Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
The concept of "insulin resistance" is continuously thrown around largely related to the rise of diabetes. But delving into its relation to the chronic disease and strengthening its understanding is valuable for diabetes prevention. So what truly is insulin resistance, the potential signs and symptoms, and how may it be reversed?
What Is Insulin Resistance?
When carbohydrate sources are ingested, they are broken down and reduced into sugar (glucose) to provide the body's cells with usable energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, can be thought of as a key, opening cell doors and allowing glucose to enter. But when the cells are resistant to insulin, glucose has difficulty moving into the cells, consecutively remaining in the blood - hence "high blood sugar." If left uncontrolled, insulin resistance can result to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes overtime, with potential to lead to additional health consequences if also unmanaged. While the exact cause is primarily unknown, health experts commonly point to an overweight or obese status, often related to poor diet intake and a sedentary lifestyle.
Insulin Resistance Symptoms
It should go without saying individuals may experience more severe symptoms than others, while many commonly go without. Nonetheless, the following indicators are mentionable and noteworthy, particularly in the absence of diagnosable lab work.
• Craving Sugar or Starches
The body may start to crave sugars and starches when they cannot be utilized properly. If glucose never makes it into the cells and stays in the blood, it may feel deprived and accelerate a feeling of sugar deprivation.
• Heightened Hunger Following Breakfast
Commonly, the American breakfast consists of a quick slice of toast, a simple bowl of oatmeal or cereal, or a plate of stacked pancakes drenched in maple syrup. All mentioned items may hold a piece of nutritional value, but the total meal plate is unbalanced and only high in carbohydrate and sugar. And with heightened levels of insulin leading up to breakfast, the high carb and sugar load spikes blood sugar only to quickly drop. The rapid fall of blood sugar can subsequently increase a persistent, dramatic hunger.
• Weak or Shaky Without Meal Consistency
Without consistent meals, comes unstable blood sugars. Insulin will start to heighten and once a meal is consumed (especially if rich in carbohydrate), blood sugar may plummet. In turn, you may feel weak, shaky, and fatigued.
• Eating Stimulates Hunger
Interestingly, you may wake up or arrive to lunch hours without an appetite. But as the day goes on, you start to build up a hunger, eat, and become even hungrier. In fact, Dr. Caroline Cederquist, the founding physician of bistroMD, has discovered eating an unmatched balance of foods can actually stimulate appetite.
• Difficulty Losing Weight
This may be the most discouraging consequence of insulin resistance some face. Heightened insulin levels can convince the body to easily store fat, making it difficult to lose weight. Despite increased determinations to lose it, heightened insulin levels may take precedency and hold onto weight.
Reverse the Symptoms
Luckily, insulin resistance does have the opportunity to reverse itself with simple tips and your efforts. The following recommendations are based on a total lifestyle change, including a healthful diet and consistent exercise.
• Consume Well-Balanced Meals
Rather than consuming a meal rich in carbohydrate, balance the meal with lean protein and healthy fat. A well-rounded plate lessens the risk of dropped blood sugar levels, especially following meals. Additionally, replacing a high carbohydrate snack with a rich in protein source can further reduce unpleasant symptoms.
• Eat Consistently
Importantly, do not wait extensive hours at a time to accommodate your hunger. Eating consistent meals and snacks can keep blood sugars stable and reduce dramatic fluctuations. While feelings of hunger during breakfast and lunch may be absent, start working towards their intake to reduce ravenous cravings come afternoon hours.
Along with diet, exercise also fits in the insulin resistance puzzle. During exercise, active muscles help uptake circulating blood sugars to replete energy reserves without a critical need of insulin. With more muscle available, the greater opportunity for blood sugars to stabilize. Recommendations suggests most individuals participate in at least 150 minutes of exercise per week while incorporating strength-training movements.
• Weight Loss
Weight loss is considerably valuable for reducing risk of developing diabetes. The National institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests losing five to seven percent of body weight or 10 to 14 percent if over 200 pounds. However, following the lifestyle changes and guidance above can naturally cause weight loss and help reverse insulin resistance.