Insulin resistance and weight loss can either work in your favor or against you. That’s why today, we explain in greater detail how insulin works and how it can affect weight disorders.
Being aware of insulin resistance is important for any weight loss regime because if it happens to you, you are likely to put on weight easily.
Besides, you are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you don’t control your intake of certain foods.
Before we talk about this resistance, we will describe the function of carbohydrates, which are essential to understand the role of insulin and fat storage in the body.
Insulin resistance, weight loss, and carbohydrates
Carbs are macronutrients that contain sugars (glucose). This glucose serves to fuel all the cells in the human body and provide energy. It is like our body’s gasoline.
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
*Simple carbohydrates: Sucrose (common sugar), Lactose (dairy products), Fructose (fruit), and maltose (beer).
*Complex carbohydrates: Starch (bread, pasta, rice, potato).
The first four are simple, and their absorption (assimilation) is rapid. This means that we eat them and they’ll give us quick energy, but we will soon be hungry again.
Starches, on the other hand, are complex carbohydrates. Their assimilation is slower, energy is released gradually, and glucose enters the bloodstream more slowly. It will take longer for us to feel hungry.
To assimilate this energy and store its remaining when we don’t have food, a hormone comes into play: insulin. It ensures that we don’t have an excess of sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, in our blood.
The role of insulin
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas. It is responsible for removing sugar from the bloodstream because it is toxic to our body.
Part of that sugar goes into the cells as energy, the other part will be burned by physical exercise, and the excess is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen (energy reserves).
The body of a healthy individual will produce as much insulin as sugars to be eliminated from the blood. A diabetic, on the other hand, will not get the same amount of insulin to eliminate them, so the sugars remain in the blood.
To avoid this, the affected person will have to shoot extra insulin, follow a special diet, and exercise more.
It can also happen that you eat too many sweets, and the amount of insulin that the pancreas has released cannot cope with it. If you don’t remedy this, you will end up being diabetic.
Am I insulin resistant?
If you have a hard time losing weight despite being on a diet, you may be having difficulty getting your pancreas to produce enough insulin to eliminate all that extra sugar in your blood.
Excess sugar is converted into fat, and triglycerides increase. This fat usually accumulates in the belly and leads to a severe metabolic syndrome problem associated with heart failure.
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To know for sure if you are insulin resistant, you should see your doctor. With a blood test, he or she can find out.
For example, if you have high glucose and triglycerides and also suffer from hypertension, the specialist may suspect that you are, in fact, insulin resistant.
But other symptoms may raise the alarm. For example, if you get hungry again after eating carbs, if you feel fatigued and weak, if you get dizzy easily, or if you are very thirsty. All these symptoms can also be a sign of diabetes.
Why am I diabetic?
Many things play a role. For example, if there are cases of diabetes in your family; if you do not exercise regularly; if your diet is unbalanced and rich in processed foods, industrial pastries, sugars and fast food.
There are more cases that can lead to insulin resistance:
What happens if you fast?
If you go a long time without eating, that is, you make the mistake of skipping meals, the level of glucose and energy drops, and you will feel tired and weak. When you go eat, you will eat voraciously and binge.
In doing so, the pancreas has to give you a shot of insulin. This means that everything will be assimilated more quickly, and you will soon want to eat again.
Hence, it is recommended to eat at least five meals a day. This way, there won’t be as many insulin spikes; you will be able to control hunger, maintain good body weight, and prevent diabetes.
How to reverse insulin resistance naturally
You may ask: can I avoid and/or reverse insulin resistance? Yes, as long as you adopt new lifestyle habits, start eating better and exercise.
Your diet, for example, should be varied, balanced and healthy:
- Give up refined flours, pasta, and rice and opt for whole grains and legumes (complex carbohydrates)
- Increase fruits and vegetables
- Eat more fish and lean meat. Avoid red meat
- Drink at least two liters of liquid a day (80% water and 20% food)
In addition, there is another little trick that can help you: combining foods properly.
Mixing the right foods
The combination of foods also influences the extraction of sugars. For example, if sugars are separated from other foods, they are assimilated more, i.e., more insulin, greater assimilation, more hunger in a shorter period of time.
On the other hand, if you combine with other nutrients that, in addition to sugars, contain fiber, fat, acids (lemon, vinegar, fermented bread), the assimilation will be slower.
For example, white bread is assimilated quickly. On the other hand, if it has fiber, that is to say, wheat bread, rye bread, or grains, it will be assimilated more slowly.
And if it is accompanied by a protein such as cheese or ham, it will be even slower. So you will be hungry later and eat less.
10 Foods to reverse insulin resistance naturally
As we said earlier, if you suffer from insulin resistance, it’s important to try and reverse it to avoid diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.
