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Are you Insulin Resistant?

Is insulin resistance (IR) causing your weight gain?

We all know we need insulin in order to control our blood sugars as it is the hormone that plays a key hormone for glucose metabolism. However, what most people fail to realize is how insulin controls blood sugar.

Do you know how insulin controls blood sugar?

After you eat carbohydrates which are found most common foods such as breads, pasta, rice etc, your blood sugar levels will increase.  It is the insulin’s job to push the glucose into the cells where it is used for energy (only a small part) or stored for future needs as fat.  Insulin also helps muscles, fat and liver cells store sugar that can be released when it is needed. 

Each cell surface has insulin receptors which act like little doors that open and close to regulate the amount of blood sugar allowed to flow in. 

If the body takes in too much simple sugars found in carbohydrates (like white breads, potatoes, sugary drinks etc), the cells are bombarded with so much insulin that the “doors” begin to malfunction and shut down.  If the doors aren’t open, the pancreas feels the need to produce even more insulin to push into the cells because it cannot perform its function to lower sugar levels tending to leave the insulin floating in the blood stream.  A vicious cycle is now in place resulting in a condition called Insulin resistance which inhibits our fat cells from giving up their stores of energy to let you lose weight. This is called metabolic starvation” as your own fat stores are “locked” due to insulin resistance and unable to give the fat back when you need it despite having the stores. 

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions including elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat, especially “belly fat”, or abnormal cholesterol levels, large waist; which, when they occur together, increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Read more: Are you Insulin Resistant?

Glycemic Index of Foods

W8MD  – Role of Glycemic Index of Foods in Insulin Resistance

The glycemic index or GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a particular item of food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100, by definition, and most other foods tend to have a lower glycemic index.

Glycemic index is defined for each type of food, independent of the amount of food consumed. Glycemic load accounts for the amount of total carbohydrates consumed and their glycemic index.

Sugar Rush and Crash!

High glycemic index foods such as French fries, bagels, white breads, white rice etc. with a lot of simple sugars release the glucose in to the blood stream very quickly thereby necessitating a high amount of insulin to be produced quickly. This sudden increase in blood sugar level requires high amounts of insulin to be released in a short time frame and is called “sugar rush”. 2-3 hours after this, the body would have stored all the glucose in to fat and the high amount of insulin released leads to “sugar crash” where your sugars are crashing, and you may start craving for more carbohydrates again, thus setting in a vicious cycle of sugar rush and crash. 

How does glycemic index of foods relate to insulin resistance?

For example, consuming a low glycemic food item such as salad with 100 grams of carbohydrates is not going to have the same glycemic load as consuming 100 grams of carbohydrates in the form of table sugar, because the glycemic index of table sugar is 100 and that of salad is about 40. The insulin requirement of salad is much lower and much more gradual as opposed to that of consuming sugar, even though both these foods have the same amount of total carbohydrates. By consuming low glycolic index foods such as salads, glucose is released gradually in to the blood stream and therefore, there is no attendant sugar rush/sugar crash phenomenon at work.

The lower the Glycemic Index, the better!

Foods with carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream tend to have a high GI; foods with carbohydrates that break down more slowly, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, tend to have a low GI. The concept was developed by Dr. David J. Jenkins and colleagues in 1980–1981 at the University of Toronto in their research to find out which foods were best for people.

Read more: Glycemic Index of Foods

Belly Fat Can Be Deadly: Study

Even normal weight people with a ‘beer belly’ or ‘muffin top’ at risk, Mayo researchers say.

Even normal-weight people with belly fat and heart disease have an increased risk of death compared to folks whose fat is concentrated elsewhere, a large, new study reports. A “beer belly” or “muffin top” is as significant a risk factor as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or having very high blood cholesterol, the study said. And the risk is greater for men.

Lose the Spare Tire

That spare tire is even more significant than your overall body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) in predicting risk of death, the researchers said, noting their findings discount a puzzling theory known as the “obesity paradox.” That surprising finding from earlier studies linked a higher BMI and coronary artery disease with better survival chances than normal-weight people.

“We suspected that the obesity paradox was happening because BMI is not a good measure of body fatness and gives no insight into the distribution of fat,” said study lead author Dr. Thais Coutinho, a cardiology fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“BMI is just a measure of weight in proportion to height. What seems to be more important is how the fat is distributed on the body,” she said in a clinic news release.

