Insulin is a hormone that’s produced by your pancreas in response to a rise in the sugar levels in your blood. After you eat a meal, there’s some increase in blood sugar. Some foods produce a rapid rise, others a slower rise. Insulin triggers your cell membranes to open up and let the sugar in, where it gets converted into energy.
Unfortunately, for a large and growing population, that’s not what happens! You see, frequent consumption of large quantities of sugar and processed carbohydrates leads to a condition called insulin resistance. It’s as if your cell membranes get tired of insulin shouting at them all the time and they close their ears. Your cells become resistant to insulin and your blood sugar rises to an unsafe level. If this continues unchecked, it could lead to diabetes.
When the sugar in your blood can’t get it into your cells it’s converted to a kind of fat called white fat, which is primarily stored around your waist. Thus insulin resistance leads to excess belly fat! Instead of having energy after a meal, like you should, instead you feel tired and you put on weight.
A few of the hallmark signs are excess belly fat, craving for sweets after a full meal and an afternoon dip in energy, usually accompanied by a craving for sweets.
You can also purchase a glucose meter and perform what’s known as a glucose tolerance test at home. The usual purpose of the glucose tolerance test is to see how your body responds to a glycemic load. These are usually done in a doctor’s office and can cost hundreds of dollars to do. After taking a fasting glucose reading, you would be asked to drink a sugar syrup concoction and your blood sugars are tested for several hours afterwards. It’s a great way to assess how your body handles a huge sugar load, but not how you handle your typical daily diet.
Instead of glucose syrup, you’ll test with a real meal…representative of the worst meal you’d typically eat in a week.
Start with the worst meal you typically eat, including the maximum quantity of carbohydrate rich foods you’re likely to eat at any given meal. Be honest with yourself. If you have not yet given up eating sugar, test a sugar rich meal s you know exactly how you react to it. It’s ideal to repeat with several representative test meals to see how your body handles different types of foods. This will help you design the diet that’s just right for you.
In addition to measuring blood sugar at designated intervals, monitor how you feel. Record any symptoms, such as light headedness, headache, dizziness, hunger, cravings, nausea, etc. Be sure to record the time the symptoms occurred.
It’s helpful to know how your body responds to certain foods that you regularly eat or would like to eat. You can do a mini test on each food . Simply measure your blood sugar before and after eating the food. It should stay at or below 120 and return to the pre meal level by two hours.
Daily pre and post meal glucose monitoring for a week is also a way to determine the foods that create glucose spikes. Once you know how your body responds to certain foods, you can make informed choices about what to eat, rather than relying on hearsay or guess work.
Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes, a serious and life threatening disease. Even if it doesn’t , insulin resistance can be life threatening in that it can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke unless you take the steps to reverse it and control your blood sugar levels.
Do you suspect you are at risk for insulin resistance? In the Taming Your Midline webinar package, there’s an online assessment that provides a scorecard of your risk. Then there’s a 30 day program for restoring insulin sensitivity. It works. Most of my clients get dramatic results within two weeks.
Start by measuring your waist/hip ratio. If you’re a male and your waist is equal to or bigger than your waist, you most likely have developed insulin resistance. If you’re female, your waist measurement should be less than 80% of your hip measurement.
Go ahead and do this simple waist/hip measurement and comment below. Are you at risk for insulin resistance?