Why Insulin Resistance Is Good
We’re always told that insulin resistance is the root cause of diabetes type 2. But that may be wrong. Insulin resistance could be a GOOD thing. Dr. Fung explains it well in this insightful new post. Basically, insulin resistance is the way the cells protect themselves from excess insulin and glucose in the blood (the real problem): Dr. Fung: Insulin Resistance is Good? I love Dr. Fung’s take on inflammation in this post as well. It has bothered me for quite some time when people claim that inflammation is the cause of X (i.e. heart disease). Inflammation is usually a symptom of a problem, it’s the body’s default response to damage. The cause is something else. In the case of heart disease the cause is damage to the interior of the blood vessels. This damage results in inflammation – but that’s just a symptom. The cause of the damage? Many things. High blood sugar. High blood pressure. Toxic chemicals (e.g. from smoking). And probably oxidized small dense LDL particles. Excess bad carbs can be behind all these causes of heart disease, except perhaps smoking. The thing is that we can’t solve the problem by attacking a symptom of the problem. Diabetes type 2 can’t be cured by targeting insulin resistance. Heart disease can’t be cured by targeting inflammation. We need to take away the cause, which in many cases is eating too many bad carbs, too often (a normal Western diet). More How to Cure Diabetes How to Lose Weight Continue reading >>
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 >>
Prediabetes & Insulin Resistance
What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach. The pancreas contains clusters of cells called islets. Beta cells within the islets make insulin and release it into the blood. Insulin plays a major role in metabolism—the way the body uses digested food for energy. The digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates—sugars and starches found in many foods—into glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar that enters the bloodstream. With the help of insulin, cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy. Insulin's Role in Blood Glucose Control When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin and glucose then travel in the blood to cells throughout the body. Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by reducing glucose production in the liver. In a healthy person, these functions allow blood glucose and insulin levels to remain in the normal range. What happens with insulin resistance? In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. The beta cells in the pancreas try to keep up with this increased demand for insulin by producing more. As long as the beta cells are able to produce enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance, blood glucose levels stay in the healthy range. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes because the bet Continue reading >>
How To Reverse Insulin Resistance: An Actionable Guide
If you’ve been in the space of alternative health and wellness for a while, then you’ve likely heard the term ‘insulin resistance’ floating around. But if not, I’m going to do that right now so your brain can stop screeching to a halt every time it reads that word. What Does Insulin Do? Insulin is a hormone. To put it quite simply, you can think of hormones as “body messengers” that communicate and respond to everything from hunger signals to reproduction, to emotions and a heck of a lot more. Because we are an intelligent and integrated feedback loop, some hormones have more than one, and/or, overlapping functions. Insulin is produced in the pancreas (which is part of the endocrine system). Its major responsibility (which is uber important) is to help regulate blood sugar. When you eat foods that contain any form of sugar, that sugar gets broken down into glucose. By the way, when I say that foods containing sugar I’m not just talking about sweet foods. I’m also talking about any carbohydrate (both simple and complex) containing foods. In this case, flavor is secondary to chemical make-up because that’s what ultimately determines how it’s going to be digested. Let me give some examples of foods that will get broken down into glucose: Desserts: ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, dried fruit… Sweet drinks: gatorade, creamers, soda, koolaid, juices… Simple carbs: bread, pasta, crackers, cereals… Complex carbs: quinoa, oats, brown & wild rice, corn, sprouted wheats, plantains, cassava, turnips, squashes… Fiber-rich: most fruits, most vegetables, peas, beans, legumes Those foods, the ones above and the others I didn’t have space to include, once simplified into glucose molecules (this is what we mean when we say blood sugar) are then esc Continue reading >>
Insulin Resistance Is Good? – T2d 7
