Part 1: What is Insulin Resistance~and do you have it?
Updated: May 31
2-Part Series: Coach Lisa Carroll here to give you the Lowdown on Insulin Resistance. We'll be discussing what it is, it's effects, and how you can heal.
I am absolutely passionate about educating others on Insulin Resistance and its effects on the human body. So I'm here today to shed some light on the subject!
Insulin Resistance is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions existing today
and it is the largest underlying cause of most the health problems we experience
on a day-to-day basis.
Can’t lose weight no matter how hard you try? See other people having great success, and all the while, you are stuck?
Ever wonder why?
Do you have any of the following:
An inability to lose weight An inability to lose belly fat Acne or Cystic acne Unwanted facial hair Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome High Blood Pressure High cholesterol Fatty Liver Disease Fatty tumors (lipomas) Inflammation Fluid Retention Gout Sleep Apnea Skin tags Discoloration in the folds of your skin
Tired after eating Swollen in your belly (especially after eating) Not satisfied after eating On Keto & still craving sweets (especially after a meal) Experiencing excessive urination at night Unable to go very long without eating
These are all signs of Insulin Resistance.
What you may be surprised to learn is this: You don’t have a weight problem. You have an insulin dysregulation problem, and you just might have Insulin Resistance (IR)!
What is Insulin Resistance (IR)?
Insulin resistance is a condition whereby the body blocks or resists the effects of insulin in the cells. When insulin is blocked, and can’t open the cells, the pancreas is signaled to make more (sometimes upward of 5-10 X more than that of a normal person). The increased production may help to open the cells right now, but over time it makes the condition worse. What you have is too much insulin outside the cell, and a cell starving from lack of nutrients on the inside. This condition sets off a vicious cycle that, if not corrected, worsens over time. Insulin resistance, left untreated, leads to Type II Diabetes.
What’s really unfortunate is physicians don’t routinely test insulin levels unless they see high blood sugar issues. Nevertheless, here’s a startling fact: you can have high insulin, and that insulin, in turn, can be driving your blood sugars down. Essentially, in the earlier stages of IR, when you have your blood sugar checked it may never show as abnormal, even though there is definitely something abnormal happening in your body. The reality is, it’s often the excess insulin pushing those sugars down to a “perceived normal,” when a closer look would reveal that they are not normal at all!
Sometimes there’s so much circulating insulin it pushes the blood sugars too low, and you may experience episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Often, when a physician sees this, he or she will treat the hypoglycemia, and encourage you to increase your carbohydrate content or the frequency of your meals, which only exasperates the underlying insulin problem. Once again, the underlying issue of Insulin Resistance goes untreated, and over time will get worse and worse.
What causes Insulin Resistance?
The simple answer is: Too much insulin!
When a body overproduces insulin, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the cells to open and take in energy from the blood stream. Over time, the cells start requiring more and more insulin to open, which then leads to further overproduction. While there can be several underlying health conditions that put your body on the path to insulin resistance, the most common cause is excessive carbohydrate consumption.
How can I know for sure that I have Insulin Resistance?
1) Fasting Insulin test
2) Look down. Do you have a belly?
If you answered yes to number 2, it’s highly likely you have some degree of Insulin Resistance. Otherwise, that belly would not be there! It should be noted that most people with belly fat usually also have fattier livers. Generally speaking, people with IR have liver fat, and vice versa; there is a strongly suggested, mutual causality between the two. Both conditions are, separately, very difficult to deal with. Combined, it’s that much tougher to get a handle on your health!
What triggers insulin?
Consuming sugar of any kind triggers insulin
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a major offender
Consuming hidden sugar triggers insulin
There are tons of these and you would do well to familiarize yourself with the many names various food manufacturer’s use to disguise of sugar.
Consuming artificial sweeteners can trigger insulin
Any taste of sweet on the tongue can trigger insulin. “Oh no,” you ask, “does my sugar substitute trigger insulin?” Does it taste sweet? Then, yes, it can.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Modified Food Starch-triggers insulin (up to 300%)
MSG is a common additive in many foods, including restaurant preparations.
Large amounts of protein
Consuming over 7 ounces in a sitting can spike Insulin by 200%.
Low fat or lean proteins
The more concentrated the protein (think whey, or egg whites) the higher the insulin response.
Snacking between meals
If you tend to snack, graze or stretch out your meals (graze) this will keep insulin high all day long.
Eating, in general, will trigger insulin.
Every time you eat, you trigger insulin. Carbohydrates cause the highest insulin response. Next up is protein, the insulinogenic effects of which are about 50% less than that of carbs. Lastly, there’s fat; most pure fat barely moves insulin, and that makes it the perfect fuel choice for those in a ketogenic state.
Cortisol is a stress hormone and increases insulin. It should be noted that physicians often use a synthetic version of steroids or Prednisone, and this significantly increases glucose triggering insulin.
Although this sounds like a given taking insulin actually increases insulin, and actually causes more Insulin Resistance.
Estrogen increases insulin, and insulin increases estrogen. This can be a vicious cycle.
Diuretics, high blood pressure pills, steroids, and birth control pills can worsen Insulin Resistance. Please do not stop taking your medications; cessation of prescription medication should always be supervised by a physician. Staying on a well-formulated ketogenic diet will work its own magic in decreasing or eliminating the conditions that require the use of certain medications. Again, always consult with your primary care physician.
Coffee can stimulate insulin in some, particularly if you are already Insulin Resistant.
What does all this talk about insulin have to do with weight loss?
People do what they do, but they don’t often understand why the do it. What do I mean by that? We frequently see people start the Ketogenic Diet because they want to lose weight, or because it seems like a good thing to do, but they don’t often understand the mechanics of keto.
Why do we need very low carbs?
Why must we absolutely moderate protein?
Why is fat important?
The answer to all of these questions is: because of the insulin! Insulin is your “Fat Storing Hormone.” It increases glucose and fat in the cells, and prevents fat burning, making it the main hormonal driver in weight gain. A well-formulated Ketogenic Diet significantly lowers insulin levels. This factor is important to weight loss, because in those with insulin resistance, it takes consistently lowered insulin levels in order to lose weight!
In insulin resistant folks, lowering the body’s carbohydrates between 0- 20 total grams allows the body to shift into ketosis. Moderating protein then allows just enough protein to fuel the muscles and cells so that there’s no overage that can stimulate any excessive insulin release. We are then able to redirect your body’s fuel source once again to the preferred state of burning fat.
Sometimes, for insulin resistant people, a Macro Evaluation is in order to pinpoint more accurate ratios. The level of insulin resistance will determine the macronutrients when it comes to carbs and protein tolerance. Some have to reduce one or both to be able to tap into stored body fat. This is where working with a Coach can really help you to dial your diet in so that you can break the cycle of Insulin Resistance and join others in achieving ketogenic success.
Want to learn to do Keto or Reverse Insulin Resistance? Check out my Quick-Start Online Course.
PLEASE if you feel like you may be suffering from Insulin Resistance, reach out to me and let's chat. Your initial consultation is absolutely FREE!