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Don't Be Resistant!

Jun 5, 2013

Look around you...

Chances are there's at least 1 insulin-resistant person in close vicinity to you right now. I bet you're thinking, "What in the world do you mean, Blair? What is insulin resistance and how would I know if someone has it?" The simple answer is that you can't SEE insulin resistance. What you can SEE is symptoms related to being at risk of being/becoming insulin resistant, the most obvious being extra fat around the waistline.

Insulin is term you're probably used to being talked about in relation to diabetes. This is a correct correlation. However, insulin plays a role in so many other things, one of which is fat metabolism and whether or not your body will store fat! It's primary job is to remove extra glucose (sugar) from your blood stream and put it to work in the muscles or to storage in the liver--or into fat cells as triglycerides. Being "sensitive" to insulin is ideal because this means your cells will respond to insulin's presence and will uptake sugar as needed. Becoming "resistant" to insulin is bad news because this means that your cells no longer respond to insulin and sugar is left in the blood stream to reak havoc on your body systemically, leading to a myriad of diseases.

The following is a list of things that can cause you to become insulin resistant:

  • A diet heavy in grains, sugar, and carbohydrates
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Chemicals in plastics
  • Excess omega-6 fatty acids from processed oils and inorganic meats
  • Inflammation
  • Low protein intake
  • Processed, packaged and greasy foods
  • Consumption of high fructose corn syrup
  • Prolonged, extreme calorie restriction
  • Skipping meals, especially breakfast
  • Stress, adrenal fatigue, elevated cortisol levels

The good news is that you are in control of your insulin sensitivity/resistance! Carbohydrate intake drives insulin, so your carbohydrate intake is the number one thing that determines whether or not your body is producing too much insulin that may lead to resistance and eventual disease. Diabetes is only the beginning. Insulin resistance is related to breast cancer, stroke, cholesterol irregularities, dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and many other chronic conditions.

To increase how sensitive your cells are to insulin, there are a few simple things you can do:

  • Reduce your intake of sugars, grains, refined carbohydrates and all processed and packaged junk foods.
  • Limit fructose and keep consumption of fruit to one to two servings a day. Fructose, even coming from fruit, will inhibit fat loss. Choose fruits like berries that are really high in fiber when you do eat fruit.
  • Weight train--this is far superior to steady state aerobic exercise when it comes to insulin sensitivity!
  • Eat organic protein to limit too many omega-6's and hormones/steroids/antibiotics.
  • Make sure your coffee and tea are organic to avoid intake of chemicals from the processing of the beans.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to reduce hormonal disruption.
  • Eliminate processed seed oils like canola, soybean, corn, safflower, etc.
  • Increase your consumption of fatty fish like salmon and/or sardines, or supplement with fish oil.

It's as easy as that! Isn't it great to know that you are in control based on simple lifestyle choices that you make daily? If you're still confused about insulin and the role it plays in overall health, don't fret! Just know that if you make the simple changes listed above, you're setting yourself up for insulin sensitivity instead of resistance, and this is what leads to a world of health and well-being without chronic disease!

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