Everybody says that insulin resistance is bad. Very bad. It’s the root cause of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and metabolic syndrome, isn’t it? So, if it is so bad, why do we all develop it in the first place? What’s the root cause? My friend Dr. Gary Fettke from Tasmania wrote an illuminating book called ‘Inversion’ where he describes how you can learn a lot from looking at things from another perspective. Invert (turn upside down) your perspective, and see how your horizons are immensely broadened. So let’s look at why we develop insulin resistance. Why is it good? Root Cause Analysis What is the root cause of insulin resistance? Some people say inflammation or oxidative stress or free radicals causes insulin resistance. Those are total cop-out answers. Inflammation is the body’s non-specific response to injury. But what causes the injury in the first place? That’s the real problem. The inflammation is only the body’s response to whatever is causing the injury. Think about it this way. Suppose we are battlefield surgeons. After decades on the job, we decide that blood is bad. After all, every time we see blood, bad things are happening. When we don’t see blood, bad things are not happening. It must be the blood that is dangerous. So, deciding that blood is what is killing people, we invent a machine to suction all the blood of people. Genius! The problem, of course, is what’s causing the bleeding, rather than the blood itself. Look for the root cause. Bleeding’s only the response, not the cause. Bleeding is a marker for disease. So is inflammation. Something causes bleeding, the body’s non specific response. Something causes inflammation, the body’s non specific response. Gunshots cause bleeding, knife wounds cause bleeding, and shrapnel causes bl Continue reading >>
Insulin Sensitivity: Why You Can't Blast That Fat For Good!
Have you ever wondered why, after all the exercise and healthy eating you do, you still can't shift that last bit of fat? You hit the gym four to five times a week or more, you even try to get a run in over the weekend and on top of this you're eating all the healthiest food you can find; despite this your still not super lean like you want to be. I have the answer to your nightmare - Insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity will eventually replace the term "weight loss" and "fat loss" as the new hot topic. Insulin has a powerful ability to prevent fat breakdown by its anabolic (rebuilding) properties. Few health and fitness professionals know or understand Insulin sensitivity (IS) which is why its no wonder that the every day man or woman is finding weight and fat so difficult to lose; it's incredibly hard to win against an obstacle you don't know is there! Let me explain Insulin's role and how it's sensitivity changes depending upon how close you are to your weight and fat loss goals. Insulin Sensitivity You might remember the hormone Insulin from articles referring to muscle gains due to its anabolic properties. Well further research into Insulin action shows that these same anabolic tendencies also affect the fat cells1. What most people don't realize is, Insulin also targets the fat, liver, and muscle cells when it is released1. This is not the only problem, though. A review of the research tells us that IS is actually increased when you lower your weight or body fat percentage2,3,11. It's also important to note that IS gets stronger the more you work out. The catabolic effect of exercise increases IS during a work out and for about 30-45 minutes post workout3. This means as a healthy exercising individual you simply can't eat the same amount of carbohydrate food t Continue reading >>
Signs Of Insulin Resistance
What is insulin resistance? Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas. It allows your cells to use glucose (sugar) for energy. People with insulin resistance have cells throughout their bodies that don’t use insulin effectively. This means the cells have trouble absorbing glucose, which causes a buildup of sugar in their blood. If your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, you have a condition called prediabetes caused by insulin resistance. It’s not entirely clear why some people develop insulin resistance and others don’t. A sedentary lifestyle and being overweight increases the chance of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The effects of insulin resistance Insulin resistance typically doesn’t trigger any noticeable symptoms. You could be insulin resistant for years without knowing, especially if your blood glucose levels aren’t checked. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that nearly 70 percent of individuals with insulin resistance and prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes if significant lifestyle changes aren’t made. Some people with insulin resistance may develop a skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans. This condition creates dark patches often on the back of the neck, groin, and armpits. Some experts believe it may be caused by a buildup of insulin within skin cells. There’s no cure for acanthosis nigricans, but if caused by a specific condition, treatment may allow for some of your natural skin color to return. Insulin resistance increases the risk of being overweight, having high triglycerides, and having elevated blood pressure. Since insulin resistance increases your risk for progressing to diabetes, you may not notice right away if you develop Continue reading >>
