Insulin Resistance


“I can’t lose weight – It’s in my genes”  TRUE or FALSE?

The answer is – it depends. Some people are born with a condition called Insulin Resistance. This is a hormonal condition that makes common weight loss strategies practically useless because the body is not dealing with food the way it should. Can it be treated? Yes it can.

The standard mantra for weight loss is based on managing the relationship between kilojoule intake and kilojoule/fuel expended. Unfortunately this basic principal is not effective where insulin resistance is present because of the influence of hormonal activity which alters the way the body burns fuel.

So what is insulin resistance? The body uses insulin to process the sugars provided by carbohydrates to store this needed fuel which is really the fat we talk about. Too much stored and oops, love handles and spare tyres. Normally we diet, exercise and bring the stores down to lose this fat.

However where we have insulin resistance the body does not deal well with sugars as the body does not respond as expected to insulin. So the body goes into insulin overdrive and produces more insulin to stabilise blood glucose. This can lead to a condition called “hyperinsulinaemia” where there is too much insulin in the blood. Hyperinsulinaemia also interferes with the way the body normally uses stored fat for the energy it needs. So Insulin resistance leads to difficult to manage weight gain.

We said previously that for some people, they may have been born insulin resistant. For others, they have become insulin resistant because of lifestyle. Accepted causes include –

  • Smoking
  • Lifestyle obesity
  • Inflammation
  • Too much sugar in the diet
  • Too much fructose in the diet
  • Too many trans fats in the diet
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
  • The Oral Contraceptive Pill
The scary thing is that insulin resistance can lead to heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
It is estimated that up to 25% of Australians may be suffering from insulin resistance and most would not be aware of it. If you are overweight and especially if most of your fat is around the mid rift, you are quite likely to be insulin resistant. The Glucose Tolerance Test measures insulin one hour after the glucose load and normal insulin should be less than 60mU/L.

But insulin resistance can be reversed if you are prepared to change your lifestyle and your diet. There are some basic changes you could focus on.
  1. Cut out refined sugar. You need to dramatically reduce your carbohydrates intake and sugar is the number one enemy. There are some useful strategies you could use. Talk to us and we can discuss them with you. There are also a number of great health books in store dealing with this subject.
  2. Ensure you are getting the right amount of Protein. A useful strategy is to use protein shakes and protein bars as a meal replacement or snack. There is a range of good quality protein products in store and you are encouraged to talk to us on which would be the best for you.
  3. Have an oil change. You need to eliminate trans fats which includes soy oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, common vegetable oils, margarine and the deadly deep-fried foods. Select the natural fats such as butter, organic olive oil, coconut oil/milk. Eat grass fed beef, non-farmed cold water fish, seeds and nuts preferably organic.
  4. Avoid wheat. Gluten can disrupt the insulin receptor, thereby worsening insulin resistance. Consider our ancient grains bread and gluten free varieties. Choose low gluten or gluten-free flour made from rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth, barley, spelt, and rye. We also have a number of books on gluten free cooking.
  5. Consider a weight loss programme. There are a few weight management strategies that may be suitable. Not everyone is the same so it is important to choose a programme that suits you to give you the best chance of success. Talk to Linda to see what may be the best option for you.
  6. Consider supplements.  Natural anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and E, selenium and alpha lipoic acid.  Chromium is a very important supplement for maintaining good blood glucose levels.  It is an active regulator of glucose metabolism.  There are formulations designed to improve insulin’s effectiveness at the cell membrane and to improve insulin sensitivity. There are practitioner prescribed gluten support products Linda can help you with.  There are herbs and vitamins that will help with diet changes.
In summary, you may be insulin resistant and exercise and diet may not achieve the outcomes you want. You can research the topic and you can speak to us and we can help produce a strategy for you. 

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  •  Rachael W

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