insulin Resistance – a condition associated with pre-diabetes. An astonishing 75% of all Americans today may in fact be afflicted with Insulin Resistance – most of them without any awareness thereof. And this has everything to do with what we eat. To understand how, we have to understand the complex relationship between food, blood sugar, insulin and fat. Let’s start by thinking about blood sugar.
Blood sugar vs. table sugar
When we talk about blood sugar we are talking about simple glucose molecules. I mention this because some people think if they take table sugar out of their diet their blood sugar levels will be OK. It’s helpful but not enough! Starches like rice, potatoes, pasta contain even more glucose than table sugar does.
Glucose in the blood stream
Once it is absorbed into the blood stream, glucose gets distributed among the body’s tissues via a complex regulatory mechanism. Over time, we have evolved many regulatory mechanisms to keep blood sugar levels up. However, we have only one way to keep it down. This mechanism involves insulin secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is a messenger that “knocks on the doors” of the cells announcing that there is a “party” of glucose on its way. In response, our cells “open their doors” and uptake the glucose. When there is too much glucose in a cell to be turned into energy, it gets converted into fat.
Our cells become “tired” of insulin’s “loud knocking”. Like uninvited guests who are welcome once or twice but become a nuisance after a while, our cells become less welcoming to the “party” of glucose. When the body produces plenty of insulin but the cells become less responsive to it, insulin resistance results. To compensate to this loss of sensitivity, the pancreas produces even more insulin. Insulin has another message that it sends to the body: Store sugar as fat! Do not break it down! This is why it is almost impossible to lose weight if your insulin level is high.
How to find out if you are insulin resistant
Ask your doctor to test your blood for fasting glucose, HgA1C, and C-peptide. Request the blood work results and look at the numbers yourself. The reports provide optimal ranges for all the measurements. If your numbers are getting close to the upper limits, talk to your doctor. Be proactive. The best time to address this problem is before your pancreas burns out.
Is insulin resistance reversible?
Absolutely! There are several steps to take, in order of importance:
- Low carb diet. Most recipes on my site are low carb.
- Exercise. When you are exercising your cells “open up the doors” for glucose to come in without the need for insulin.
- Supplements to improve cell sensitivity to insulin.
- Get professional help. Weight loss and Blood sugar regulation are my specialties.