15 Feb Insulin Resistance: What is it? And how to get rid of it NOW
Do you have a belly that exceeds your hips?
Do you crave sweets or experience brain fog after a meal?
Are you still hungry after eating?
Answering “yes” to just one of these indicates you may be at risk of insulin resistance (prediabetes). These symptoms may feel overwhelming and distressing, but you are not alone. According to the CDC, 34.2 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 88 million are prediabetic (1).
Despite these frightening statistics, there is some good news.
You can prevent and reverse the distressing symptoms of insulin resistance naturally. Take back the control with strategic diet and lifestyle changes to start feeling like you again and prevent diabetes.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, allows cells in your body to get the glucose they need for energy (2). Essentially, it creates a pathway for glucose to enter your cells.
If someone takes in too many carbohydrates and sugars over a long period, trouble can start to brew. A high intake of these ingredients can wear out insulin, causing the pathway for glucose entry to close. This closure results in your body storing sugars as fats and triglycerides instead of using them for energy. This harmful outcome is called insulin resistance.
With insulin resistance, your cells cannot absorb blood glucose properly to be utilized for energy. This lack of absorption leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood, leading to pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
How do you know if you have insulin resistance? What are the symptoms?
If you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, you can assume that you also have insulin resistance due to their common association.
If you’re still navigating new changes in your body, but aren’t sure of the cause, here are a few common symptoms found in insulin-resistant individuals to look out for:
- Increased Weight (usually appears in the midsection)
- Blood Sugar Imbalances
- High Blood Pressure
- Abnormal Cholesterol Levels
- Heart Disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Insulin Resistance: Why Worry?
Rates of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes continue to rise year after year. Insulin resistance can catapult a person’s body into experiencing chronic health conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Various Cancers
While insulin resistance is exceptionally harmful and delivers problematic consequences, you can also prevent it. Do you have a diagnosis? You can reverse it! There is a solution on the horizon.
As a functional medicine nutritionist and burnout recovery specialist, I can help guide you.
Insulin Resistance: Why the Belly?
Does your midsection exceed your hips? A belly that some may refer to as a potbelly or beer belly?
Whatever you decide to call it, an extended belly is a key indicator of insulin resistance.
Not sure if this applies to you? Look down at your toes and take note of what you see. Your toes or your stomach? How about when you turn to the side? What is the correlation of your belly to the rest of your body? To put it simply; if your stomach exceeds your hips, this discussion likely applies to you.
Your tummy is full of insulin receptors, and insulin is a hormone that stores fat. High insulin levels block your body from burning fat; fat storage increases. It’s a vicious cycle.
The relationship between the belly and insulin resistance is direct; we know that fat cells secrete inflammatory chemicals called adipokines (3). These inflammatory chemicals make your stomach fat unique, differing from every other fat in your body.
The inflamed fat in your stomach sends signals to the rest of your body, resulting in chronic health conditions.
2 Types of Belly Fat
Now we know that belly fat stands apart from other fats in the body, but what exactly does that mean? There are two types of fat found in the abdomen: subcutaneous and visceral. Both play a significant role in developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, various cancer types, and other harmful, chronic conditions.
- Subcutaneous fat: This type of fat lies directly under your skin. It’s also referred to as subcutaneous adipose tissue or subcutaneous fat cells (4).
- Visceral Fat: This type is found mainly around your organs in the abdomen and surrounds internal structures such as the liver, stomach, and intestines. Visceral fat is what we can thank for the infamous “beer belly.” All joking aside, visceral fat is dangerous as it releases inflammation into the body (5).
Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance
Preventing and reversing the devastating consequences of insulin resistance is possible. Take control today and get your body feeling normal again by scheduling your DISCOVERY CALL with Sarah.
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia, another serious condition, occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) level is lower than usual (6). Low blood sugar causes severe strain on the body and can be dangerous. According to the Mayo Clinic, fasting blood sugar levels of 70 mg/dL or below should act as an alert for hypoglycemia (6). However, these numbers can vary from person to person, and you must consult with your medical provider.
A few common symptoms of hypoglycemia are shakiness, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, sweating, and altered mood or thinking after waiting too long for a meal (7).
Here are several questions to ask yourself if you think hypoglycemia applies to you:
- Do you crave sweets?
- Do you feel irritable or get lightheaded when you miss a meal?
- Do you depend on coffee for energy?
- Do you feel like eating food relieves fatigue?
- Do you get easily upset, nervous, or agitated?
- Do you often feel forgetful?
- Do you have trouble staying asleep at night?
- Do you experience jittery sensations?
Hypoglycemia, frequently associated with diabetes, can cause low blood sugar levels in people without diabetes as well. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it might be time to seek help for potential hypoglycemia. Get to the root cause of your unbalanced blood sugar by scheduling your DISCOVERY CALL with Sarah today!
Hypoglycemia: Why Worry?
Hypoglycemia causes a chain reaction in your body. Your adrenal glands release stress hormones to try and eke out stored sugars in your liver and muscles, causing the associated feelings of crankiness and shakiness. Simultaneously, insulin comes into play to try and regulate the out-of-control blood sugar levels. This rollercoaster of a chain reaction is incredibly harmful to your body. It can cause:
- Dampening of short-term memory
- Brain fog
- Excess weight gain
- Insulin Resistance
Blood sugar levels that are severely low can be life-threatening, leading to seizures and damage to the nervous system (7).
The Bottom Line: How can you avoid insulin resistance and pre-diabetes?
Prevent pre-diabetes by making the necessary lifestyle changes. Eating glycemic-balanced meals, eating at least every five hours, and avoiding troublesome products can prevent hypoglycemia and other associated conditions.
Check out a few INS and OUT’S when it comes to food and beverage intake”
- An optimal balance of Lean protein
- Healthy fats
- High fiber
- Hydrate with filtered or spring water
- Regular meals
- High sugar foods
- Excessive carbohydrates
- Sugary drinks
- Skipping meals
In sum, pre-diabetes and insulin resistance are dangerous yet preventable conditions. You can make necessary changes over time, and if pre-diabetes has already occurred, reversing it is possible through diet and lifestyle changes.
Ready to reclaim your vitality? Contact us today at Get Nourished and schedule a consultation to learn more about optimizing your health. My team and I are ready and committed to help you achieve your optimal health.
May you be well & thrive!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services; 2020.
- Morris SY. How Insulin and Glucagon Work. Healthline. n.d. Updated December 21, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/insulin-and-glucagon
- Makki K, Froguel P, Wolowczuk I. Adipose tissue in obesity-related inflammation and insulin resistance: cells, cytokines, and chemokines. ISRN Inflamm. 2013;2013: 139239. Published 2013 Dec 22. doi: 10.1155/2013/139239
- Frothin S. What is subcutaneous fat? Healthline. n.d. Updated July 18, 2018. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/subcutaneous-fat
- Gotter A. Visceral Fat. Healthline. n.d. Updated January 31, 2021. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/visceral-fat
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Hypoglycemia. Mayo Clinic. n.d. Updated March 30, 2020. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373685
- Nall R. Everything You Need to Know About Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Healthline. n.d. Updated November 17, 2021. Accessed December 26, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/hypoglycemia