The canary in the coal mine - high insulin levels
Most of the time, when you’re diagnosed with prediabetes, you’re told to eat healthier and exercise. Very rarely do doctors go into detail about what is happening inside your body, what is causing what, and what he or she means when they say ‘eat healthier.’ To be fair, most doctors don’t even have the time to go into all that. When you’re prediabetic, you’re not yet a case for medications, so there is nothing for them to prescribe. Usually, patients are just told to come back in 3 or 6 months for a check-up.
So, what is going on inside your body when you’re prediabetic. What you’re dealing with is insulin resistance - you might have heard of this term. If you eat a diet full of empty calories and high in simple carbs (think sodas, wheat pasta, pizza, bread, white potatoes, daily alcohol consumption, etc.), these turn into simple sugars very quickly and enter your blood stream. When sugar enters the blood stream, your body creates insulin; however, when your diet is always like that, you need more and more insulin to keep your blood sugar balanced. Your body keeps pumping out insulin and your cells slowly become numb to the effects of it. This creates insulin resistance.
High levels of insulin are what I call the canary in the coal mine. If you have high insulin levels, this is a warning sign that your cells aren’t responding well to the insulin. Unfortunately, doctors usually don’t test for high insulin levels. They simple look at your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar levels might still be in an ok range, but your insulin levels might be sky-high. Yikes!
If insulin resistance is not caught, in the short-term you might experience muscle loss, fat gain (especially around your midsection), and internal inflammation. In the long-term, this can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, depression, poor sex drive, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. And of course, the direct result of insulin resistance if things progress is full-blown type 2 diabetes. Your cells at that point have become so numb to the insulin that your blood sugar actually stays up and the pancreas isn’t able to produce adequate amounts of insulin any longer.
What can you do?
When we’re healthy, we’re in balance. Disease results from imbalances in the body. These arise from interactions between our genes and the environment we’re in. The best thing for you to bring your body back into balance is to focus on the causes. Those are usually a poor diet, lack of movement, stress, toxins and allergies. I always tell my clients, the first and most fundamental step to start with is your diet. You have so much control here, and you will start to see results quickly.
Whether you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or you suspect you are dealing with insulin resistance, take action by getting rid of liquid calories (regular and diet sodas, vitamin waters, sports drinks) and replacing some of the simple carbs in your meals with healthier alternatives.
If you need some ideas for what that could look like, download my free food swap guide here.
You will see it’s easy, delicious and nutritious!