The Insulin Resistance Epidemic
One in three Americans have a silent blood glucose problem known as insulin resistance. Left untreated, insulin resistance is the cause of many diseases that are actually preventable; such as prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancers.
As insulin resistance develops, the body fights back by producing more insulin. Over months and years, the beta cells in the pancreas that are working so hard to make insulin get worn out and can no longer keep pace with the demand for more and more insulin. (As insulin resistance develops, the body fights back by producing more insulin. Over months and years, the beta cells in the pancreas that are working overtime to make insulin get worn out and can’t keep pace with the demand for insulin. ) This inflammatory response makes it difficult for insulin to communicate with the cells in the liver, muscles, and adipose tissue.
There are several factors that play a role in insulin resistance, but cellular inflammation is the main cause. Cellular inflammation results from an imbalance of two key fatty acids in our blood, Arachidonic Acid (AA) and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA). High levels of arachidonic acid release pro—inflammatory hormones.
Your genetics and ethnic background can increase your risk for developing insulin sensitivity. Driving factors behind insulin resistance are excess body weight, too much belly fat, lack of exercise, smoking, stress, and not enough sleep. Fortunately, you can change these factors. Dietary factors over the long term lead to increased cellular inflammation, making it more likely that you will become insulin resistant. Such as those listed below:
- An imbalance of protein to carbohydrate such as excessive daily carbohydrate intake.
- Excess caloric intake causing oxidative stress.
- Excess intake of omega-6 fatty acids such as corn, fatty meats, and processed food.
- Excess intake of saturated fatty acids, especially palmitic acid.
- Not enough omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in fish, seafood, and quality fish oil.
- Not enough polyphenols to activate anti-oxidative genes to reduce oxidative stress.
- Not enough polyphenols to promote gut health such as vegetables and berries.
- Not enough digestible fiber to promote and maintain gut health.
It is difficult to lose weight when we have insulin resistance and cellular inflammation. When we choose the right foods, have the right balance of protein to carbohydrate at each meal, and enough omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols we can then keep insulin levels in a healthy range; making weight loss and disease prevention easier.