How To Diagnose, Prevent And Treat Insulin Resistance [infographic]
What You Need to Know about Sugar and Insulin Resistance In today’s post our fructose journey comes to a sweet conclusion, with answers to the questions that really matter: How much sugar is safe for you to eat? How much fructose and glucose is in your favorite foods, drinks, and sweeteners? How can you tell if you have insulin resistance (damaged carbohydrate metabolism)? What are some of the common clues? What tests can you ask your doctor to run? What can you do to take control of your health? I’ve included an infographic of 10 simple strategies that go beyond cutting added sugars, to improve your metabolism and prevent/treat common diseases. Earlier in this series we discovered that fructose is not scarier than glucose. In fact, consuming too much glucose is even riskier than consuming too much fructose because glucose is a more powerful trigger for “insulin resistance.” It is excess glucose that raises blood sugar and insulin levels, turns off fat burning, shifts fat and cholesterol production into overdrive, feeds cancer cells, and sets the stage for inflammation throughout the body.1) People with insulin resistance are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future, so insulin resistance is often referred to as “pre-diabetes.” So, should you focus on reducing the amount of glucose-y food you eat and lean towards fructose-y foods instead? Good luck with that…people talk about fructose as though it’s a separate sugar from glucose, but practically speaking, it’s not. In real foods, fructose never exists alone—wherever fructose is, glucose is right there beside it, so it’s not easy to separate them in your diet. Even the vast majority of manufactured foods and beverages contain a mixture of fructose and glucose, as you’ll see in the Continue reading >>
Is Fat Killing You, Or Is Sugar?
In the early nineteen-sixties, when cholesterol was declared an enemy of health, my parents quickly enlisted in the war on fat. Onion rolls slathered with butter, herring in thick cream sauce, brisket of beef with a side of stuffed derma, and other staples of our family cuisine disappeared from our table. Margarine dethroned butter, vinegar replaced cream sauce, poached fish substituted for brisket. I recall experiencing something like withdrawal, daydreaming about past feasts as my stomach grumbled. My father’s blood-cholesterol level—not to mention that of his siblings and friends—became a regular topic of conversation at the dinner table. Yet, despite the restrictive diet, his number scarcely budged, and a few years later, in his mid-fifties, he had a heart attack and died. The dangers of fat haunted me after his death. When, in my forties, my cholesterol level rose to 242—200 is considered the upper limit of what’s healthy—I embarked on a regimen that restricted fatty foods (and also cut down on carbohydrates). Six months later, having shed ten pounds, I rechecked my level. It was unchanged; genes have a way of signalling their power. But as soon as my doctor put me on just a tiny dose of a statin medication my cholesterol plummeted more than eighty points. In recent decades, fat has been making a comeback. Researchers have questioned whether dietary fat is necessarily dangerous, and have shown that not all fats are created equal. People now look for ways of boosting the “good cholesterol” in their blood and extol the benefits of Mediterranean diets, with their emphasis on olive oil and fatty nuts. In some quarters, blame for obesity and heart disease has shifted from fat to carbohydrates. The Atkins diet and, more recently, the paleo diet have popul Continue reading >>
Dear Mark: Does Eating A Low Carb Diet Cause Insulin Resistance?
