Insulin Resistance and It’s Effects on Weight Loss
Today, the idea of fat loss and fat burning style workouts are all the craze. It is crucial to keep in mind the quality and quantity of food we are eating. This has effects on our body composition and weight loss potential. I am not talking about struggling with your weight loss goals because of overindulgence, but rather the food choices that you make. One of the most important components of weight management and body composition is your body’s ability to process and utilize the sugar effectively.
How does sugar affect your body?
To understand your body’s metabolic process, it is important to understand what insulin is and what it does. Insulin is one of the major hormones in our body and it is released by our pancreas. The role of insulin is to manage blood glucose (sugar) levels. When we eat, our blood sugar levels rise. As those levels rise, through a complex set of neurological and circulatory processes, insulin is then released in response to that increase. Insulin’s job is to facilitate the storage of glucose as the primary energy source within the muscle cells or store it as fat. The result of stored fat comes from the sugar and fat you eat, the more is stored as fat in our cells.
How does the process of insulin resistance occur?
The research and studies out today regarding this issue correlate a few contributing factors to the increase in insulin resistance. Our diet is number one. Overeating can be a contributing factor. As our fat cells grow, due to increased storage of fat (from diet) and the sugar being converted to fat, the cells reach a point where they cannot grow any further. Therefore creating a resistance in response to overfilled fat cells. Inactivity and low muscle mass are other important factors.
Because muscle cells use more sugar than any other cell tissues in the body, the amount of muscle in your body matters. With less muscle, more of our dietary intake of sugar will be stored as fat, rather than fuel for muscles. Another major contributing factor is stress, both physical and emotional. When our body/mind goes into a state of stress, our bodies release the hormone cortisol in response. Cortisol works by increasing the amount of blood glucose you have available to insulin to fuel your body and “survive” the stressful event. Most people don’t have one instance of stress a month, but rather, are under constant stress daily. This leads to a constant release of stored sugar back into you blood, therefore starting this whole process over again.
What can you do to “re-set” your body?
The take-away is that for our metabolic system to properly regulate the food we are eating; we need our hormones to be balanced and functioning correctly. As mentioned previously, poor diet and over consumption of food, low levels of lean muscle mass, and physical and emotional stress lead to an increase in body fat not only on the outside, but on the inside of our bodies as well. It will be very hard for you to hit your fitness/aesthetic goals if your hormones are functioning abnormally. It also adds a lot of mechanical stress to your organ systems (like your heart and lungs). This contributes to the formation of disease processes. Getting your diet and hormone function balanced will lead to a healthier and happier you come this summer and throughout the year!