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is a hormone that is normally released by the beta cells of the pancreas. When a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to sustain good health, insulin can be injected into the body with a needle, inhaled with an inhaler, or infused with a pump. One of the main functions of insulin is to lower blood glucose levels by enabling glucose to enter the cells of the body, where it is used for energy or stored for future use. A person who is insulin-sensitive needs only a relatively small amount of insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range and to keep the body’s cells supplied with the glucose they need. A person who is insulin-resistant, on the other hand, needs a lot more insulin to get the same blood-glucose-lowering effects. Insulin resistance is associated with numerous health risks. For one thing, it causes hyperinsulinemia, or high circulating insulin levels, which may be directly damaging to blood vessels. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), osteoporosis (thinning bones), and certain types of cancer, such as colon, breast, and prostate cancer. In contrast, having low circulating insulin levels is associated with greater longevity; most centenarians without diabetes have low circulating insulin levels. Insulin resistance is a hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, but it can occur in Type 1 diabetes as well. In fact, there is a growing number of people who are said to have “double diabetes” because, in addition to having Type 1 diabetes, they also have the insulin resistance characteristic of Type 2. The good news is that you can lower your level of insulin resistance — and raise your level of insulin sensitivity — by modifying your lifes Continue reading >>
Insulin Resistance: The Real Reason Why You Aren’t Losing Weight
Many people have weight loss as one of their key resolutions. Sadly, 35 percent of people also give up on that goal before the month even ends. It’s not necessarily lack of time or willpower that causes you to struggle with weight loss year after year. The real reason that you may have struggled to lose weight is insulin resistance, or a condition I call metabolism dysfunction. So you may be thinking, “Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?” I’m doing “everything right,” and yet still weight loss is difficult. Perhaps (like many of my patients) you’re already following a strict diet and working out several times a week, but to no avail. The weight still won’t come off — or, worse, you are gaining weight for seemingly no reason at all! You have become resigned to being overweight. Weight problems aren’t a permanent and immovable fixture for the rest of your life. If you’re finding that weight is easy to gain and hard to lose, it’s not your fault! Weight problems aren’t just about overeating or under exercising — they’re about metabolic changes (The MD Factor Diet, 2015) that are collectively known as insulin resistance. Lab tests conducted in my practice have confirmed that over 89 percent of my patients have this real and often undiagnosed issue. So the good news is that the right combination of diet, exercise, and will to succeed you can reverse your MD factor and finally find success in losing weight and keeping it off for good. In a nutshell, insulin resistance is the inability of your body to properly convert the food that you eat into energy to fuel your cells. People with the MD Factor have difficulty regulating their blood sugar, which is often due to insulin resistance or even diabetes. In both instances, their bodies are unable t Continue reading >>
Nine Things That Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Accelerate Fat Loss & Build Muscle Faster!
Insulin sensitivity is SO important for fat loss because when you are insulin resistant, the body is much more likely to store the food you eat as fat. Insulin resistance also produces inflammation in the body, causing a whole bunch of health problems that any sane person wouldn’t want to deal with. Besides making it nearly impossible to lose significant amounts of body fat or pack on muscle, poor insulin sensitivity has all of the following negative effects: • It reduces athletic performance. • It inhibits sleep and makes you tired. • It slows recovery from training or injury. • Muscle soreness and pain are more severe. • It leads to diabetes if you don’t fix it. • It raises triglycerides and increases heart disease risk • It leads to a boatload of other health problems—you’ve heard the misery suffered by diabetics (sleep apnea, nerve problems, gut issues, eye and feet problems, and so on). Don’t worry! There are simple everyday things you can do to improve insulin sensitivity and optimize everything about your life. This article will give you a quick run-down on how insulin works and what you can do NOW to improve it. What Insulin Is & Why It Matters Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas. When you eat a meal, your blood glucose (sugar) rises after you digest the food. Insulin goes into action, binding with your cells in order to store the glucose either in muscle as glycogen (the energy source for the muscle) or as fat. If you are healthy, the body “prefers” to replenish glycogen first, only storing excess glucose as fat if glycogen stores are topped off. When you develop insulin resistance, the cells aren’t readily binding to insulin. The body has to pump out more insulin to get the high blood glucose that’s circulating Continue reading >>
What Is The Perfect Diet For Weight Loss And Diabetics? What Is Insulin Resistance?
