Insulin Resistance – Part 1

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance, simply put, is when cells get overwhelmed by the amount of insulin trying to get through the cell walls. In its literal sense, the walls of your cells become resistant to letting insulin in. This results in the production of more insulin in your bloodstream.

A normal amount of insulin can usually pass through the cell membrane, but when the cell has had enough, it becomes resistant to letting any more in. The other problem with all this insulin is it makes us feel hungry. The food eaten because of this hunger is much more likely to be stored as fat. This is where insulin resistance begins and causes an elevated level of blood sugar. This can cause in snacking or eating which can cause weight gain.

Why should you care about insulin resistance?

A recent study soon to be published in January 2022 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that nearly 40% of young adults  experience insulin resistance[1]. Many studies in the past only focused on people over 40 and over, as this is typically the time that some people become less active and develop habits that lead to insulin resistance. However, as this study indicates insulin resistance can occur at any age and is not limited to one group of the population.

The author of this study shared, “…the presence of insulin resistance is a precursor to development of diabetes and potentially fatal cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, and cardiac death.”

Left untreated, insulin resistances can become a bigger health concern

Insulin resistance that is undetected and/or untreated can lead to:

  • type 2 diabetes, 
  • obesity,
  • for women PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • high blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • eye problems
  • memory issues

Diabetes Epidemic

New data released in 2021 by International Diabetes Federation (IDF)[1] reveal that 537 million adults around the world are living with diabetes.

  • One in ten (10.5%) adults around the world are currently living with diabetes.
  • The total number of people with diabetes is predicted to rise to 643 million (11.3%) by 2030 and 783 million (12.2%) by 2045.
  • Over 4 in 5 (81%) people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • An estimated 44.7% of adults living with diabetes (240 million people) are undiagnosed.

How do you know if you should be concerned about insulin resistance?

Ask your doctor to order you a fasted test of your blood glucose and cholesterol for starters, or some other signs you may be insulin resistant.

Here are some of the more visible signs and symptoms of insulin resistance:

  • skin tags, 
  • difficulty losing weight
  • excess abdominal fat
  • blood pressure readings of 130/80 or higher, 
  • a waistline measuring over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women, 
  • high triglycerides (fasting measure over 150mg)
  • and low HDL (or good) cholesterol (under 40mg in men and under 50mg in women). 

What can we do about insulin resistance?

Education is key and understanding that we do have choices. Insulin resistance is a lifestyle disease meaning that it is created by choices that we make every day. Choices such as daily activity level, quality of foods, levels of sugar, carbohydrates, as well as reducing processed and hormone laden foods are key. Reversing insulin resistance is possible when you are open to learning new ways of thinking and changing daily habits that create a strong metabolism and decrease carb cravings. 


[1] Vibhu Parcha, Brittain Heindl, Rajat Kalra, Peng Li, Barbara Gower, Garima Arora, Pankaj Arora, Insulin Resistance and Cardiometabolic Risk Profile Among Nondiabetic American Young Adults: Insights From NHANES, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 107, Issue 1, January 2022, Pages e25–e37, https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgab645

[2] https://publichealthupdate.com/diabetes-around-the-world-in-2021-key-global-findings/

Check out my Youtube video to find out more about insulin resistance simplified: https://bit.ly/3n7IHyp

D. Miceli

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Coach Dee