By Claire McDonnell Liu, Nutritionist at Leafie.org
Insulin Resistance is where the body does not respond effectively to the hormone insulin.
The hormone insulin regulates the amount of glucose circulating in the bloodstream. Carbohydrate foods and drinks are broken down into glucose. The glucose produced enters into the bloodstream, which raises our blood glucose levels. The pancreas responds by secreting insulin into the bloodstream, this allows the glucose to move into cells to be used as energy.
In a person with Insulin Resistance, the pancreas needs to produce and release more insulin than usual to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Over time the pancreas becomes unable to maintain the production of extra insulin needed to compensate for the body’s increasing resistance to insulin. This can result in consistently elevated blood glucose levels, which can lead to excess body weight and a host of serious health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Dr Jason Fung – A New Paradigm of Insulin Resistance
Dr Fung presents on the pathways of insulin resistance, arising from a long term diet high in carbohydrates, leading to high insulin levels, obesity, fatty liver and ultimately insulin resistance over time. Dr Fung explains how diabetes type 2 can be reversed with diet changes, by demonstrating the ‘insulin resistance overflow paradigm’ and how mainstream medication treatment progresses rather than improves the disease.
Insulin Resistance Indicators
People may be insulin resistant for years without knowing it, as insulin resistance is not routinely tested for.
With insulin resistance comes an increased risk of developing obesity, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Some of the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance may include:
- Abdominal fat
Waistline measurements are an indicator of susceptibility to insulin resistance. A waistline over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women, as a general guide, could be an indicator of visceral fat in and around inner organs.
- High blood pressure. Readings of 130/85 mmHg or higher
- High fasting blood glucose. Levels over 100 mg/dL.
- High fasting triglyceride levels of 150mg/dL or higher.
- Low HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol level under 40mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women.
- Skin tags: small skin growths may appear in different areas of the body.
- Dark skin patches called ‘acanthosis nigricans’: often on the armpits, back of the neck and groin.
Dr Ted Naiman ‘Insulin Resistance’
In his presentation Dr Ted Naiman sets out how insulin resistance is measured. Dr Naiman also explains the genetic factors that predetermine differing adipocytes levels before insulin resistance and diabetes are induced.
Reversing Insulin Resistance with Low Carb Diet
Carbohydrate restriction may help prevent or reverse insulin resistance and diabetes. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of insulin in our bodies, whilst limiting carbohydrate intake can lead to reduced insulin levels.
Low carb diets are also highly effective at producing weight loss. Reducing body weight, particularly visceral fat, the fat stored deep inside the belly, wrapped around the organs, including the liver and intestines is a key factor in reducing insulin resistance.
There is also some interest in whether a Ketogenic diet can improve insulin resistance directly due to the presence of ketones, unrelated to the reduction in carbohydrates taken in (Newman, 2014).