Will insulin resistance make you gain weight?
It’s easy to conclude that insulin resistance will lead to weight gain.
Insulin resistance is when the body’s cells no longer utilize this hormone efficiently, resulting in blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a precursor to prediabetes. Either the insulin receptors on cells start shutting down, and/or the pancreas fails to produce adequate amounts of insulin.
This hormone is necessary for shuttling sugar out of the blood and to the cells so that the cells can use the sugar for energy.
When glucose metabolism becomes impaired, it’s easy to see why fatigue can be a symptom of insulin resistance.
With insulin resistance, excess sugar ends up in the blood. This sugar then goes to the liver, where it is converted to fat.
This fat then ends up in the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body — and hence, the possible weight gain associated with insulin resistance.
However, weight gain doesn’t have to be the outcome, says Dr. David Edelson, MD, board certified in internal and bariatric medicine, one of the top obesity experts in the U.S., and founder and medical director for thin-site.com and HealthBridge.
Dr. Edelson explains, “With good lifestyles, a diet low in high-glycemic carbohydrates and inflammatory fats, lots of exercise, good sleep patterns, high intake of omega-3 fats (fish oils, nuts, olive and olive oils, fatty fishes, avocados), supplements of chromium, vitamin D and cinnamon (a great insulin sensitizer), there is no need to have weight gain.
“It’s just that people with insulin resistance need to be that much more vigilant about keeping their lifestyles on track than those without.”
The best time to eat a high carbohydrate meal, if you must have a high carb meal, is within one hour of vigorous exercise, when glucose metabolism is most efficient. Don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates close to bedtime.
Another good time to eat a lot of carbs is before exercise, but this may impair your session, depending on how much you eat and what kind of exercise you intend on doing.
You don’t want to be having to hop off the treadmill every 10 minutes to use the restroom, for instance.
To burn carbohydrates and fat most efficiently, perform intense exercise sessions at least three times a week.
This means high intensity interval training, strenuous weight workouts and other rigorous aerobic activity.
The more intensely you exercise, the faster your resting metabolism will be and the more fat your body will burn at rest, including while you sleep!
Good sleep patterns, like Dr. Edelson says, will help a person with insulin resistance avoid weight gain.
Sleeping less than seven hours a night, and more than nine, has been associated with weight gain.
Plus, disrupted sleep has been associated with insulin resistance (Spiegel, et al).
To avoid weight gain if you are insulin resistant, pay strict attention to what you eat, not just when.
In addition to eating “good” fats, restricting “fast-acting carbs” and saturated fats, and avoiding trans fats, aim for 25-35 grams of fiber a day, and eat protein with your carbs to slow their absorption into the bloodstream.
Dr. Edelson is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top weight loss experts, and was listed in NY Magazine’s “Best Doctors of 2014” issue.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.