157 Comments Despite all the success you might have had with the Primal way of life, doubts can still nag at you. Maybe it’s something you read, or something someone said to you, or a disapproving glance or offhand comment from a person you otherwise respect, but it’s pretty common when you’re doing something, like giving up grains, avoiding processed food, or eating animal fat, that challenges deeply-and-widely held beliefs about health and wellness. It doesn’t really even matter that you’re losing weight or seem to be thriving; you may still have questions. That’s healthy and smart, and it’s totally natural. A question I’ve been getting of late is the effect of reducing carb intake on insulin sensitivity. It’s often bandied about that going low carb is good for folks with insulin resistance, but it’s also said that low carb can worsen insulin resistance. Are both true and, if so, how do they all jibe together? That’s what the reader was wondering with this week’s question: Hi Mark, I’ve been Primal for a few months now and love it. Lowering my carbs and upping my animal fat helped me lose weight and gain tons of energy (not too shabby for a middle-aged guy!). However, I’m a little worried. I’ve heard that low carb diets can increase insulin resistance. Even though I’ve done well and feel great, should I be worried about insulin resistance? Do I need to increase my carb intake? I always thought low carb Primal was supposed to improve insulin function. Vince Going Primal usually does improve insulin sensitivity, both directly and in a roundabout way. It improves directly because you lose weight, you reduce your intake of inflammatory foods, you lower systemic inflammation (by getting some sun, smart exercise, omega-3s, and reducing or dea Continue reading >>
How A High-calorie Diet Causes Insulin Resistance
We were never meant to eat this many calories. It’s too much for the body to handle. The current rate of obesity and number of people who are overweight are unlike anything we as humans have ever experienced in our two million years of evolution. Processed foods, with their enormous calorie counts, are a completely modern phenomenon. If you look back at the wisdom of our ancestors, they knew that overeating was bad for your health. Eating smaller meals was common sense to them. “Today, it seems we’ve forgotten a lot of that ancient wisdom. One of the consequences of our amnesia is Insulin Resistance”, says George Blackburn MD, PhD, one of the world’s leading experts on insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. “Basically, overeating calories causes the cell to become disrupted and brings on insulin resistance.” From Your Plate into Your Cells When you eat a meal, the nutrients in that meal are absorbed by your small intestine and then released into your bloodstream. Once in your blood, the carbohydrates from your meal are converted into sugar molecules, i.e. glucose, which is your body’s preferred fuel. The fat in your meal becomes fatty acids, or triglycerides, in your blood. These triglycerides are stored in your tissues as fat, which is a backup source of energy in the event that calorie consumption falls. Your brain recognizes the arrival of glucose in your system and responds by telling your pancreas to produce insulin. Once secreted, insulin flows to your cells, where it binds with insulin-receptors on the cell membrane. The insulin stimulates these receptors, which triggers a cascade that allows glucose to enter the cell’s mitochondria, the furnace inside your cell Continue reading >>
Eating Healthy Carbs: Carbohydrates And Insulin Resistance
Carbs consumption and its effect on obesity has been a very controversial topic for a long time. Even today, there is a lot of contradictory information published in scientific journals and, what’s worse, public policies are still based on data that has been proven wrong. This has led to a massive epidemic of obesity in western countries. Everything began when the classic food pyramid was constructed based on a flawed study led by Ancel Keys that showed a correlation between fat consumption and coronary diseases… Now, with perspective, we see that this study was poorly designed (it used only 7 countries to draw its conclusions) and extremely biased (if a different cohort of countries had been chosen, results would have been the opposite) and it was not until recently that the hypothesis has been refuted. Carbs and obesity In a recent counter-strike, nutritionists pointed to the high-carb diet as being the main cause of obesity because of its effects on insulin levels. Insulin is the hormone that controls carbohydrate assimilation in our body. However, insulin has one side effect: when there are a lot of carbs in our diet, insulin triggers glucose metabolism, and then the accumulation of fat in the adipocytes (fat cells). This hypothesis, discussed in the book Good Calories, Bad Calories by science author Gary Taubes, was truly a breakthrough, as it was the first to highlight the failures in addressing diets exclusively by the laws of thermodynamics (caloric intake vs. caloric burn), and that diets should also be guided by the laws of biology as well as these three statements: Insulin blocks the body’s ability to burn fat. The more insulin there is, the harder it is to burn fat. Insulin changes the body’s metabolism and its hunger responses. Carbohydrates, especi Continue reading >>
Abdominal Fat & Insulin Resistance
