What is Insulin Resistance?
If you have PCOS or if you’ve been on the S'moo Babe App you’ve probably seen someone posting about Insulin Resistance, so what is it?
The fact is, the majority of women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) have insulin resistance or high insulin levels. If you haven’t been diagnosed with PCOS yet, keep in mind that this is a symptom and an underlying physiological driver to the diagnosis.
Let’s move on, because we are here to talk about insulin resistance and what it is, what it means and what you can do about it… we can talk about PCOS another day.
What is insulin resistance?
Is when your cells in your muscles, fat and liver don’t respond well to insulin and the excess glucose in the blood reduces the cells ability to absorb blood sugar to be used as energy. So your pancreas produces even more insulin to lower your blood sugar levels and this generates inflammation and causes weight gain. As time passes, your cells may become more resistant to insulin and this rises both insulin and blood sugar. This process increases the risk of developing prediabetes, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.
What normally happens? If you don’t have insulin resistance, a normal response is that the hormone insulin rises after eating but only briefly. This stimulates the liver and muscles to take up sugar from the blood and convert it to energy. This makes the blood sugar and insulin fall.
What causes insulin resistance?
It still isn’t completely understood what causes insulin resistance but there are common factors that link people who have it and it’s believed that one or more of the following factors can cause it: being overweight or obese, not enough exercise, chronic stress, PCOS, a high-sugar diet or high-calorie diet. Research has found through observation that insulin resistance normally occurs in people who have excess fat stored in their liver or pancreas, high levels of inflammation and high levels of insulin in their blood.
What do I do about insulin resistance?
There are a few things you can try to help reverse insulin resistance, most of these are surrounding eating healthier foods and losing weight. To make the largest impact, a low-carb, ketogenic diet works well because it involves not eating sugar or carbohydrates which your body rapidly digests into sugar. This allows less sugar to enter your bloodstream and results in lower levels of insulin because there is less sugar (glucose) to move.
It’s important to remember that studies are done all the time to practice these methods to reverse insulin resistance but studies are also done to see how it’s created. One study on healthy men (let’s face it, most of these studies are done on men and not women) tested diets that cause insulin resistance. They found that diets that increase your bodyweight, such as consuming high-carb, high-fat, high calorie foods caused insulin resistance in these men within days.
You can improve your insulin sensitivity with things like more exercise, reduced stress, getting more sleep and eating more soluble fiber (oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables).
It might feel like you’re alone sometime when you’re dealing with something like insulin resistance but one in three Americans are experiencing it. You’re not alone but it can be hard to find communities of people going through the same difficulties. Try reaching out to women in the S'moo Babe Community to find people going through similar difficulties. We want to help you get through this.
This content is strictly the opinion of S'moo and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither S'moo nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.