south canterbury dietitian

The 'Insulin Resistance' Solution

What Is Insulin And What Does It Do?

Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas and is required so that our bodies can break down carbohydrates and sugars and use these for fuel or energy for the body.

If we eat a large amount of sugar, then our body will need to produce more insulin to keep our blood glucose or blood sugar levels in the healthy range. If we eat more sugar than our body can use for energy, then insulin will help our body to store the excess fuel as glycogen in muscles and as fat. Over time eating excess sugar causes an increase in fat on the body.

Here's Why Insulin Resistance Is A Problem!

In some people the insulin does not work as well as it used to. This may be due to Insulin Resistance and which means the body needs to produce higher amounts of insulin to keep the blood sugar levels under control. Over time this can lead to Pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

What Is Insulin Resistance Caused By?

It is thought that insulin resistance is caused by excess belly fat and lack of physical activity. Insulin resistance can also be caused by eating too many carbohydrates or sugars.

The more carbohydrates you eat the more insulin your body will need to produce. This places a huge demand on the pancreas. This can lead to a failure of the pancreas to make adequate insulin therefore resulting in higher blood sugar levels.

Over time this means that prediabetes can progress to Type 2 and Type 2 Diabetes can become more difficult to control. Some people with Type 1 Diabetes are also insulin resistant and find it hard to keep blood sugar levels within the healthy range. It has been reported that 2 out of every 3 people now have some form of insulin resistance.

How Can I Tell If I Have Insulin Resistance?

These are some of the signs that you have or may have insulin resistance:

  • High fasting blood glucose level or HA1C, but not yet at a level to be called Diabetes
  • History of PCOS or Gestational Diabetes or had a baby weighing over 9 lbs
  • Carrying extra fat around the waist area (more than 85 cm for women and more than 100 cm for men)
  • Always feeling hungry and having to snack a lot
  • Craving sweet foods and carbohydrates or starchy foods
  • Finding it hard to lose weight and easy to gain it, weight gain despite eating "healthy foods" and exercising
  • Feeling hypoglycaemic/dizzy/headaches/fatigued especially between meals
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty concentrating

Changing What You Eat Can Hugely Improve Insulin Resistance

healthy lchf breakfast

What is the best way to eat to improve insulin resistance and blood sugar levels?

There is now scientific evidence to show that reducing sugars and carbohydrates in the diet will help to improve insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels and help with reducing excess weight.

This way of eating is known as Lower carb, Higher or Healthy fats or LCHF or also known as the ketogenic or ancestral diet. Changing to this way of eating can lead to many health benefits and some are able to reduce or stop medications as a result.

There are also reports of many cases around the world where Type 2 Diabetes has been officially reversed. When carbohydrate intake is reduced, the body no longer needs to produce high amounts of insulin and the insulin resistance improves. The body is then able to start using the excess fat stores for energy and weight loss becomes easier.

The appetite is reduced so that people report this way of eating is easier than trying to eat a low fat diet and they are more likely to keep eating this way long term.

There are many reported benefits including reduced appetite, easier and faster weight loss and improved lipid levels. Many people experience improved energy levels, greater clarity and improved digestion.

What Is The Best Way To Put This Into Practice?

Being an LCHF (low carb, healthy fat) dietitian and nutritionist, with many years experience in diabetes, I can guide and support you with a plan that best suits you.

If you are on any medications or have any health conditions, I strongly suggest you go and see your GP before starting this new way of eating.

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, then close monitoring of your health will be important.

My focus will be on ensuring your diet provides the best nutrition to keep you healthy in the long term.

If you would like to find out more, feel free to give me a call. My contact details are here.