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