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To help illustrate what this does to your body, you must first understand how your body takes the food you eat and turns it into energy. Whatever you eat (carbohydrates, proteins, fat) must be turned into glucose in order for your body to use it as fuel. Your pancreas secretes insulin to help the glucose to get into the individual cells. For some reason that is not completely understood, people with insulin resistance require more insulin than normal for glucose to be used. It stimulates the intestinal fat cells to multiply (thus the tendency for excessive weight gain in the abdominal area) It causes the enzyme, lipase, not to work properly (thus fat is stored instead of being broken down).

Insulin resistance is thought to affect the hypothalamus in the brain and stimulates the hunger center. The fastest way to satisfy hunger is through ingestion of carbohydrates and it is believed that this is why people with insulin resistance are said to be “carb cravers”. As we know, the ingestion of carbohydrates in turn stimulates the secretion of insulin which in turn stimulates hunger and the cycle repeats itself.

Insulin resistance is still not totally understood, but we do know it creates a significant impact on a person's health.  There are three times in life that those who are genetically prone to insulin resistance see an increase in insulin levels.  The first time in life is during adolescence where we see an irregularity in the monthly cycle, excessive hair growth, and weight gain.  The second time is while pregnant.  All pregnant women are more insulin resistant, but those who are genetically prone to insulin resistance see more of a change.  The third time is during menopause.  During each one of these transitions in life, the amount of insulin used to get glucose into the cells increases resulting in the side effects of an overproduction of insulin, such as weight gain.  

Insulin resistance does not go away and can not be ignored.  For some, understanding the causes and effects of insulin resistance and making a diet change is enough.  This diet includes consuming a high amount of protein, about 100 grams a day, and a low amount of carbohydrates, about 50 grams a day.  In order to reach the daily goal of consuming 100 grams of protein a day, we offer a whey protein shake.  We also recommend foods that have a low glycemic index.  For others, medication, as well as a change in diet may be necessary.  Some physcians recommend a form of the medication Metformin in order to treat the insulin resistance.  This medication is extremely safe and effective in reducing a person's insulin resistance.   

Written by Jaime McCord — March 07, 2012

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