7 Risks of Prolonged Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance refers to a condition in which cells in the body no longer respond properly to insulin. This has a huge impact on health because of the role that this anabolic hormone plays in glucose metabolism. With insulin resistance, cells, including those in the liver and body fat, begin to ‘resist’ signals sent by insulin. This means that they stop absorbing glucose from the blood to use it as the main fuel source. As a result, blood sugar levels start to rise, causing a variety of health risks, the best known of which is diabetes. However, failing to manage the condition effectively can do more damage than you realize. Here are some of the major risks of prolonged insulin resistance.

  1. Type 2 Diabetes

The pancreas which produces insulin, respond to resistance by increasing production of the hormone. With prolonged insulin resistance, the amount of insulin needed to regulate blood sugar levels keeps rising. In time, the pancreas suffers from fatigue and cannot meet the demands for insulin. This leads to the onset of prediabetes and diabetes. Insulin resistance is regarded as a major predictor of type-2 diabetes, with most patients going on to develop the condition within the next 10-20 years.

  1. High Cholesterol

In many cases, prolonged insulin resistance makes you more likely to develop high cholesterol levels. More specifically, it alters systemic lipid metabolism, resulting in higher than normal levels of plasma triglycerides, while levels of high-density lipoprotein (the good cholesterol) start to fall. The increase in blood cholesterol levels that is commonly observed with insulin resistance may be caused by increased synthesis of very-low-density lipoprotein in the liver.

  1. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Although the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can have various causes, such as a high-fat diet and obesity, insulin resistance is regarded as an important contributor. The condition can increase fat accumulation in the liver by increasing the delivery of free fatty acid and through hyperinsulinemia – increased insulin production. In fact, insulin resistance is observed in almost all cases of fatty liver disease. In some cases, this can even lead to the development of steatohepatitis.

  1. You develop dark skin patches

Prolonged insulin resistance leads to an increase in insulin production over time and this can cause an accumulation of insulin within skin cells themselves. This manifests in visible skin changes, with darkened patches of skin towards the back of the neck, elbows, knees, groins, knuckles, and armpits. This skin condition is described as acanthosis nigricans. There is no known cure for the condition, but the management of insulin resistance can help to prevent it or reduce the severity of discoloration and darkening.

  1. Heart Attack & Stroke

When not managed in a timely manner, insulin resistance can significantly raise the risk of heart failure and strokes. Aside from the fact that reduced insulin sensitivity and increased blood sugar damages cells, including blood vessels, insulin resistance also adversely affects lipid levels. All of this encourages the buildup of arterial plaque, restricting or even obstructing blood flow. In time, this damages the heart itself. Not surprisingly, insulin resistance is associated with a 50% higher risk of heart failure and strokes.

  1. Cancerous Tumors

Cancer is not something that most of us associated with insulin resistance, but research suggests that there may be a connection. Prolonged insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome may increase the risk of various types of cancer, including breast, bladder, colon, pancreatic, and uterine cancers. It is believed that high insulin levels facilitate tumor growth and also impair the body’s natural defense against malignant cells.

  1. Early Onset Dementia

Although the connection between prolonged insulin resistance and dementia is not clearly understood, studies do suggest that insulin resistance raises the risk. One mechanism is vascular dementia, in which blood vessel damage from insulin resistance leads to reduced blood flow to the brain. Researchers are still investigating the role of insulin resistance in memory function decline and the increased risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.


How to Cope with Insulin Resistance

In addition to the risks highlighted above, insulin resistance is also connected to a higher risk of kidney disease, high uric acid levels or gout, and PCOS. Fortunately, effective and early management of insulin resistance can counter these risks. Dietary and lifestyle changes to lose weight and get better sleep can help improve insulin sensitivity significantly. In fact, a study that appeared in the International Journal of Obesity, found that 10% of weight loss through diet and exercise could improve insulin sensitivity by 80%. Similarly, sleep deprivation has also been shown to raise insulin resistance. Findings like these highlight the importance of comprehensive lifestyle changes to tackle insulin resistance.

