Insulin resistance has become a hot topic of discussion lately, but what exactly is it and how does it develop? Essentially, it’s a metabolic disorder that occurs when your muscle, fat, and liver cells don’t respond properly to the insulin produced by your pancreas in response to the food you eat. This means that these cells can’t effectively use the glucose from your blood for energy or store it properly. This condition is known as insulin resistance.
How does Insulin Work?
Insulin is a crucial hormone produced by your pancreas that plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels. Its primary function is to act as a key, unlocking cells and allowing glucose (sugar) to enter and provide energy for your body’s functions. However, in individuals with insulin resistance, the cells become less sensitive to the action of insulin, making it difficult for glucose to enter the cells efficiently. Under normal circumstances, insulin functions in the following way:
- The food you eat is broken down into glucose (sugar), which serves as your body’s main source of energy.
- Glucose enters your bloodstream, triggering your pancreas to release insulin.
- Insulin helps the glucose in your blood enter your muscle, fat, and liver cells so that they can either use it for energy immediately or store it for later use.
- As glucose enters your cells from the bloodstream, the lowered glucose levels signal your pancreas to stop producing insulin.
However, when insulin resistance occurs, this delicate balance is disrupted. The pancreas begins to overproduce insulin and when left unchecked, will cease to function properly. Blood sugar levels rise – and stay high – and the result is often prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and other health complications.
How to Manage and Prevent Insulin Resistance
We can take steps to manage and prevent insulin resistance, starting with the food we eat. Consuming a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugary foods, and saturated fats can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar, which increases the risk of insulin resistance. This puts a strain on the body’s insulin response. High insulin levels also help promote the storage of those extra sugars as fat, which often results in obesity.
Regular exercise, managing stress, and ensuring sufficient sleep can all contribute to improving insulin sensitivity, making cells more responsive to insulin.
It’s important to remember that small changes can have a significant impact on your well-being in the long run.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance often manifests silently, without prominent symptoms. However, there are some subtle signs that could indicate its presence, including:
- Increased hunger and sugar cravings
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Increased thirst and urination
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight.
- Skin discoloration (acanthosis nigricans)
Foods to Limit or Preferably Avoid Completely
Processed foods, which often have added sugar, fat, and salt. If it comes in cans, boxes, wrappers, and other packaging, it’s probably processed.
Saturated and trans fats These come mainly from animal sources, such as meats and cheese, as well as foods fried in partially hydrogenated oils.
How Natural Sugar Replacements Help
Perfect Sweet™ xylitol and SlimSweet™ Monk Fruit Sweetener, are both 100% all natural sweeteners, that have a low GI of 7, and do not raise blood sugar levels. Perfect Sweet™ xylitol has a third less calories than sugar and SlimSweet™ Monk fruit Sweetener has only 1 calorie per teaspoon. Both can be used in recipes for drinks, baking and sauces etc, both make a great sugar replacement.
Read more about all natural sugar replacements here.