Insulin resistance is a feature of the metabolic syndrome, a constellation of problems that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Almost one in four people are insulin resistant, and the number shows no sign of abating as Americans become more overweight. Lifestyle factors play an important part in the insulin resistance syndrome. Here are the four most important factors that increase insulin resistance – and the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
.Too Many Calories
Most Americans eat too many calories, and, over time, this causes them to become insulin resistant. Eating more calories than you burn off also leads to obesity, which is one of the biggest risk factors for insulin resistance syndrome. Researchers believe that fat is not inactive tissue, but it produces hormone-like chemicals called cytokines that increase insulin resistance and cause inflammation. Losing weight is one of the most important steps a person can take to reduce insulin resistance.
Trans-Fats Increase Insulin Resistance
They’re bad for your heart, your waistline – and they increase insulin resistance. Fortunately, trans-fats have been removed from some fast-food and packaged foods, but read labels carefully. Foods that contain small amounts of trans-fats can still be labeled as zero grams. Even those small amounts increase insulin resistance.
Eating Too Many High-Glycemic and Processed Foods
High-glycemic foods cause the release of larger amounts of insulin than low-glycemic ones. When too much insulin circulates in the bloodstream, the number of insulin-binding receptors on cells decreases in number, which leads to insulin resistance. Substituting low-glycemic carbs for high-glycemic white potatoes, white rice, pasta and white bread helps to reduce the amount of circulating insulin so cells stay insulin sensitive.
Too Little Exercise
Exercise lowers levels of circulating insulin in the bloodstream, which improves insulin sensitivity. Exercise alone has beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity even without weight loss, but the combination of the two is a powerful weapon in the battle against insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Factors That Increase Insulin Resistance: The Bottom Line?
If insulin resistance goes on long enough, the pancreas will eventually be unable to compensate by pumping out more insulin. At this point, insulin resistance crosses over the line to type 2 diabetes. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep these four factors that increase insulin resistance in mind – and make the lifestyle changes you need to reduce insulin resistance – and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Science Daily. “Exercise Alone Shown To Improve Insulin Sensitivity In Obese Sedentary Adolescents”