Every time you eat carbs, your blood sugar increases, which triggers your pancreas to produce insulin to transport that increased blood sugar either into your muscles for fuel or into your fat cells for storage. When you habitually overeat carbs, you can create stress on your pancreas and cause insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. In other words, your body’s normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. Because higher levels of insulin become necessary for insulin to have it’s proper effects, the pancreas has to work harder and harder to make more insulin than normal to move blood glucose (sugar) out of the blood stream and into cells and tissue to be used for energy. This eventually causes harm to the pancreas.
Insulin resistance can also damage blood vessels without you realizing it. When this happens, your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke increases.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 sedentary lifestyle.