Fasting Insulin… The Key to Weight Loss?

Oct 01, 2018


My last client was a 35-year-old woman, who came because she was having trouble losing weight, had low energy, was moody, and having trouble getting pregnant.

She was obese but reported she exercised at least three times per week and ate “pretty well.” It frustrated her and her husband because they really felt like she was trying but she couldn’t move the needle and they wanted a baby.

She had recent routine labs done to monitor her health, all of which came back normal.

Upon a review of her labs, I noticed that she never had fasting insulin measured.

Insulin is an important hormone released by our pancreas. Its function in the body is to lower glucose. Although we are seeing increasingly people with high levels of insulin, it is not generally tested. 

Why?

Most providers will measure only glucose and A1c and they miss the development of insulin resistance syndrome, which is the first thing we see on the road to diabetes.

I’m sure you will have heard by now that most of us are eating way too many refined carbohdrates. We store carbohydrates as glycogen in our liver and our muscle. In our belly fat, we store excess carbs as triglycerides. When these cells become “full” of carbs, they don’t respond well to insulin and become “insulin-resistant.” This requires the pancreas to produce increasing amounts of insulin to overcome the “resistance.”

In the bloodstream, this is manifested by a high fasting insulin measurement. People who have high fasting insulin have tremendous trouble losing weight. Why?

Because insulin is a fat fertilizer. It is a pro-growth hormone and tells your body to hang on to fat.

My last client’s fasting insulin was high, and it was interfering with her hormones which signaled her ovaries to make testosterone instead of estrogen.

She had PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and when the fasting insulin was treated, she began to slowly lose weight and her periods returned to normal, ultimately resulting in her being able to get pregnant.

Here are my top 3 strategies for lowering a high insulin level:

  1. Keep processed sugar intake below 25 grams/day (the average American is consuming 150-200 grams/day). 25g = approx. 6 teaspoons!
  2. Build muscle - expand a healthy space for the excess carbs to go.
  3. Get your blood work done, and ask for your fasting insulin to be included, so that you can take action if need be.

For further information on how insulin affects weight loss check out this short clip from the movie Fed Up, which gives a great visual image of how the liver processes excess sugar, and turns it into fat cells. 

Please feel free to reach out to me if you'd like discuss your own potential health concerns: [email protected]

 

 

 

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