Carbohydrates play a significant role in insulin resistance and the storage of body fat.
Look around and it’s plain to see obesity and diabetes are at an all time high¹. Likewise, there’s an increase in complications that go hand in hand with diabetes. A few illnesses easily linked to diabetes include heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimers, skin ailments and nerve damage.
What is going on here and why do the statistics continue to rise?
I believe the answer lies in the types of carbohydrates we consume and the role they play in developing insulin resistance.
Understanding Insulin and it’s significance in the regulation of metabolism
Insulin and glucagon are two main hormones secreted by the pancreas to help maintain our balance of blood glucose. When everything is working as it should be, these two hormones work together to keep your blood sugar in check².
- When your blood sugar is too high, the pancreas secretes insulin. This helps cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and lower blood sugar levels.
- When your blood sugar is too low, the pancreas secretes glucagon. This triggers the liver to release stored glucose into the bloodstream and increase blood sugar levels.
It’s normal for blood sugar to increase with many of the foods we consume. However, after eating carbohydrates our blood sugar rises at a drastic and rapid pace. This is due to the breakdown of carbohydrates to glucose within our digestive system and it’s immediate absorption into the blood stream. Ideally, the glucose from carbohydrates clears rapidly as it should. But this is not always the case.
Excessive Carbohydrates and their Role in the Development of Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells no longer respond appropriately to insulin. As a result, the pancreas must increase it’s insulin production to get the same results. Consequently, the pancreas works harder with less results. The never-ending cycle eventually leads to the pancreas wearing out.
Whether the body’s cells are not responding properly to insulin or we are not producing enough insulin, the results are the same. Uncontrolled blood sugar, which leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other complications.
One of the main ways we develop insulin resistance is by eating a high carbohydrate, high sugar diet. Frankly, our pancreas is simply overtaxed by the excessive amounts of glucose we consume.
How Insulin effects fat metabolism and the storage of body fat
So, what happens to all the excess glucose that our pancreas and body’s cells are not able to handle? For starters, the extra circulating glucose is converted to glycogen (a form of energy) and stored in our liver and muscle tissues as an emergency supply of energy. However, there’s a limited amount of space in our storehouse and any extra glucose is converted to fat.
How Carbohydrates Role and Insulin Resistance Come Together
So here’s how it all comes together and the significance of carbohydrate’s role in insulin resistance. First of all, you eat a meal high in carbohydrates. The amount of glucose in your blood stream then triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Unfortunately, your body’s cells aren’t working properly and they don’t adequately respond to insulin. As a result, your pancreas releases more insulin. The increased insulin then triggers your brain that you are hungry and need to eat more. And so you do, creating an even greater build up of glucose within the blood stream. Consequently, the extra circulating glucose in your bloodstream get’s stored as either glycogen or body fat.
Essentially, our body becomes the perfect fat storing machine.
What’s the Answer?
One of the ways to decrease carbohydrates role in insulin resistance is simply to eat less carbs. This is one of the reasons those on the keto diet have such success with weight loss. There are numerous studies that have shown type 2 diabetics on keto lower their need for medication and can sometimes stop them all together.
Obviously, it is important to see your family doctor if you are a type 2 diabetic before beginning any new diet. Fortunately, there are many more doctors these days who see value in a keto diet. If yours doesn’t, you may want to consider seeking out a doctor who has an open mind to the possibility.
Not all carbs are created equal
I would like to make one final note that carbs are not all created equal. It’s not necessary to completely cut out carbs. In fact, that drastic of an approach can have consequences. You should eat vegetables that are high in fiber and low in starches to get the necessary vitamins and nutrients your body needs for optimal health. Stay away from processed foods or starchy carbs like potatoes, pasta and bread. They convert more quickly to glucose and send your blood sugar soaring.
My recipe for Keto Italian Roasted Vegetables is delicious and has great amounts of all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs.
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2. How Insulin Works in the Body By Verywell Health
3. Put the break on your fat storing hormones. By Dr KellyAnn
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