If you have excess weight especially around your tummy area, you may have an underlying metabolic process called insulin resistance that might be contributing to your weight gain, according to Dr. Prab R. Tumpati, a practicing obesity medicine physician and founder of W8MD Medical Weight Loss Centers of America.
What is Insulin Resistance?
After you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will increase. It is the insulin’s job to push the glucose into the cells where it is used for energy. Insulin also helps muscles; fat and liver cells store sugar that can be released when it is needed.
Each cell surface has insulin receptors, which act like little doors that open and close to regulate the amount of blood sugar allowed to flow in. If the body takes in too many simple sugars like those found in carbohydrates, the cells are bombarded with so much insulin that the “doors” begin to malfunction and shut down. If the doors aren’t open, the pancreas feels the need to produce even more insulin to push into the cells because it cannot perform its function to lower sugar levels, tending to leave the insulin floating in the blood stream. A vicious cycle is now in place resulting in a condition called insulin resistance.
How does insulin resistance cause weight gain?
Since insulin resistance leads to com-pensation from the body wherein the body produces more in-sulin in order to keep the blood sugars under control, it leads to high levels of this “anabolic” or body building hormone called insulin. Also, insulin has a tendency to redistribute the weight to the upper part of the body and the abdomen – a type of fat known as visceral fat! Research has shown that intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat leads to ncreased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even increase the risk of many cancers.
How common is the problem of insulin resistance?
Currently, up to seventy percent of the population of the United States have some degree of insulin resistance with about a third of the population meeting the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Every time your body takes carbohydrates, you need insulin. The glycemic indexes of foods determine how fast the sugar is absorbed into the blood stream.
Over a time of eating high glycemic index diets such as white bread, white rice, potatoes, French fries, soft drinks, etc, the body becomes of energy to let us lose weight. The more overweight we are, the more insulin resistant we tend to become and this can cause adverse health effects. Abdominal fat produces harmful cytokines leading to body inflammation.
Reducing insulin resistance is the key to lowering the risk of a condition known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
How do you diagnose Metabolic Syndrome?
Affecting up to thirty-five percent of all adults in the United States,
the criteria for metabolic syndrome include at least three of the following to be diagnosed:
• A large waistline.
• A high triglyceride level (or you’re on medicine to treat high triglycerides).
• A low HDL cholesterol level (or you’re on medicine to treat low HDL cholesterol).
• High blood pressure (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood pressure).
• High fasting blood sugar (or you’re on medicine to treat high blood sugar). Mildly high blood sugar may be an early
thirty-five percent would reduce the obesity. The food pyramid was constructed with very little scientific evidence. Significant carbohydrates, especially the ones with high glycemic index were allowed to be consumed.
However, the high starch containing foods lead to the phenomenon of insulin resistance, which eventually leads to a whole host of metabolic problems including risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, etc.
How Do I Know If I Have Insulin Resistance?
The diagnosis of insulin resistance is fairly simple. Place a check
by any item that applies to you:
• Do you have a family history of diabetes, being overweight, abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure or heart disease?
• Do you crave sugary or starchy foods frequently?
• Is it difficult for you to lose weight, especially around your middle?
• Do you feel that you are addicted to carbohydrates?
• Do you experience shakiness, difficulty thinking, or headaches
(often in the afternoon) that go away after you eat?
• Do you have afternoon fatigue?
• Have you experienced hypoglycemia?
• Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30?
• Are you ten pounds or more over what you would call your “ideal” weight?
• Do you exercise fewer than two times per week?
• Are you of Native American, Asian, African-American, or Hispanic ancestry?
• Do you have high blood pressure?
• Do you have high triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol?
• Are you forty-five years old or older?
• Have you had a history of gestational diabetes in pregnancy?
• Do you have polycystic ovary syndrome?
mossy, flat, wart-like darkened skin on your neck or armpits or underneath your breasts?
Acanthosis nigricans, sign of insulin resistance
• Do you smoke?
If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, you are likely insulin resistant. The more yes answers you gave, the more likely you are to have insulin resistance and the greater your risk is of developing health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. W8MD may be able to help. Please call 1-800-W8MD-007 (1-
800-986-3007) to make an appointment or visit http://www.w8md.com