What is insulin?
Every time a carbohydrate is eaten the digestive system converts it into glucose, a simple sugar, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. In response to the rise in blood sugar, insulin is produced and secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas. As insulin travels through the circulatory system, it regulates the metabolism, storage and level of blood sugar. It converts some glucose into glycogen, a sugar-polymer that is stored in the liver and muscle tissues. Glycogen can be converted back into glucose quickly and easily on an as-needed basis. The remaining glucose circulates in the bloodstream to be used for energy. Only when the pancreas secretes the proper amount of insulin does it regulate appetite, growth hormone, cholesterol and fluid levels.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance:
- General fatigue, especially after meals• Difficulty losing weight• Always hungry• Need for sweets after meals
- Cravings for sweets are not satisfied by eating them
- Frequent urination
- Waist circumference equal to or greater than hips
- Excessive thirst
- Irritability and anger when going too long between meals
Contributors to Insulin—and therefore Leptin— imbalances include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Polyunsaturated fats (primarily vegetable oils) • Caffeine and other stimulants
- Psychological stress
- Sleep deprivation
- Food sensitivities
- Insufficient exercise
The Starvation System:
- Leptin declines due to reduced fat stores, or is perceived to be low due to leptin resistance.
- Low leptin inhibits thyroid hormone conversion T4àT3, thus slowing metabolism and fat burning.
- Low leptin increases cortisol, which stores fat and breaks down muscle.
- Low leptin increases NPY, which makes you crave carbohydrates (the bad kind).
- Low leptin increases ghrelin, which makes you hungry.
- Your slow metabolism makes you want to sit on the couch all day.
- Your appetite is raging. You lose control and eat everything in the fridge.
- It’s over! Weight loss program broken.
- Your body feverishly stores fat to replenish its stores.
- Your body stores extra fat just in case you ever feel like inducing another famine.
- At some point you go on another calorie-restricted diet.
- Back to Step One.
Decrease leptin levels = Increase cortisol (wastes muscle, stores fat) & Increased ghrelin & NPY (increase appetite for carbohydrates)
Metabolic Syndrome Insulin Resistance
Metabolic Syndrome Symptoms
Check which of these symptoms are troublesome or persist over time. Two or more symptoms are an indication of Metabolic Syndrome, a risk factory for obesity and diabetes.
- high blood pressure
- weight gain/waist
- elevated triglycerides
- increase in facial hair
- high choleterol
- heart disease or family history of heart disease
- diabetes or family history of diabetes
- waist size greater than 35 inches
- numbess hands/feet