Back in 2008 I was diagnosed with insulin resistance. My physician gave me the book, The Insulin-Resistance Diet, by Cheryle R. Hart, M.D. and Mary Kay Grossman, R.D. and suggested that I use it to learn more about insulin resistance and how my body responds to glucose. I have to say that at first I was skeptical because I really hate the word "diet". I always imagine a LOT of restriction with short-term gains, I'm just not into that. I prefer slow progress that is actually sustatinable for a lifetime! That said, I learned a lot from the book and though it says "diet" in the title, I think it was more of a "selling" point than a reflection of my idea of what the word "diet" means. I'd like to share what I hope will be helpful to those who may be fighting insulin resistance.
A hormone that is secreted into the bloodstream by the pancreas. Insulin's job is to regulate blood glucose and also signal fat storage.
How does it work?
After you eat carbohydrates your blood sugar level rises, the pancreas then releases insulin. That insulin transports glucose (blood sugar) to your body's cells to be used as energy. The blood sugar level then returns to normal.
Where is the problem?
If you take in more glucose (blood sugar) than your cells need, insulin will take the extra blood glucose and transport it to fat storage. When insulin rises and spikes to regulate high blood sugar levels, then more fat is being stored. This creates a few issues. 1. If there's not enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels, you end up with diabetes. That's bad news! 2. High insulin levels on a frequent basis makes you fat. Also, bad news!
We all have different baseline levels of insulin because each of us has a different genetic makeup. That means that some of us will struggle with the way that our pancreas deals with the sugars we intake (that would be me) and others will not (lucky ducks).
The authors worked together to develop a plan they felt would be safe, easy to understand, have few restrictions and still cause weight loss. I like that kind of plan. It's a two-step plan that is much of what they said it is, they call it the Link-and-Balance Eating Method. I'll give a general overview, but you'll want to read the book for all the details.
Step One: Link Protein
Basically, include a food with protein every time you eat whether or you also have a food with fat or carbohydrates. Why? Because studies show that protein foods do not cause insulin levels to spike. The spiking and dropping is what triggers the fat storage.
Step Two: Balance Protein and Carbohydrates
The idea is to balance every one serving of a high-carbohydrate food with one serving of a high-protein food. You don't want to have more than two servings of a high-carbohydrate food at any one meal or snack. You can't just "fix it" by eating more protein. Dang it! The protein doesn't work the same way though. To satisfy hunger, they recommend adding vegetables (don't need to be linked) and then protein and then no more than two high-carbohydrate food servings.
Why does it work?
Okay, this is where you'll probably want to read the book because it involves more than you probably want to read in this one post. It's all about macronutrients and what is required for them to react in a positive way in your body to combat insulin resistance and weight gain.
I've used this method in the past in conjunction with Lifetime Wellness Challenge in order to shed the insulin resistance diagnosis and found it really helpful for me. Do you struggle with insulin resistance? Have you found something that helps you? Please share!
Sources: The Insulin-Resistance Diet by Cheryle R. Hart, M.D. and Mary Kay Grossman, R.D.