A study published in the Journal of medicinal food has discovered the high content of an active compound called “sulforaphane” in broccoli sprouts, which has beneficial effects in people with I.R.I.
Sulforaphane has the ability to counteract the inflammatory effects that occur in the body caused by high blood sugar levels present in insulin resistance.
Broccoli, like other vegetables, has a good content of enzymes and phytonutrients, which remain active at temperatures below 40°C, so it is important to consume them raw.
It can be used in salads, sauces, green juices, and mousses, among other preparations.
Turmeric is a spice widely used in the East that gives a delightful flavor to food, and at the same time, has lots of beneficial health properties.
The Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology found “curcumin,” a compound in turmeric, to be very valuable for treating insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.
The study identified curcumin’s activity in regulating cholesterol, triglyceride, and fatty acid levels altered in insulin resistance.
Turmeric is a delicious spice that can be used in infusions, dressings, sauces, and juices, among others.
A study conducted by Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, Iran, shows the ability to lower elevated blood glucose levels through regular consumption of ginger.
The study found that after 8 weeks of administering 3 grams of ginger to type 2 diabetic patients the levels of the following indicators were significantly regularized:
- Fasting blood sugar
- Glycosylated hemoglobin
- Fasting insulin
- Insulin resistance index
- β-cell function
- Insulin sensitivity
Ginger, in turn, acts at the hormonal level; a study in the European Journal of Pharmacology indicated that ginger extract interacts with serotonin receptors that regulate insulin production.
The study results increased blood insulin levels by 10%, which allowed a 35% reduction in blood sugar levels.
Ginger is a very aromatic and flavorful food used in dressings, sauces, and green juices.
Blueberries are pleasant wild berries with extensive antioxidant properties.
The administration of these berries notably improved beta-cell function and insulin levels, proving that this food is useful in the natural treatment of people with Insulin Resistance.
Another study published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that the consumption of blueberries after a meal helps to lower blood sugar levels.
In turn, it was indicated that postprandial glucose regulation after a meal helps prevent cardiovascular and metabolic problems.
Blueberries are wild berries, which can be consumed as a healthy snack in salads, fruits, juices, mousses, sauces, and desserts.
Regular consumption of this wonderful Andean cereal provides beneficial effects in people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
The study conducted helped to significantly lower and regulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the blood.
Another study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the anti glycemic properties of several Andean kinds of cereal.
Among these, quinoa was shown to contain a high quercetin content which would act as an anti glycemic and antioxidant agent, ideal for the treatment of Insulin Resistance.
Quinoa is a delicious Andean cereal that should be grained, that is to say, cooked and integrated into sweet or savory preparations. It can be used as an accompaniment and can be substituted by other cereals such as rice.
According to The Journal of Physiological Science, the beet is a vegetable that contains phytonutrients such as betaine, which acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation of damaged tissues and organs.
At the same time, another study showed that beet has antiglycemic properties.
The administration of beet extract increases acetylcholine and GLP1, stimulating insulin production, helping to metabolize excess sugar in the blood.
It is recommended to consume it raw to make the most of its phytonutrients, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals.
7. Carob and its benefits
Despite its sweet taste, carob has a low glycemic index and a series of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, making it ideal for people with insulin resistance and struggle with weight loss.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it can be used to treat diabetes because it has anti glycemic properties, that is, it lowers blood glucose levels.
In turn, it stimulates the production of beta cells which are key to the proper secretion of insulin in the blood.
Carob makes an ideal food for desserts and juices; you can also find it in its natural form (similar to vanilla beans), powder, or essence directly.
According to Biological Research, apricots, especially wild apricots, have a wonderful contribution of antioxidants and phytochemicals that prevent and fight chronic degenerative diseases.
Apricots can be consumed alone but can also be part of salads, juices, desserts and sauces.
Grapefruit helps reduce excess weight thanks to the presence of a protein called AMPK, which is important in patients with insulin resistance.
Grapefruit can be consumed alone, but it can also be consumed in juices, salads, sweet and savory juices, desserts, and sauces.
Cherries are very rich in natural antioxidants such as anthocyanins which help reduce inflammation present in people with insulin resistance.
In turn, the anthocyanins present in cherries help to reduce insulin levels in the blood significantly.
It is recommended to consume them in their natural state, i.e., raw, and avoid mixing them with sugar to take better advantage of their phytonutrients.
Insulin resistance and weight loss: Conclusion
Now you know what insulin resistance is, why it is important to know if you want to lose weight and what you should do to change it.
Also, combine aerobic exercise (walking, for example, at a brisk pace) with intense exercise such as weights (they build muscle, and muscle needs to be fed to maintain itself, so it also helps burn fat).
If you still can’t lose weight, you may have another problem. Please take a look at this article, where I explain why some women put on weight.