The study is published in the May 10 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The researchers looked at data from five studies conducted around the world, involving almost 16,000 people with coronary artery disease. The risk of death was nearly doubled for people with coronary artery disease and central obesity, which was determined by waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio, the study found.

Read more: Belly Fat Can Be Deadly: Study

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Frequently asked questions

  • What causes sudden weight gain?
  • Why am I putting on weight when I am eating less?
  • How can I stop gaining weight?
  • What disease can make you gain weight?
  • What causes big stomach in females?
  • Why did I gain weight overnight?
  • Can unexplained weight gain be a sign of cancer?
  • Why am I gaining weight while dieting and exercising?
  • Can you gain 5 pounds in a day?
  • Can stress cause you to gain weight?
  • Why am I gaining weight so fast in my stomach?
  • Can high insulin levels cause weight gain?
  • Which diabetes causes weight gain?
  • Can insulin resistance keep you from losing weight?
  • How does insulin get rid of belly fat?
  • How does insulin levels affect weight gain?
  • What are the symptoms of high insulin levels?
  •  What foods spike insulin?
  • Is a keto diet good for insulin resistance?
  • How can I reduce my stomach fat?
  • Are eggs good for insulin resistance?


obesity – noun more than average fatness
overweight – adj. usually describes a large person who is fat but has a large frame to carry it; noun the property of excessive fatness
diet – noun the act of restricting your food intake (or your intake of particular foods); the usual food and drink consumed by an organism (person or animal); a prescribed selection of foods; a legislative assembly in certain countries (e.g., Japan); verb eat sparingly, for health reasons or to lose weight; follow a regimen or a diet, as for health reasons
weight – noun an artifact that is heavy; sports equipment used in calisthenic exercises and weightlifting; it is not attached to anything and is raised and lowered by use of the hands and arms; the vertical force exerted by a mass as a result of gravity; the relative importance granted to something; an oppressive feeling of heavy force; (statistics) a coefficient assigned to elements of a frequency distribution in order to represent their relative importance; a unit used to measure weight; a system of units used to express the weight of something; verb present with a bias; weight down with a load
calorie – noun unit of heat defined as the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree centigrade at atmospheric pressure; a unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree at one atmosphere pressure; used by nutritionists to characterize the energy-producing potential in food
health – noun the general condition of body and mind; a healthy state of wellbeing free from disease
diabetes – noun any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive urination and persistent thirst
disease – noun an impairment of health or a condition of abnormal functioning
eating – noun the act of consuming food
exercise – noun the activity of exerting your muscles in various ways to keep fit; a task performed or problem solved in order to develop skill or understanding; systematic training by multiple repetitions; (usually plural) a ceremony that involves processions and speeches; the act of using; verb do physical exercise; give a workout to; learn by repetition; put to use; carry out or practice; as of jobs and professions
dieting – noun the act of restricting your food intake (or your intake of particular foods)
counseling – noun something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
diabetes – noun any of several metabolic disorders marked by excessive urination and persistent thirst
metabolic – adj. undergoing metamorphosis; of or relating to metabolism
syndrome – noun a complex of concurrent things; a pattern of symptoms indicative of some disease
genetic – adj. of or relating to the science of genetics; pertaining to or referring to origin; tending to occur among members of a family usually by heredity; of or relating to or produced by or being a gene
factor – noun an independent variable in statistics; anything that contributes causally to a result; any of the numbers (or symbols) that form a product when multiplied together; (genetics) a segment of DNA that is involved in producing a polypeptide chain; it can include regions preceding and following the coding DNA as well as introns between the exons; it is considered a unit of heredity; an abstract part of something; a businessman who buys or sells for another in exchange for a commission; one of two or more integers that can be exactly divided into another integer; verb resolve into factors
cause – noun a justification for something existing or happening; events that provide the generative force that is the origin of something; any entity that produces an effect or is responsible for events or results; a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end; a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy; verb give rise to; cause to happen or occur, not always intentionally; cause to do; cause to act in a specified manner
medicine – noun the learned profession that is mastered by graduate training in a medical school and that is devoted to preventing or alleviating or curing diseases and injuries; (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease; the branches of medical science that deal with nonsurgical techniques; punishment for one’s actions; verb treat medicinally, treat with medicine

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