Insulin Resistance and the Lean for Life® Program
1. What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone that is essential in helping glucose get inside your body’s cells so it can be converted to energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas, a vital organ that lies behind your stomach.
2. What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is where existing insulin at the cell site fails to enter the cell because the cell membrane will not allow the insulin to drive the glucose into the cell to be “burned” for energy. The cell then “resists” the insulin and fails to lower blood sugar levels. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to help move glucose into the cells, and blood insulin levels rise. Eventually, the pancreas can no longer produce enough insulin to compensate for the insulin resistance, causing blood glucose levels to rise and diabetes to develop. People with insulin resistance—with or without the presence of diabetes—are predisposed to heart disease and abnormal accumulation and elevation of triglycerides and cholesterol. There is a strong association between insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome.
3. What causes insulin resistance?
Factors that can contribute to your chances of developing insulin resistance include:
• Obesity (especially abdominal fat – the fat around one’s waist)
• Physical inactivity
• High fat diets (especially those containing saturated fats in the form of trans fats)
• Diets high in carbohydrates (especially simple sugars)
• Diets low in the “essential fatty acids” (EFAs)
• Genetics/family history
• Male hormones: this includes women with polycystic ovary syndrome
4. Why is the fat around your waist especially dangerous?
The circumference of your waist helps health professionals determine risk for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. In this case, the fat is stored mainly in adipose tissue in the abdominal region. Because of reasons not well understood, the fat found around your waist releases excess fatty acids into circulation, which overload the tissues with fat—leading to insulin resistance. Women with waist measurement greater than 35 inches and men with a measurement greater than 40 inches are at a higher risk for developing serious health conditions than individuals with a smaller waist measurement.
5. How does a diet high in carbohydrates contribute to insulin resistance?
After a meal, the body first converts the carbohydrates into glucose, which immediately enters the bloodstream. The pancreas senses the rising blood glucose levels and secretes insulin to drive the increased amounts of glucose into the cell to be “burned” for energy. If the cell is insulin resistant, smaller and smaller amounts of glucose enter the cells, resulting in high glucose levels in the blood. This forces the pancreas to produce more and more insulin. This imbalance of glucose and insulin metabolism leads to Type 2 Diabetes.
6. What can you do to prevent or reduce the onset of insulin resistance?
Obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight can be key in preventing insulin resistance. Regular daily exercise, when combined with a diet low in unsaturated fat and consisting of moderate amounts of lean protein and complex carbohydrates has shown to reverse insulin resistance in as little as 2 weeks.
7. What role does weight loss and exercise play in preventing or reducing insulin resistance?
Several studies, including those conducted by the research team at Lindora, suggest that even a weight loss as modest as 10 pounds can improve overall health and result in the following:
• Decreased blood glucose levels (which makes the cells more receptive to receive insulin, thereby decreasing Insulin Resistance.
• Decreased blood lipids ( the accumulation of fat in your blood called triglycerides and therby reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
• Decreased blood pressure, which can prevent the onset of hypertension.
• Improved mobility, making it easier to exercise.
IN CONCLUSION: By reaching and maintaining a normal weight in combination with regular daily exercise, one can PREVENT or delay the onset of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases associated with obesity and the sedentary lifestyle.