What is Insulin Resistance?


So it starts like this:

When you eat sugar or carbohydrates, the body converts these into glucose. The glucose circulates in your bloodstream hoping to get picked up by a taxi cab (insulin) so it can be shuttled into the cell.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that grabs onto glucose and carries it to your cell to be used to make energy. Think of it as a lock and key. Each cell has a receptor that insulin attaches to and drops the glucose off into the cell.

The problem arises when the diet is overloaded with refined and high glycemic carbohydrates (bread, pasta, pastries, etc.) and sugar. These receptor sites get overwhelmed with the demand and become resistant to insulin. They are basically saying “we can’t take anymore” and they don’t.

So, what happens is a taxi cab traffic jam. Picture downtown NYC if you will. The cells have said “no more” so, where do these taxi cabs and their passengers (insulin with a glucose molecule attached) go? They stay elevated in the bloodstream causing all kinds of metabolic chaos and the signs and symptoms above.

Blood glucose levels rise and insulin levels rise. This is insulin resistance. This is not yet diabetes but it’s getting close.

A lot of people are dealing with insulin resistance and may not know it. If you’re dealing with symptoms like the above, take a look at your diet.

Are you eating mostly processed, refined carbohydrates? If so, make some swaps. Get more protein and fat in. Instead of high glycemic carbs that send your blood sugar too high too fast, choose a low glycemic carbohydrate like sweet potatoes or brown rice. Eat whole, fresh foods. Cut out added sweeteners and increase fiber.

Fasting insulin serum levels should be between 3 and 9. A Hemoglobin A1C can also be run to determine how high your blood glucose has been over the course of the last 3 months. You want this to be below 6.

Blood sugar regulation is crucial to feeling your best. It’s foundational to your health and if it isn’t balanced, it’s going to be hard to heal when dealing with chronic illness. The good news is that this is something that can completely be reversed with choosing the right nutrient-dense foods!

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