If you have insulin resistance, you’re not alone -- this disorder of the body’s endocrine system affects up to 80 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. If untreated, insulin resistance can develop into serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Because increased belly fat is one of the primary risk factors, treatment for insulin resistance involves lifestyle changes such as losing weight and exercising. Video of the Day Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle, fat and liver cells don’t respond normally to insulin, requiring your pancreas to produce increasing amounts of insulin to help blood glucose enter cells so it can be used as energy. All that excess glucose builds up in your bloodstream and can lead to diabetes and other diseases. Scientists have also learned that abdominal fat cells can disrupt the normal balance and functioning of hormones such as leptin and adiponectin, which are thought to play a role in your body’s response to insulin, according to Harvard University Medical School. Left untreated, insulin resistance not only causes diabetes, but it can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, although the relationship between insulin resistance and the development of these conditions isn't yet known, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The AAFP also notes there is a strong relationship between abdominal obesity and the degree of insulin resistance, regardless of how much you weigh overall. To estimate your level of abdominal obesity, you can use the waist-hip ratio by measuring your waist at its narrowest point, usually just above the belly button, and your hips at their fullest point around the buttocks. Then, you divide your waist measureme Continue reading >>
A Practical Guide To Carb Tolerance And Insulin Sensitivity
One of the biggest reasons why people go Paleo is the metabolic benefits. Most people find Paleo to be very therapeutic for a whole cluster of carb-related problems: high blood sugar (or the rollercoaster of highs and lows), insulin resistance, and all the related issues. These issues can make weight loss difficult or impossible, but on the flip side, addressing them through diet can make it easier and more pleasant than you ever thought could happen! On the other hand, though, there are a lot of myths and half-truths floating around about diet, exercise, and carb metabolism. So here’s a quick review of what it all means, and the evidence supporting various different complementary strategies for improving your carb tolerance (preview: it’s so much more than dietary carbs). Note: This article is not written for diabetics. Diabetes is a very complicated disease and strategies that are right for other people might not be appropriate. If you have diabetes, see a doctor! What Is “Carb Tolerance”/Insulin Sensitivity? (If you already know how insulin and glucose work, this section has nothing new for you; just skip down to the next one) Very simply put, insulin sensitivity (or “carb tolerance” in everyday language) is a healthy hormonal state that allows your body to digest and store carbohydrates without a problem. In healthy people, here’s how it works: You eat something with carbs (let’s say a potato, but it could be anything). Your digestive system breaks down the starch in that potato into glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar – this is the form of carbohydrate that you’ll either use for energy or store as fat. Your blood sugar temporarily rises as the glucose enters the bloodstream. This is not a big problem, because… Insulin (produced in the pancreas) Continue reading >>
- Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Fight Diabetes!
Insulin Resistance And The Foods We Eat
POST SUMMARY: What this means for you… If you suspect you have insulin resistance, or may someday, you need to scrutinize the type and amount of carbohydrates you’re eating. Try replacing the starchiest (e.g. bread) with natural fatty foods (e.g. an egg or avocado, or a handful of olives). Start with breakfast. Start today. If you’re still afraid of dietary fat (many are), just keep telling yourself “fat doesn’t increase insulin!” Spoiler Alert: It’s All About The Fat Through a number of blog posts, I highlight several causes of insulin resistance, including inflammation, oxidative stress, genetics, etc. But the elephant in the room is the food we eat. Food is the culprit and the cure; whether it’s the culprit or the cure depends on whether it increases or decreases insulin, respectively. Once we appreciate that too much insulin causes insulin resistance, we must consume foods that help keep insulin in control. Dietary protein elicits a mild insulin effect (about 2-3 times above normal), carbohydrate (depending on the carbohydrate) can elicit a remarkable increase in insulin (>10 times above normal), while dietary fat elicits no effect at all. Thus, a diet that restricts the insulin spiker (carbohydrate) and increases the insulin dampener (fat) is one that will improve insulin sensitivity. Dramatic Changes Over the millennia that passed from early man until now, the greatest change in eating came from the establishment of agriculture and the subsequent shift in nutrients from a diet high in fat to one high in carbohydrate. Restricting carbohydrates was perhaps the first modern documented intervention to control diabetes and weight and was accepted as fact throughout Western Europe in the early and mid 1800’s. Why such a paradigm fell out of favor and w Continue reading >>
The Hidden Culprit Behind Diabetes
“Refined sugar” is a phrase that strikes fear in our hearts. As consumers, we’re all too familiar with America’s war on sugar. Deemed a “silent killer,” sugar is identified as a major cause of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The past decade has seen a cascade of sugar substitutes, including Splenda and a slew of other trendy packets that cheerfully promise “sugar free.” Is this really the entire story, though? For diabetics, and for those of us who want to maintain our health, there is yet another line on the nutrition label that is far too often overlooked. Most people in America are aware of the dangers of type II diabetes. After all, almost one in every ten people in the country is diabetic. One in every five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes. There’s no question about it — this disease is a national problem. Type II diabetes is characterized by the body’s impaired ability to respond to insulin and subsequently metabolize sugar, or glucose. Ideally, whenever we eat, our bodies break food down into glucose, which is absorbed into the blood and taken up by muscle cells to be stored or burned for energy. There’s a catch, though. Glucose in the blood needs a key to get into our cells, and that key is insulin. Cells in the pancreas, called beta cells, are responsible for the secretion of insulin that regulates our blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are always elevated from eating refined sugar, over time, the body stops responding to insulin — a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the start of a vicious cycle that leads to chronically elevated blood sugar levels. Because no sugar can enter cells, they are starved of energy, leading to damage to the eyes, kidneys, brain, and heart. I Continue reading >>
