Am I Insulin Resistant
Another pertinent question is, how do you know if you are insulin resistant or not. Lots of people are insulin resistant. They just dont know it. Because there are no tell-tale symptoms of insulin resistance.
Even the symptoms of insulin resistance grossly overlap with other common conditions.
That is what makes it difficult to recognise insulin resistance and it can go on for years carefully damaging your health quietly without you being aware of it.
So, are you insulin resistant?
Well, lets keep things simple, shall we.
If you test your blood sugar on one or more occasions and you are consistently getting results above the recommended acceptable blood sugar levels below, then that should raise a suspicion of insulin resistance.
Thats how simple it is. There are other tests like C-Peptide test and more expensive ones but they are ultimately not necessary to make a diagnosis of insulin resistance.
Alert your doctor if your home blood sugar test following your meals exceed the values below. Your doctor will take things from there. See this article on how to meal-test your blood sugar here.
- Fasting blood sugar should be 100mg/dl
- 1-hour blood sugar after meals should be 140mg/dl or less
- 2-hour blood sugar after meals should be 120mg/dl or less
If your 2-hour after-meal blood sugar is over 200mg/dl , then you are diabetic. It means your insulin resistance has tipped over to type 2 diabetes.
Reason #: Typically Recommended Eating Patterns Often Backfire By Keeping You Hungry And Keeping Your Blood Sugar High
If youâre like most people with type 2 diabetes, youâve been told to eat carbohydrates but eat fewer overall calories, and to eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady youâve probably been advised to count your carbs and eat enough of them to keep your blood sugar up after taking medication to lower itâconfusing, right?
What many find as a result is that theyâre always hungry, always thinking about food and facing cravings. Whatâs at work is a survival instinct that even the strongest-willed person canât withstand for long. This is a situation where your physiology is fighting against you. Even worse, those frequent small meals with carbohydrates create spikes in your blood sugar followed by drops in your blood sugarâa blood sugar roller-coaster that stimulates frequent hunger.
Why Insulin Causes Weight Gain
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the body that helps control the amount of sugar that is in the blood. Insulin acts as a gatekeeper between the blood and cells for blood sugar because it is responsible for bringing sugar into cells from the blood to be used as energy or stored for later use.
When you’re not producing enough insulin or when you become less sensitive to insulin, there ends up being elevated levels of sugar in the blood, leading to diabetes. Depending on the cause of your diabetes, your healthcare providers will recommend different types of medications to help with managing your diabetes, and one of these is insulin therapy.
The reason that insulin could cause weight gain is that when you start insulin therapy, all of the extra glucose in your blood is brought into the body to be used as energy or stored. As you become more efficient in using the carbohydrates you eat, your body stores more of that energy as fat if it is more than you use that day.
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Weight And Type 1 Diabetes
In diabetes, the body doesn’t use glucose properly. Glucose, a sugar, is the main source of energy for the body. Glucose levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made in the pancreas. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin.
Undiagnosed or untreated type 1 diabetes can cause weight loss. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream if insulin isn’t available to move it into the body’s cells. When glucose levels become high, the kidneys work to get rid of unused sugar through urine . This causes weight loss due to dehydration and loss of calories from the sugar that wasn’t used as energy.
Kids who develop type 1 diabetes often lose weight even though they have a normal or increased appetite. Once kids are diagnosed and treated for type 1 diabetes, weight usually returns to normal.
Developing type 1 diabetes isn’t related to being overweight, but keeping a healthy weight is important. Too much fat tissue can make it hard for insulin to work properly, leading to both higher insulin needs and trouble controlling blood sugar.
Dr Kendrick And The Extreme Exceptions
There will always be exceptions to any hypothesis. Dr Malcom Kendrick notes that:
There is a general principle in science that if you have a proposed mechanism to explain the physiology of a disease, then that mechanism needs to remain true in all scenarios. Often its the case that mechanisms and theories unravel when you look at extreme scenarios. In this case, this would mean looking at people that have absolutely no fat cells, and the most obese population on the planet.
What are these exceptions to the mainstream notion of more body fat means a higher risk of diabetes?
- Sumo wrestlers
- Berardinelli-Seip lipodystrophy
You might expect that sumo wrestlers would have a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, and people with Berardinelli-Seip lipodystrophy would have a low prevalence. However, in reality, the opposite is true.
Its extremely uncommon for sumo wrestlers to develop type 2 diabetes when training Conversely, 100% of people with Berardinelli-Seip lipodystrophy have type 2 diabetes.
How is this possible? The hypothesis is that its all down to energy storage, i.e. when you eat carbohydrate-containing foods and your blood sugar levels rise, where in your body does that sugar go.
Contrastingly, individuals with Berardinelli-Seip lipodystrophy have no fat cells. So even if insulin levels dramatically increase, excess energy has nowhere to go after a high carb meal. This is why insulin resistance develops in this demographic.
