What You Need to Know About Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is a medical condition finally getting the attention it deserves. So what do you need to know about it and what can you do about it.
One of the great things about the recent attention to insulin resistance is it’s something we can address before it can develop into type 2 diabetes. And if we can diagnose insulin resistance, address it and reverse it, then people might never go on to get type 2 diabetes and will therefore dramatically improve their health.
Some of the important issues in regards to insulin resistance are as follows.
Watch the video below:
Now insulin resistance is fairly prevalent unfortunately. The NHANES data back in 2006 showed a 34% prevalence in the US alone and that’s most likely similar elsewhere in the world. And unfortunately that’s only been increasing since then. For those who are obese, the prevalence is over 50% in adolescence and over 70% in obese women. This is a big issue as insulin resistance is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, as well as conditions such as heart disease and hypertension among others. It may not be a clear cause and effect, but insulin resistance certainly increases the risk of and association with said conditions. And ultimately if there is ANY chance that it’s related to ANY of these conditions you want to get your risk down as low as possible.
How Does It Start?
Basically insulin is critical and we need insulin in our bodies because it helps regulate our glucose or blood sugar. As we eat, our glucose goes up, which causes our insulin to go up to bring the glucose down. It’s a homeostatic mechanism that keeps things in line and in order. The problems comes in when we keep eating and eating and eating, and as a result, insulin has to keep elevating to deal with the excessive glucose levels and this keeps insulin chronically high which is also referred to as hyperinsulinemia. At some point the body sort of “gives up” as it can’t keep up with the workload so to speak and therefore our cells can no longer respond to the insulin as well. As a result of this, glucose levels begin to rise quite high and along with this, insulin levels remain high too which is a very dangerous condition. This can lead to high blood pressure as known as hypertension, type 2 diabetes as well as all of the other conditions mentioned earlier.
The Underlying Cause
The science shows that its fatty acid accumulation in our muscle cells and liver cells. At that you might be thinking that it’s a high fat diet that causes insulin resistance but hold on. When we look at the evidence it does show that a high saturated fat diet is associated with insulin resistance BUT as usual, this is a high fat, high carb, high calorie diet. In that setting, that type of diet can be related to insulin resistance but you know what else is? High sugar, high fructose in the setting of a high calorie diet. But what about a low carb, high fat, not high calorie diet? There is no evidence that this diet is related to insulin resistance. In fact, there is evidence that this type of diet can treat and dramatically improve insulin resistance. So having an accumulation of fatty acids in your muscle and liver cells is NOT a result of eating too much fat. That’s too simplistic and the body doesn’t work that way. Its caloric excess of any kind and increased sugar, fructose and potentially increased polyunsaturated fatty acids from vegetable oils. But a low carb, high fat, high saturated fat diet shows absolutely no evidence of causing insulin resistance.
There aren't that many symptoms just like with type 2 diabetes. It is however associated with abdominal obesity and visceral fat adiposity. A great tool to use to measure this is the height to waist ratio. You measure your waist at the belly button with your abdomen fully relaxed and you divide that by your height. Make sure you measure both in the same units, for instance, inches or centimetres. Ideally this ratio should be less than 0.5, meaning your waist should be less than half your height. For instance, if your height is 70 inches then your waist should be less than 35 inches. Now if your ratio is above 0.5, there’s a good chance that you have more visceral fat accumulation than you should and that you are overweight and are exceeding your personal fat threshold which I discussed in a previous video.
There are some blood tests you can ask your doctor for such as a fasting triglycerides test as high triglycerides can be associated with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. You want this test to be below 150 but ideally below 100. Also checking your fasting lipids specifically your triglyceride to HDL ratio is a good one as this is linearly related to adipocyte size (i.e. fat cell size) and how overfat you are. You want this ratio to be less than 2. Another good measure is fasting insulin which you want to be below 5, but ideally 3 or below. Fasting glucose is not the best measure because once your glucose is too high, you know you are really really over your personal fat threshold and insulin resistance and either diabetic or close to it.
How to Address It
Well basically the way to address it is to reverse the things that caused it. Caloric excess and abdominal obesity cause it so you try to reverse it. Excessive sugar and fructose cause it so try to eliminate or reduce sugar and fructose consumption. That’s where following a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet that is NOT in a caloric excess, which most of these diets aren’t because they are naturally satiating, can be very beneficial in treating and reversing insulin resistance. It’s not the only diet that is effective as there are others that can as well but the key is finding a diet that works for you, you enjoy the meals, allows you to feel full and satiated, allows you to do time restricted eating which addresses insulin resistance very well and ultimately one that you can stick to long term. That’s really the key. This has worked for so many people and the evidence supports it.
If you want to learn how to get started on this, visit my website at http://www.TyronPiteau.com/newsletter and download my “8 Strategies for Lasting Fat Loss and Optimal Health” guide and receive a free 20 minute online consultation.
Hopefully this was helpful on what insulin resistance is, how to address it if you have it or prevent it so you never get it.
If you think anyone may benefit from this, please consider sharing it anywhere on social media as you may help someone resolve their health issue or at a minimum, drastically improve them.
Happy fat loss,