Fat And Insulin Sensitivity
Chris, from Westcountry CrossFit shot me a question about the recent PaleoDiet Newsletter. If you have not subscribed to the newsletter and/or read all the archives you are REALLY missing out! So, here is that most recent PDNL and Chriss’ question: “Insulin resistance is thought to be an important contributing factor to the modern diseases of civilization such as metabolic syndrome, blood lipid disorders, hypertension, obesity and type II diabetes.1 Although genetics play a role in insulin resistance, the observation that obesity and diabetes are increasing at alarming rates worldwide suggests that there are vital environmental factors that also need to be considered.2 Although carbohydrates play an integral role in insulin resistance by elevating glucose levels, there is also strong evidence that the amount and quality of free fatty acids consumed contributes to insulin sensitivity.3 It has been shown in rats that under certain circumstances, free fatty acids are required for glucose-stimulated insulin resistance. Essentially, when rats are infused with a high level of glucose, in the absence of fatty acids, the insulin response is non-existent.4 In contrast, when this occurs in the presence of high levels of free fatty acids, glucose-stimulated insulin resistance is extremely elevated. It was shown in these studies on rats that the amount of saturation of the fatty acid was also correlated with insulin secretion.5 The more saturated the fat, the higher the insulin burst. Thus, in rats, it seems that free fatty acids are vit al to produce glucose-stimulated insulin resistance, and, of these, saturated fats have the most detrimental effects. Whether this occurs in humans was investigated by Vessby et al. (2001), who established that the amount and quality of fat in Continue reading >>
- Effects of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Why High-Fat vs. Low-Fat Dairy May Be Better Suited for Those with Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease
I Don't Think The Type Of Fat Matters, And There Is Not Evidence That Even Saturated Fat Causes Insulin Resistance -- Nutritionfacts Is A Vegan Propaganda Site.
@ all three of you, I agree that Dr. Greger is a little too on the "plant based" side of things. Dr. Greger recently said that he has been "plant based" since 1990. But I found a video from 2008 where he is overweight. If he has been plant based for at that point, 18 years, why was he overweight? He's now lean but it is still weird. Now, believe me, I am not happy about the possibility that saturated fat can cause diabetes. We all know PUFA is bad but saturated fat? Please, no. I would love to keep eating plenty of ice cream, cream cheese and sour cream on my potatoes, fatty cuts of beef, butter on everything, bacon (though high pufa), I would love to keep eating those foods. But if those foods are going to make me a diabetic then I have no choice but to limit them. I'm not willing to just keeping eating them, and then one day having to take diabetes drugs and/or injections. You see, I'm not dogmatic. I'm not going to just accept that saturated fat is completely okay to eat large amounts of with no consequences. My experience has shown me otherwise as well. It was cheese, whole milk, and added cream to coffee and other things that caused me to gain fat. Bobby Fatkins, IIRC, your fasting glucose was on the high side. And you other two, if you're not willing to post your fasting glucose then simply just saying "this is veg propaganda" doesn't address the actual claims, and you provide nothing, while claiming to eat high amounts of sat. fat. I'm trying to move away from being like that, because thats all I used to be when I had my blinders on. Be objective. Continue reading >>
The Ketogenic Diet And Insulin Resistance
We recently touched on how you can use the ketogenic diet to control symptoms of diabetes such as elevated glucose and triglycerides. In this article, we examine research showing the impact that the ketogenic diet has on levels of the hormone insulin, a key regulator of blood sugar in the body. What is Insulin’s Role in the Body? Before we look at the research, we need to know our main players. Insulin is a protein-based hormone produced by beta-cells located in the pancreas. The pancreas, which is located under the stomach, also produces enzymes that aid with digestion. Insulin’s primary purpose is to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates, such as sugars and starches, into a molecule called glucose. This compound can be used by cells to produce energy through a process called cellular respiration. Insulin allows cells in the body absorb glucose, ultimately lowering levels of glucose in the blood stream. After a meal is consumed, blood glucose levels increase and the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the blood. Insulin assists fat, liver, and muscle cells absorb glucose from the blood, resulting in lower levels of blood glucose. Insulin stimulates liver and muscle tissues to store excess glucose as a molecule called glycogen and also reduces glucose production by the liver. When blood sugar is low, the hormone glucagon (produced by alpha-cells in the pancreas) stimulate cells to break down glycogen into glucose that is subsequently released into the blood stream. In healthy people who do not have type II diabetes, these functions allow levels of blood glucose and insulin to stay in a normal range. What Is Insulin Resistance and Why Is It a Problem? Unfortunately, for many Americans and other peopl Continue reading >>
