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Natural Awakenings Boston

Insulin Resistance is Often Behind Those Stubborn Extra Pounds

Dec 26, 2012 06:48PM ● By Pam Pearson


Many people carry an extra five, twenty-five or even fifty pounds of weight on their bodies. These excess pounds are often concentrated around the waist and belly, and it can be quite a challenge to shed them and keep them off. Most people who struggle with this issue are hampered by a problem that is rarely mentioned when it comes to weight loss, namely, insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance occurs when insulin receptors in the cells decrease in number and efficiency. Since insulin is the fat storage hormone, pounds increase when these receptors are not operating efficiently. The main reason for this malfunction is a diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates.

To understand this process, it’s important to know what happens to carbohydrates in the body. Once they are eaten, carbohydrates are converted into glucose (blood sugar), which is used by the body for energy. Some carbohydrates are converted into glucose more quickly than others and have what is known as a high Glycemic Index (GI). Examples include white bread, white rice, cereals, potatoes and pasta. Foods that convert and release glucose more gradually, thus having low GI scores, include apples, vegetables, beans and seeds.

As the consumption of too many high glycemic carbohydrates spikes blood sugar, the pancreas reacts by triggering the production of insulin and storing excess glucose in the cells. Since cells in the liver, muscles and brain are already full, this excess is stored in fat cells. Furthermore, sugar spikes are followed by crashes, causing hunger and feelings of fatigue that drive more poor eating habits. If this cycle continues day after day, the body never uses up the excess energy stored in the fat cells. Waistlines grow as a result.

The solution is to reset the body by eliminating high GI foods from the diet. Such a change can be difficult, depending upon the severity of a person’s sugar addiction. A successful plan involves eating a consistently low-glycemic diet of lean protein and vegetables, eliminating high-glycemic foods, adding proper nutritional supplementation and incorporating 20 minutes of exercise into each day. This resets the production of insulin and establishes a new baseline for the body, which is then less likely to store unwanted fat.

Pam Pearson is a certified health and nutrition advisor and founder of Wealthy Healthy Women. For more information, email [email protected], call 978-877-6122 or visit

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