Have you heard but don’t understand what is insulin resistance? Are you gaining weight no matter what you try? Are you pre diabetic or been diagnosed as a diabetic (T1 or T2)? Has your appetite always been out of control? Well watch this fabulous Tedx talk by Dr Sarah Hallberg and see how insulin resistance can be playing a part in all the above conditions. Everyone can benefit from cutting carbs. Not only will it reduce your risk of T2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular risk factors and more importantly, your inflammatory markers are reduced which has huge implications for cancer prevention. Why are the guidelines still recommending for diabetics to consumes carbohydrates when they are intolerant to them? The message for so long has been “eat whatever you want, then medicate for it”. This is such nonsense. None of us should be eating so many carbs, let alone diabetics. We can have the beginnings of insulin resistance for years, even decades, before we are classed as pre diabetic or T2 diabetic. Having such high circulating levels of insulin is the problem. High insulin levels leads to insulin resistance. Our cells start to require more and more insulin to function. Click To Tweet So now you have watched the talk, lets look again at what insulin resistance is. We are all advised to eat far too many carbs, whether it is ‘healthy wholegrain’, sweets, ice cream, ‘natural’ muesli bars, cereals, bread or potatoes. This constant high level of circulating glucose (which all carbs are converted to) requires more and more insulin to push that glucose into your cells as glycogen. We can only store so much glycogen in our body so the remainder is stored as fat. Insulin is our fat storing hormone. Remember that again, insulin is our fat storing hormone. So whilst our b Continue reading >>
Insulin And Insulin Resistance - The Ultimate Guide
Insulin is an important hormone that controls many processes in the body. However, problems with this hormone are at the heart of many modern health conditions. Sometimes our cells stop responding to insulin like they are supposed to. This condition is termed insulin resistance, and is incredibly common. In fact, a 2002 study showed that 32.2% of the US population may be insulin resistant (1). This number may rise to 70% in obese adult women and over 80% in some patient groups (2, 3). About a third of obese children and teenagers may also have insulin resistance (4). These numbers are scary, but the good news is that insulin resistance can be dramatically improved with simple lifestyle measures. This article explains what insulin resistance is, why you should care and how you can overcome it. Insulin is a hormone secreted by an organ called the pancreas. Its main role is to regulate the amount of nutrients circulating in the bloodstream. Although insulin is mostly implicated in blood sugar management, it also affects fat and protein metabolism. When we eat a meal that contains carbohydrates, the amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream increases. This is sensed by the cells in the pancreas, which then release insulin into the blood. Then insulin travels around the bloodstream, telling the body's cells that they should pick up sugar from the blood. This leads to reduced amounts of sugar in the blood, and puts it where it is intended to go, into the cells for use or storage. This is important, because high amounts of sugar in the blood can have toxic effects, causing severe harm and potentially leading to death if untreated. However, due to various reasons (discussed below), sometimes the cells stop responding to the insulin like they are supposed to. In other words, they Continue reading >>
How Do I Increase Insulin Sensitivity?