Blood Sugar Friendly Fat Bombs

Keto is trending and I am enjoying the ride. I’ve always been low carb, but in the last year I have been increasing my fat and moderating my carbohydrates and protein intake. Why? I want and deserve steady blood sugar control and this way of eating is proving to work for me, and as an added bonus I am leaning out. As someone with type 1 diabetes, I have to calculate everything that goes into my mouth and marry it with insulin. It’s a challenge, some days breezier than others, but since eating a fat dominant diet and toying with intermittent fasting (usually just 13 hours overnight) it’s been even easier to go about my life without blood sugar spikes or drops getting in my way. This path isn’t for everyone, but if a ketogenic diet is something you are interested in, make blood sugar control the target and goal. Above all, listen to your body and intuition to decide if it’s fitting or not.

This month I have been whipping up the below recipe and pairing it with my lunch or dinner. It’s delicious and my toddler Declan has been asking for “coconut balls” daily. This recipe was inspired by the blogger over at Empowered Sustenance. 

KSW Fat Bombs:

  1. Start with soft coconut butter. If mine is solid, I will remove the lid from the coconut butter jar and microwave it for 30 seconds.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a cupcake tray. I have a mini cupcake tray and they are perfect for making this recipe into bite-sized balls.
  3. In a bowl, combine the coconut butter and collagen. Add the honey.
  4. Add the coconut oil, and if you find the recipe to be too solid, feel comfortable adding another teaspoon of coconut oil.
  5. Add the vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  6. Using a spoon create small balls and place them on the baking sheet or individually in a cupcake tray. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.


Related Topics:

What Are Amino Acids And Why Are They Good For You?

Who Should Try the Keto Diet?

Is This a Bad Joke


Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger as defined by wikipedia.

However, if this disease only set me up to have a bathroom pass everywhere I go with a tall glass of water and a bag of food, it would be a breeze.

Today I am frustrated. Is frustrated the right word? My blood sugars will not go down and when they are slightly close to a goal blood sugar reading, I get hungry…but forget hunger, I want good blood sugars, I want to hang out with friends and not feel anxious of where my blood sugars are, I do not want to be afraid to eat carbohydrates, I want to have focus to read a book and gosh darnit I want to sleep. And I think my fiance does too.

I have been sketching everything down like a mad scientist – what time I am eating, what my blood sugar is, what am I eating, am I stressed, am I hydrated, when did I exercise, should I exercise, should I not exercise (that can sometimes cause blood sugars to go up), do I have ketones, did my food get cross-contaminated with gluten (gluten spikes my blood sugar among other things), how is my insulin pump, is the insulin absorbing right, do I have my insulin pump site in scar tissue…..I could go mad and I might, but…

I choose to carry on. I choose to hold my head high, stay positive, not hold back, look for areas I can improve and accept that diabetes is a disease.

Diabetes is a disease. And when it is out of control I cannot make it my fault.

So this diabetes micro-management is not a bad joke, I cannot walk away from it. I shall make every mischief or challenge an opportunity and reach out to any readers that have diabetes or family/friends of someone who has diabetes and let you know that diabetes will take a ride of its’ own sometimes and you cannot get depressed and think it is your fault.

Stay positive, seek your doctor’s advise as needed and go back to basics when those blood sugars do not want to fall. Test often, drink water always, change insulin injection sites and strive for optimism and not perfection.

“Nature, time and patience are three great physicians.” – H.G. Bohn

Cheers to you and good health.

I still get scared

A year or so ago I went to a wedding shower/bachelorette party and the bride-to-be had the cutest idea. For the party favor she got everyone nail polish. Not just any nail polish but  a brand that has fun and catchy names for each color. The color I got was: Optimistic.

For those that know me well could agree with this statement. And the reason I am recalling this memory is because as I enjoy my adventure in Australia, growing through my 20-somethings, moving into marriage (174 days!!), making new experiences and keeping strong relationships with friends – I learn that no education could prepare us for challenges, real life challenges. The ones when someone close to you has to deal with a new health condition or diagnosis, or a friend starts to consider motherhood and there are deadends where nature is choosing otherwise. I am blessed at this moment that my family is all healthy and well but friends are dealing with some tough things.

It makes me ask, “Why do these challenges happen?” For example, the first thing I think of when considering something that is constant in my life and I wish I could do without is type 1 diabetes. (And my intentions here are not to jump in a soap box – I know my childhood with diabetes has made me the nutrition loving dietitian I am today.)