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
Michael: You wrote: ” Part of the question in my mind are the relative benefits of higher HDL vs lower LDL; a topic I would love to see taken up on a NF video.” I have suggested that this be a topic of future videos. In the meantime, below is some information I’ve gathered about HDL which may be helpful to you. . **************** I am not an expert on the topic of HDL, but some of my favorite NutritionFacts forum members and some experts have had a thing or two to say on the matter. BOTTOM LINE: I synthesize the information below to mean we do not need to worry about HDL levels or HDL falling in the context of a whole plant food based diet, when LDL goes down or is already at a healthy level. . In other words, if you have high/unsafe cholesterol levels (total and LDL) overall, then also having high HDL can be protective (especially if you got that high HDL through exercise or some other healthy behavior rather than diet). But in the face of healthy LDL levels, the HDL level doesn’t seem to matter. I may be wrong about this, but see what you think. ************************************ . First, check out the following article from heart health expert Dean Ornish. He does a great job of explaining the role of HDL and when we need to worry about it’s levels vs when we do not. “A low HDL in the context of a healthy low-fat diet has a very different prognostic significance than a low HDL in someone eating a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.” . Two of our more knowledgable forum particpants, Gatherer and Darryl, have put together for us some of the strongest evidence–a list of good studies. Gatherer wrote (from comment ) : . “”Don’t put too much stock in HDL levels. Here is a news release “Raising ‘good’ cholesterol doesn’t protect against heart di Continue reading >>
The Role Of Fatty Acids In Insulin Resistance
Abstract Insulin resistance is a multi-faceted disruption of the communication between insulin and the interior of a target cell. The underlying cause of insulin resistance appears to be inflammation that can either be increased or decreased by the fatty acid composition of the diet. However, the molecular basis for insulin resistance can be quite different in various organs. This review deals with various types of inflammatory inputs mediated by fatty acids, which affect the extent of insulin resistance in various organs. Keywords Insulin resistanceInflammationFatty acidsPalmitic acidOmega-3 fatty acidsHypothalamusAdipose tissueLiverMuscleEndotoxemia Introduction The human body has developed an extraordinary number of systems to maintain stable blood glucose and to avoid broad swings in its level. These systems include hormones that are directly or indirectly generated by the diet. These hormones sense dietary nutrients and send appropriate neural signals to the brain (specifically the hypothalamus) to orchestrate fuel usage for either oxidation into energy or long-term storage. The central hormone involved in this metabolic communication system is insulin. However, increased inflammation can disturb these complex communication systems eventually leading to metabolic defects (obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes). Insulin is the primary regulator of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism [1–3]. It inhibits lipolysis of stored fat in the adipose tissue and gluconeogenesis in the liver, it stimulates the translocation of the GLUT-4 protein to bring glucose into the muscle cells along with gene expression of proteins required for the optimal cellular function, cellular repair, and growth, and it indicates the metabolic availability of various fuels to the brain. Continue reading >>
Is Your Low Carb Diet Making You Metabolically Inflexible?
The answer for a lot of people is “Yes.” Let me explain both kinds of insulin resistance and pay particular note to the italicized portion at the bottom. Once again “eat less do less” isn’t helping but leaving out carbs actually harms your cells and the result is a withering metabolism. I wrote this about a year and a half ago and I (actually my editor at the time and I) use the word toxin pretty freely. Since then I have come to think the word toxin is overused and is often the defense of someone that really doesn’t know what they are talking about. Insulin Resistance With the growing population of type 2 diabetes, most everyone has been informed of insulin resistance yet it is poorly understood. The result of excessive intakes of empty carbohydrate foods lacking vitamins and minerals leads to jacked up blood sugar levels. These constantly jacked up blood sugars lead to chronically elevated insulin levels because insulin and blood glucose should rise in a relatively similar fashion but not ALWAYS be high. The result of inadequate vitamins and minerals (namely magnesium) leaves an exhausted liver and pancreas; two crucial organs to insulin’s stability and reliance. Chronically elevated blood gucose is toxic and inflammatory. The inflammation centers itself in the abdominal cavity and arteries, focusing on the liver and pancreas and widening to other parts of the body as it progresses. The body handles toxins by storing them in the body. This leaves your fat stores full of toxins. Your organs become ‘fatty.’ You store excess body fat. This is metabolic syndrome. Many doctors are forced to inform their patients these days of their ‘fatty livers.’ Over time, an overworked body with excessive glucose becomes insulin resistant which is a precursor to ty Continue reading >>