Last month I wrote about insulin resistance and spoke about why it is so important to get insulin resistance under control to avoid a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. This month I wanted to tell you about the insulin resistance score. The insulin resistance score (IRS) is a measurement of your insulin resistance.
Although, insulin resistance happens most often in overweight and obese people, not all overweight or obese people are insulin resistant. Similarly, not all people who are insulin resistant are overweight. Actually, fit people who are insulin resistant are more likely at risk of having undiagnosed cardiovascular issues. It's these highly active people, who aren't flagged by medical intervention because they are so healthy looking, that suddenly and shockingly succumb to a major stroke or heart attack.
Assessing your IRS is quite easy. It's not a special test that you need. It can be part of your regular GP check ups.
Remember that up to 17% of the Australian population is considered to have some form of glucose regulation issues, and insulin resistance can be present up to 15 years prior to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes
It's really worth getting this assessed!
Insulin resistance and its relative syndrome, Syndrome X or Metabolic Syndrome was first talked about by Professor Gerald Reaven in a lecture he gave at the American Diabetes Association in 1988. Reaven described a cluster of conditions that occured before the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. What Reaven called "the deadly quartet" were four seemingly unrelated health conditions; high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high blood triglycerides (fat in the blood) and low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Reaven detailed how this cluster of conditions made people more at risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Ok, so what did the medical community do with that information? Well, of course logically, eating low fat would be a great idea -less fat in the diet, the less fat in the blood right? A low fat diet approach was recommended.
And let's get rid of the cholesterol, because cholesterol is bad right?- Hello cholesterol lowering statin drugs!
And we'll put people on blood pressure medication, so that will fix THAT problem.
But the big thing we are missing here, and the main point that Reaven made in his lecture was-
It is the insulin resistance that causes the other three problems!!
Remember that insulin resistance causes high blood pressure by triggering the body to reserve sodium and waste potassium.
Remember that insulin resistance and the over consumption of dietary carbohydrates (not fats) causes the liver to turn excess carbs into triglycerides which are circulated in the blood stream. Remember that when the liver is resitant to insulin it doesn't get the message to stop making triglycerides.
Insulin resistance also affects the liver's glucose production, insulin SHOULD tell the liver to stop making glucose, but insulin resistance stops that message from getting through. So the body requires ever increasing amounts of insulin- some to deal with the glucose that is being made by the liver and some for the incoming dietary carbohydrates.
Remember that insulin resistance stops the body from being able to use stored fat as energy and causes the rise in LDL (bad cholesterol) in the blood.
It is the LDL cholesterol that gets trapped in arteries and causes heart attack and stroke.
There is no effective pharmaceutical treatment for insulin resistance. In other words, your doctor has no pill to treat it. However, that does not mean that insulin resistance can't be fixed!
Insulin Resistance is best treated with diet and exercise
If you want the professional guidance of someone who understands this issue, please don't hesitate to make a booking. Doing something now could save literally save your life.
Insulin Resistance- It could be making you fat!
Insulin is a hormone that helps us absorb glucose from our bloodstream, into our cells to use for energy. But that’s not all it does, insulin is also a fat storing hormone, and it affects how our kidneys balance sodium and potassium. So, when we can’t use insulin, it affects more than just our blood sugars.
What happens when we are insulin resistant? And how do we get there?
An inactive lifestyle and over consumption of food, in particular excess carbohydrates, cause the body to store fat. Fat uses twice as much insulin as lean muscle, to clear the same amount of sugar from the blood. So, fat competes with muscle for insulin, the more fat we have, the more insulin we need. The more carbohydrates we eat, the more insulin we need. The more insulin we need, the greater pressure on the pancreas to produce. The more insulin produced, the more fat is stored. The more fat that is stored- the more insulin is needed.
The body starts to become “insulin resistant”, the cells can no longer properly use insulin to get blood sugar (energy) into the cells.
Because our bodies can’t get blood sugar into the cells we feel tired and foggy headed. This causes cravings for sugar or carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and potato. Higher carbohydrate intake requires…..you guessed it, more insulin!
Eventually the pancreas can’t keep up with the ever-increasing amounts of insulin needed and blood sugars begin to rise. This is the road to type 2 diabetes.
Our genetics can play a big part in whether we will be more prone to insulin resistance, but increasingly research shows that our environmental exposure to things like POPs (persistent organic pollutants), pesticides and plastics are having an impact on the rising epidemic of type 2 diabetes.
Signs of insulin resistance:
Did you know?? Up to 20% of Australians have some form of impaired blood sugars and about 7.5% have type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance can occur up to 15 years before a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is made.
The benefits of diagnosing insulin resistance early is avoiding a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, being able to manage blood pressure without pharmaceutical intervention and breaking the weight gain cycle.
If being overweight is the main reason that insulin resistance occurs, and insulin resistance contributes to weight gain, how do we stop this self-perpetuating down ward spiral?
It will be no surprise that the main remedy to insulin resistance is weight loss! So the big question is, how to we achieve weight loss, and combat insulin resistance?
The evidence is that a diet with good amounts of protein, lower in carbohydrates and moderate amounts of healthy fats help people not only lose weight, but also combat hormones driving food cravings.
But losing weight is not an easy task. Otherwise we would not be seeing the obesity epidemic occurring globally.
What is needed is a good weight loss program that provides emotional, practical and ongoing support for participants. A good weight loss plan includes healthy meal suggestions, that can be adopted for a long-term lifestyle change and gives weekly guidance from a health professional to avoid common pitfalls.
The fact that our modern exposure to chemicals known as obesogens are having an impact on our health, also needs to be taken into consideration. We need to follow a "low tox" weight loss plan that encourages less exposure to these chemicals and a plan that help's us detoxify them from our bodies.
Click here for more information about my 8 week detox and weight loss plan
Melanie Turner, Naturopath, mother, gardener, lover of wholesome food