Insulin resistance (also known as pre-diabetes) doesn’t happen overnight. When your diet consists mostly of carbohydrates like pasta, rice, bread, and potatoes, an abundance of rapidly absorbed sugars, and empty calories, your cells slowly become resistant to the effects of insulin; hence the term ‘insulin resistance’.
When you eat in this manner your body demands more insulin to do the same job of keeping your blood sugar even and eventually your cells become resistant to insulin’s effects. The higher your insulin levels are, the worse your insulin resistance and your body starts to take a slow decline. Insulin resistance is the most important phenomenon that predisposes you to rapid aging and all its resultant terrifying diseases that include heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia.
Insulin resistance is often accompanied by central obesity (belly fat), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, feeling tired after meals, sugar cravings and increased inflammation.
Even without these warning signs, getting your fasting insulin checked can determine your predisposition to diabetes. It is not good enough to just have your blood sugar checked as it is the last thing to increase, so for many people a fasting blood sugar test detects diabetes too late.
Many of my patients have normal blood sugar levels, but very high insulin levels, yet they have not been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
I recommend testing for insulin resistance in individuals that are over the age of 50, have a family history of type 2 diabetes/non-insulin dependent diabetes, with central abdominal weight gain, and/or raised cholesterol.
If you have high insulin it is important to eliminate the things that send your body out of balance and include things that help your body to restore itself. The following interventions can be extremely powerful in normalising insulin levels:
- Eating whole, fresh foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and good quality animal proteins.
- Removing all refined sugars from your diet and replace it with natural sugars such as xylitol or honey (in moderation).
- Increase fibre-rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes as these foods slow absorption into the bloodstream from the gut.
- Get enough sleep as studies have shown that even a partial night of poor sleep contributes to high insulin levels.
- Address nutrient deficiencies. A deficiency in any nutrient can slow your biochemistry and cause your blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels to become imbalanced.
- Exercise makes your cells more sensitive to insulins effects.
- Control your stress levels as a chronically elevated cortisol levels elevates your blood sugar levels and promotes the accumulation of tummy fat. Find what works for you – yoga, exercise, meditation etc.
Need your insulin checked and additional guidance? Come and see me.