What is Insulin Resistance?
After a meal there is a rise in blood
glucose in the body. This stimulates the pancreas
to secrete insulin. Insulin attaches to the insulin
receptors on the cell surface and enables the glucose
to enter muscle and fat cells where it is stored or
burned for energy.
The pancreas secretes sufficient insulin but the
body is resistant to the insulin. To compensate, the
pancreas secretes more and more insulin. The excess
insulin manages to keep the blood glucose within the
upper limit of the normal range, so diabetes does not
occur. However, the high insulin levels lead to high
triglyceride levels, low good cholesterol (HDL-C), high
blood pressure, and all signs of metabolic syndrome. This
raises the risk for heart attack. In this case,
the fasting blood glucose may be between 6.0 and 7.0 mmol/L
(impaired fasting glucose) or blood sugar levels may rise
to high levels after meals.
Insulin resistance is caused in a large part by weight gain,
especially around the middle. It can be worsened by the
over-consumption of refined carbohydrates, such as bread,
pastas, and sugary foods. Weight reduction can result in
a 30%-60% improvement in insulin sensitivity.