Dr Kendrick concludes:
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Your Feelings About Food
The emotional part of trying to lose weight is important and can often be overlooked.
Do you feel guilty when you eat a treat? Do you eat more when youre upset? Do you feel dejected if you cant see progress straight away?These are really common feelings and tackling them can help you on the road to a healthier lifestyle and a healthy weight.
Connect with others and share tips in our online forum weve made a board especially for people who are looking to lose weight.
Insulin And Carbs: Partners In Crime
To fully understand the carbohydrate-insulin model, you have to start with some biology.
So here we go
When you eat certain carbohydratessuch as starch and sugartheyre quickly broken down into glucose and absorbed into your bloodstream. This raises your blood glucose levels.
The more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood glucose rises immediately after that meal.
Your body, however, strives to closely regulate your blood glucose levels.
Ever had your fasting glucose measured? You probably know the normal range is 70 to 100 mg/dl.
Your body wants to maintain this level of blood glucose, to keep you healthy and all systems functioning optimally.
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What Is Insulin And What Is Its Function
Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas that mainly helps regulate glucose levels in the blood . It is used to treat diabetes by stabilizing your blood sugar or glucose levels.
If you are not producing enough insulin, your doctor may recommend insulin injections to help with diabetes management . There are several types of insulin which are classified depending on how fast they start working and the duration of their effects . These types include :
- Rapid-acting. These start to work in a few minutes, and their effects last for several hours.
- Regular or short-acting. This type of insulin kicks in after thirty minutes or so and lasts three to six hours.
- Intermediate-acting. The effect of this type of insulin is felt between two and four hours of consumption. Its effects can last for close to eighteen hours.
- Long-lasting. As the name suggests, the impact of this insulin type is felt for a longer duration. According to WebMD, the effects can last an entire day .
- Pre-mixed. As the name implies, you can tell this type is a combination of two or more types.
Many people with diabetes have a routine of giving themselves insulin shots. They argue that so long as they take their shots, they are good to go. However, experts acknowledge that the place you take this shot highly matters as it reflects the absorption rate .
The Mighty Community Asked: Why Have I Gained So Much Weight Since Starting Insulin Is There Anything That I Can Do
This is a very common question, and a great one! Many people experience what you are feeling. Weight gain often becomes a problem when HbA1cs are reduced from > 9 to 7 or below. The reasons for this are vast and often results in patient noncompliance. But insulin compliance keeps us alive. And weight gain can be avoided if the reasons for the gain are understood.
People with uncontrolled diabetes often experience weight loss. This is due to either a lack of insulin or a decrease in their cells insulin sensitivity. They cannot therefore properly convert food into energy and instead, glucose sits in the blood stream to be excreted through urine. The person thus is essentially urinating out their calories. Once BG levels improve and insulin is circulating the body appropriately, the cells use the glucose for fuel instead of urinating it out. Fat cells especially like sugar. Hence, the weight gain. This can be avoided by significantly decreasing carb and sugar intake when starting insulin. Try tofill up instead on vegetables and healthy proteins instead!
High blood glucose levels can also cause severe dehydration. As the body works to clear itself of excess sugar, water is also lost. Once BGs are better controlled, the body will tend to overcompensate for its losses, making it look like significant weight has been gained when really, its water retention.
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Exercising For Diabetes And Weight Loss
Exercise is a key part of any weight loss plan, and for diabetics it offers multiple health benefits:
- Improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity
- Some types of exercise can help burn extra glucose in the body and also decrease resistance to insulin
- Lowers your risk for heart disease
- Improves circulation
- Reduces stress
Before you exercise, make sure your glucose level is not too low or you could risk low blood sugar . You should also be cautious if your blood sugar is too high, because exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
We Have Control Over Weight Gain
Yes, weight gain is often associated with insulin therapy. But to call insulin a cause or to call weight gain a side effect or going hand-in-hand implies that we have no ability to counteract this possible outcome by adjusting our diet or by using excess glucose by exercising more. Of course, we can counteract this possible outcome.
Smashed thumbs are associated with hammer use, but we can take steps to avoid smashing our thumb when using a hammer. Weight gain is associated with insulin use, but we can take steps to avoid gaining weight when using insulin. End of story.
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The Importance Of A Healthy Weight
When kids with diabetes reach and maintain a healthy weight, they feel better and have more energy. Their diabetes symptoms decrease and their blood sugar levels are better controlled. They also may be less likely to develop complications from diabetes, like heart disease.
Doctors use body mass index to determine if a person’s weight is healthy. If your doctor recommends that your child lose weight to control diabetes, a weight management plan can hel. Even if your child’s BMI is in the healthy range, the doctor can help you come up with a healthy meal and exercise plan.