What is insulin sensitivity? Definitions Insulin sensitivity is a general phenomena in the body, and can be measured a few ways through studies. The pancreas (an organ that regulates blood sugar) secretes insulin in response to high blood sugar, and cells (like muscle or fat cells) can absorb blood sugar when stimulated by insulin. Insulin sensitivity is the relationship between how much insulin needs to be produced in order to deposit a certain amount of glucose. You are insulin sensitive if a small amount of insulin needs to be secreted to deposit a certain amount of glucose, and insulin resistant if a lot of insulin needs to be secreted to deposit the same amount of glucose. Insulin sensitivity is seen as good as the opposite, insulin resistance, is a major risk factor for the development of Type II diabetes. Types of Insulin Sensitivity There are three main types of insulin sensitivity; peripheral insulin sensitivity, hepatic insulin sensitivity, and pancreatic insulin sensitivity. Peripheral insulin sensitivity is how readily body cells in your periphery tissue, such as muscle and fat, can absorb glucose; either on their own (muscle can absorb glucose when contracted) or when insulin stimulates them. It is the most well-known form of insulin resistance. Hepatic insulin sensitivity is related to the process of gluconeogenesis, the production of new blood sugar. Usually inflammatory factors prevent insulin from acting in the liver via inducing insulin resistance, and insulin's actions are unable to tell the liver to 'stop' producing glucose. Pancreatic insulin sensitivity is the functioning of the cells that secrete insulin, the beta-cells. If these are damaged or cannot function, insulin resistance can develop. This is more of a concern in disease states like Continue reading >>
Tweet Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin. Someone said to be insulin sensitive will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than someone who has low sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity varies from person to person and doctors can perform tests to determine how sensitive an individual is to insulin. How does insulin sensitivity affect people with diabetes? People with low insulin sensitivity, also referred to as insulin resistance, will require larger amounts of insulin either from their own pancreas or from injections in order to keep blood glucose stable. Having insulin resistance is a sign that your body is having difficulty metabolising glucose, and this can indicate wider health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels may also be present. By contrast, having a particularly high sensitivity to insulin can also cause problems for people with type 1 diabetes, particularly young children. Why is insulin sensitivity important? Low insulin sensitivity can lead to a variety of health problems. The body will try to compensate for having a low sensitivity to insulin by producing more insulin. However, a high level of circulating insulin (hyperinsulinemia) is associated with damage to blood vessels, high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity, osteoporosis and even cancer. Periods of stress and illness can both introduce short term periods of reduced insulin sensitivity. In most cases, insulin sensitivity should recover once the stress or illness has passed. Can high insulin sensitivity be problematic? Generally speaking, having a good sensitivity to insulin is a sign of good health, however, there are times when a higher sensitivity can be problematic. For people with t Continue reading >>
Tip: Find Out If You're Insulin Sensitive
Take control of this hormone to make sure you're staying lean and building only muscle. Here's how. Insulin is very anabolic. It's a hormone responsible for carb and amino acid delivery to the muscles for recovery and growth. So you need insulin, but you need to control it. Insulin sensitivity seems to be the most important factor dictating how the body will handle carbs. Chronic elevation of insulin can increase the rate of transport of fats and carbs into fat cells. Although initially insulin shuttles nutrients into muscle cells, chronic insulin elevation will cause the muscles to become insulin resistant and refuse to take up nutrients. The adipose tissues, however, are greedy little pieces of cellular machinery and continue to take up nutrients at a rapid rate. For those who have good insulin sensitivity, the body responds to carb intake with small insulin surges. Although the insulin surges are tiny, the cells are very responsive to that small amount of insulin and do a great job of becoming anabolic. Since lots of insulin can inhibit fat loss, the ideal scenario is to become very insulin sensitive so that only small amounts of insulin are required for anabolism, and so that those small amounts of insulin don't prevent fat loss. Some experts use very simplistic recommendations for testing insulin sensitivity, methods I disagree with. For example, I've heard the statement that if you have an apple-shaped physique or if you get sleepy after a carb meal then you're insulin resistant (insensitive). These are way too non-specific and tell you very little about your nutrient needs or if you're making progress. I prefer methods that, although more time consuming, are objective. Objective Testing The first is a oral glucose tolerance test. For this you need to go to your l Continue reading >>