Insulin resistance is the name given to the condition whereby cells of the body don't respond properly to the hormone insulin. The role of insulin is to allow cells to take in glucose from the blood, following the digestive process, to be used as fuel or stored as body fat. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, usually a long term process following many years of eating highly processed foods or a diet high in refined carbohydrates, it tries to cope by producing more insulin. Insulin resistance has occurred when people have high levels of insulin circulating in the blood and excessive fat stored in the liver and pancreas, coupled with high levels of inflammation. Basically, our tissues have stopped responding to insulin effectively. The condition is also known as hyperinsulinemia, which might be a better name as the problem is not the cells resisting glucose, but the amount of insulin required to transfer glucose from the blood to cells. People with insulin resistance are producing more insulin than healthy people.
Insulin levels in the bloodstream rise to cope with high and quick-acting carbohydrate intake. Over time, weight is gained around the belly and abdomen. Consistently high levels of the body’s cells becoming resistant to insulin commonly leads to weight gain. Insulin resistance leads to an increase in blood sugar levels particularly after meals. A vicious circle has begun. The pancreas produces more insulin to cope with rising blood sugar levels. High sugar levels lead to feelings of lethargy, and high insulin levels lead to increased hunger. Hunger often leads to overeating and lethargy, with less physical activity being taken. Overeating, less activity, and high insulin levels all lead to further weight gain and more insulin resistance. Consistently high demand on the pancreas to produce extra insulin leads to damage of the pancreas’s insulin-producing cells. This beta cell damage results in the body struggling to produce enough insulin and, eventually, to Type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance can develop if you are
• overweight or obese
• have a high calorie diet beyond your metabolic requirements
• have a high-carbohydrate / high-sugar diet
• sedentary with little physical activity
• taking steroids over an extended period of time
• suffering chronic stress.
• suffering Cushing's disease or polycystic ovary disease
• carrying a genetic predisposition
Symptoms of insulin resistance:
• Difficulty concentrating
• Weight gain, especially abdominal fat
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol levels
• Darkening skin
• Skin tags
• A waist measurement of over 40 inches in a man or 35 inches in a woman
• High fasting glucose levels
• High fasting triglyceride levels
• Sleep problems like sleep apnoea
Effective methods for reversing insulin resistance.
• Intermittent Fasting/ Time restricted eating
• low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets
• Very low calorie diet
• Taking a lot of exercise in combination with a healthy diet.
• Weight loss surgery.