Insulin Resistance

So all you hear off us guys is to cut out the starchy carbs and sugar laden foods, most people think we say this just to lose body fat and improve aesthetically which is also correct, however the underlying health factors of a diet that contains too many carbohydrates, lack of exercise and high stress levels are very serious! The so-called diabetes epidemic has made headlines, and for good reason. The number of cases of type 2 diabetes (the most common type) is exploding, and many more people are in line for developing the disease. At the core is a condition called insulin resistance. Most people don’t know they have it or that that the bad or wrong kind of carbs contribute to it (higher on the GI/GL scale shown below).

We’re constantly told that carbohydrates are the good guys of nutrition, and that, if we eat large amounts of them, the world should be a better place. In such a world, the experts tell us, there will be no heart disease and no obesity. Overeating carbohydrate foods can prevent a higher percentage of fats from being used for energy, and lead to a decrease in endurance and an increase in fat storage. We have already dispelled the myth of eating fat does not make you fat in the June 2011 monthly newsletter. It’s your body’s response to excess carbohydrates in your diet that makes you fat. Regarding eating too many carbs, the body has a limited capacity to store excess carbohydrates, but it can easily convert those excess carbohydrates into excess body fat. They key is to understand that not all carbohydrates are equal; we will cover how to make the best possible choices when it comes to your carbohydrate intake.

One of the very serious side effects of a diet like this can be IR (Insulin Resistance) which is the first stage of Type 2 Diabetes; once you become IR you are on a fast road to Type 2 Diabetes.

Signs & Symptoms of IR

  1. Fatigue.
  2. Brain fogginess and inability to focus.
  3. High blood sugar.
  4. Intestinal bloating – most intestinal gas is produced from carbohydrates in the diet, mostly those that people cannot digest and absorb.
  5. Sleepiness, especially after meals.
  6. Weight gain, fat storage, difficulty losing weight – for most people, excess weight is from high fat storage; the fat in IR is generally stored in and around abdominal organs in both males and females.
  7. Increased blood triglyceride levels.
  8. Increased blood pressure. Many people with hypertension are either diabetic or pre-diabetic and have elevated insulin levels due to insulin resistance. One of insulin’s effects is to control arterial wall tension throughout the body.
  9. Depression. Due to the deranged metabolism resulting from insulin resistance, psychological effects, including depression, are not uncommon.
  10. Increased hunger.

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it properly. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps the body use glucose for energy. Glucose is a form of sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. The body’s digestive system breaks food down into glucose, which then travels in the bloodstream to cells throughout the body. Glucose in the blood is called blood glucose, also known as blood sugar. As the blood glucose level rises after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin to help cells take in and use the glucose. When people are insulin resistant, their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin.

Eat the right carbohydrates moving forward!

Don’t worry there are many things you can be doing to help you out with IR or becoming IR, low Glycemic index & load, a low carb lifestyle and also certain supplements (magnesium) have shown to have positive effects on IR.

Food choices are paramount if you do not want to become IR, we recommend choosing foods that are lower in the scale of Glycemic Index & Glycemic load. The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrates according to how fast they raise blood sugar. The Glycemic Load (GL) takes into account not only the Glycemic Index (GI) or how quickly the carbohydrate is absorbed, but also takes into account the amount of it that you eat, and so is a much better indicator of its actual effect on the body.

The great thing about eating a low GI/GL diet is that it is easier to stay on because it doesn’t send your blood sugar sky high, the bonus about this is you are less likely to experience the 3-4pm crashes and cravings that come from the blood sugar sky rocketing. Secondly if you can keep your blood sugar levels steady, this has a very positive effect on your fat storing hormone – insulin.

Below is a table of the Glycemic Load (50g portions):