Yet, I just changed my pump site, which I have to do every 3 days, and I was scared. I have had an insulin pump for nine years now and it’s nothing new. But I was scared. Was the new site (needle) going to hurt, or be a bad spot -where there was scar tissue and I wouldn’t have the best insulin absorption, etc? These thoughts go through my head every time I change my pump. And it’s silly. Most sites turnout fine and if they don’t, it is just a matter of trying it again. And every time I get nervous and can’t keep a steady hand, I tell myself to be brave. Once the task is done, I tell myself I was a “tough cookie” and that this pump is allowing me to be the healthiest I can be.

Now connecting my nerves of changing my insulin pump and living a life with diabetes to tough challenges in life, I can only provide that these things are in my life, in my friend’s lives, etc – because the tough stuff is what makes life real.

We have these “rainy days” so we can appreciate the sunny ones. Don’t you agree?

So in between the fearful, the tough times and the curve balls life throws at us – enjoy what you have and who are with. As cliche as it is – make your glass half full. Even when I am scared, I try my best to always be optimistic.

Among counting my blessings daily, I surely strive to make it a healthy one. Make the most of yours.

Cheers to you and good health!

Cranberries offer promise for diabetics: Study

Sweetened dried cranberries with a reduced sugar and increased fibre content may benefit type-2 diabetics by delivering healthier glycemic and insulin responses, suggests a small study.

Consumption of the low-sugar high-fibre sweetened dried cranberries led to better glucose peaks and lower insulin peaks, with a peak insulin of 15, compared to 22 for both bread and sweetened cranberries, while raw cranberries produced a peak of 10.
Furthermore, blood sugar levels peaked at 158 minutes, compared to 175 minutes for both the bread and sweetened cranberries, and 127 minutes for raw cranberries.
The findings of the study, which involved only 13 diabetics, were reported earlier this year at the Experimental Biology conference by Ted Wilson from Winona State University. The meeting’s abstracts are published in the FASEB Journal.
The study was funded by cranberry giants Ocean Spray using the company’s new low-sugar sweetened cranberries, Christina Khoo, PhD, Ocean Spray’s research sciences manager told NutraIngredients.com that the researchers are preparing a full paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. NutraIngredients.com has not seen the full data.
“The less sugar high fibre SDC was developed with the needs of the type-2 diabetic in mind,” said Khoo. This represents a large and growing market, with an estimated 19 million people affected by diabetes in the EU 25. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

Study details
Wilson and his co-workers recruited 13 type-2 diabetics and randomly assigned them to receive a single serving of white bread (57g, 160 calories, 1 g fibre), raw cranberries (55g, 21 calories, 1 g fibre), sweetened dried cranberries-original (40g, 138 calories, 2.1g fibre), or the low-sugar high-fibre sweetened cranberries (40g; 113 calories, 1.8g fibre plus 10g polydextrose).
The low-sugar sweetened dried cranberries were associated with a healthier glycemic and insulinemic response, than both white bread and the regular sweetened dried cranberries, said the researchers. The responses were second only to less palatable raw cranberries, they added.
“Fibre is component lacking in the diet of many diabetics,” said Khoo. “The added fibre in the SDC may slow absorption of glucose, helping regulate blood sugar. The combination of less sugar and high fibre could be of benefit to the type-2 diabetic, as our research has shown. SDCs are ideal to snack on throughout the day, either on their own or as a fruit inclusion in a variety of products such as bagels and muesli bars as part of a healthy, well balanced diet.”

Known and unknowns
Due to relative ‘newness’ of the low-sugar sweetened cranberries, the company and its researchers “haven’t had a chance to look at everything”, said Khoo, and no direct data was available to support the anti-adhesion or UTI-reducing potential of the ingredient.
She noted, however, that she would expect the same kind of results as that observed for the normal sweetened cranberries. A pilot study by Amy Howell from Rutgers University and co-workers from Harvard reported that the “sweetened dried cranberries may elicit bacterial anti-adhesion activity in human urine”, according to data in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (Vol. 11, pp. 875-878).
Khoo said that she was hopeful for additional studies to examine the potential of the new product. “I am hoping we would initiate longer trials,” she said. “And we shouldn’t neglect the UTI component.”

Source: FASEB Journal Experimental Biology Meeting Abstract, 2009, Volume 23: 900.6“Glycemic response of type 2 diabetics to sweetened dried cranberries”Authors: T Wilson, EF Morcomb, TP Schmidt, JL Luebke, EJ Carrell, MC Leveranz, L Kobs, AP Singh, N Vorsa, PJ Limburg

Reference click here

Have a healthy and fit day!