The Story Behind Insulin And Weight Gain
In simple terms, insulin therapy increases your efficiency. The excess glucose thats been circulating in your bloodstream, keeping blood sugar levels high as your kidneys work to excrete more, is instead taken into your cells more efficiently. And, so are all of the glucose calories 4 calories per gram of glucose that youve been flushing down the toilet. Your increased efficiency means you are retaining more calories from the food you consume. The statement insulin causes weight gain when the cells absorb too much glucose and the body converts this to fat is both misleading and backward. We want our metabolism to be more normal we want our cells absorbing glucose in a more normal way to keep blood glucose levels in a more normal zone. This statement should read “too much glucose causes weight gain when our body efficiently absorbs glucose into cells and converts excess glucose to fat.”
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Remember That Theres No Best Diet
Theres only what works best for you. And that can change over time.
A universal, one-size-fits-all, miracle diet would make good nutrition simpler. Unfortunately, it doesnt exist.
What matters most for fat lossand any other health pursuitis finding an eating pattern that feels reasonable, sustainable, and yes, enjoyable.
And surely thats a model that everyone can agree on.
Why Do Some Diabetics Gain Weight
Recent research in the U.K, a study by Prospective Diabetes , discovered that the average person with type 2 diabetes gained, on average, around nine pounds during their first three years using insulin.
You see, the link between insulin and weight gain isnt necessarily directly correlated with the insulin. It is more so correlated with the types of foods you are eating and the amount of calories you are burning daily.
When you consume more glucose than you burn in a day, it gets stored in the liver as glycogen. It is then converted into fatty acids and circulated throughout the body and stored as fat.
This process also explains why many patients that have diabetes and chronic hyperglycemia begin to experience weight loss.
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Weight Loss For Diabetics
Losing weight can make a big difference for people with diabetesit can lower glucose levels in the blood, which may decrease the effects of diabetes and make the condition more manageable. But there are added complications and risks, too. For example, making big changes to your diet can cause serious problems. One of these is hypoglycemia, when your blood sugar goes so low that you risk the danger of going into a diabetic coma. If you have diabetes, you have to be especially careful about your weight loss plan.
Health Effects Of Insulin Treatment In Type 2 Diabetes
One of the effects of taking insulin is an increased risk of weight gain. If the cells don’t use all the sugar when insulin moves it from blood into the cells, it is stored as fat. If you continue to eat as you did before starting insulin, you may gain weight. This happens because before you started taking insulin, your body wasn’t properly using all the glucose in the food you ate. But once you start taking insulin, your body uses food normally and you may be eating more food than your body needs to stay healthy.
Gaining weight can also make your body resistant to the effects of insulin. This means that you may need to take even more insulin to get glucose into your cells, causing a vicious cycle of weight gain and more insulin use, with the result that your diabetes is poorly managed. This pattern can make it more difficult to stay healthy.
Look At The Big Picture
Obesity and weight gain are multifactorial.
Body fat is absolutely impacted by the kinds of foods you eat, your activity level, and, yes, your hormones.
But humans arent robots.
We have to look beyond just physiology and recognize that body fat is also influenced by many other factors, including:
- Social: stigma around fatness and peer pressure to eat a certain way
- Economic: the cost of food and exercise, and the pressure to perform at work
- Media: exposure to food advertising, how bodies are portrayed in the media, and availability of passive entertainment options
- Infrastructure: the walkability of your living environment, access to outdoor spaces, and whether your job is sedentary or physically active
- Medical: medications you may be taking, diseases youre dealing with, or complications from past surgeries
- Developmental: how important food and exercise were in your family growing up, and the mindset you were raised with
While its comforting to think theres one simple answer, its just not realistic.
Losing fat is likely to take a series of small steps to get where you want to go. Our advice: Focus on the big rocks before you worry about specific eating styles, nutrient timing, and supplements.
Big rocks include:
- choosing mostly minimally-processed, nutrient-dense foods
- eating enough lean protein and vegetables
- getting adequate sleep
The big rocks work for just about any diet approach you prefer.
It Starts With Finding A Way To Eat Fewer Calories Than You Need
A calorie is a unit of energy, which is in the food and drink we consume. Your body uses energy for everything we do from breathing and sleeping to exercising. When you eat, youre replacing the energy youve used, which helps you to maintain a healthy weight.
As a general guide, government recommendations are that men need around 2,500kcal a day to maintain a healthy weight, and women need around 2,000kcal a day. But most people need different amounts of calories based on how their bodies work, how active they are and any weight management goals.
Weve put together some 7-day meal plans to help you lose weight. They’re all clinically approved, nutritionally balanced, calorie and carb counted, and can help if you want to lose weight:
Evidence shows that the best approach is the one that youre likely to stick to. So the key is to find a plan that you enjoy and fits in with the rest of your life. Everyones different and what works for some may not for others.
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