Understanding Insulin Resistance and how to treat it with good food choices
Despite major changes in food production and technology, the eating habits of Western Society over the last few decades have resulted in record levels of chronic degenerative disease as well as a myriad of ‘minor disorders’ of digestive, respiratory and other systems.
Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates advised his students to “let food be your medicine.” Every day experience tells us that our diet intimately affects our health and well being (remember the feeling of “I shouldn’t have eaten that!”)
Post war Western Society, indulged itself in an excess of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats, a trend that is now, even in orthodox medical circles, regarded as unhealthy.
The dietary advice of the last 20 years – initially from ‘alternative’ practitioners and later by mainstream medicos – has been to increase complex carbohydrates and fiber, and reduce fat and protein. Current clinical experience, however, tells us this is still wrong. The standard high complex carbohydrate, low fat, low protein diet has resulted in: raised serum insulin levels causing insulin resistance, reduction in basal metabolic rate, increased fat tissue growth and reduction in lean muscle mass, and accelerated biological ageing, common allergies to grains and dairy foods, immune system over activation and failure, and record amounts of heart disease, obesity and cancer.
The first point – insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is affecting the health of many people today. The cell has only two ways to absorb the glucose it needs to make energy; insulin – mediated facilitated diffusion, and exercise – induced trans-membrane transport. With the current trend towards an increasingly sedentary life style, insulin sensitivity becomes the controlling factor in cellular energy production. If this is impaired, then every cell in the body is short of energy – and no matter what the cells function is, it needs energy to do it.
The obvious consequence of insulin resistance is fatigue, which I would have to say is the most common complaint I see in my clinic everyday. But it goes a lot further than that; without cellular energy, muscle cells can’t contract or relax efficiently – this affects not only skeletal muscle, but also cardiac muscle, leading to cardiovascular disease; without cellular energy, endocrine cells can’t excrete hormones efficiently, resulting in hormonal imbalances; Immune cells don’t function properly resulting in infections, auto-immune diseases, cancer etc; bone cells cannot maintain bone density resulting in osteoporosis. Digestion is the most energy consuming function in the body – with insulin resistance, digestion is not effective.
So what causes insulin resistance?
Resistance to insulin can be caused by nutritional deficiencies like chromium, magnesium, selenium, taurine and/or essential fatty acids which can be assessed with Live Blood Screening, but is primarily a result of hyperinsulinaemia – which is too much insulin in the blood.
There are four main causes of hyperinsulinaemia?
1. lack of exercise, 2.stress, 3.toxin induced immune over activity and the 4.diet – wrong balance of carbohydrates to proteins and nutrient deficiencies.
The first two – exercise and stress require life style counseling and appropriate supportive supplementation and management.
With toxin-induced immune over activity – assessment of this would be done with consultation, Live Blood Screening and/or urine and saliva analysis, and correction requires integrated detoxification techniques utilizing detoxification diet, herbals and nutritionals to reduce the toxic burden on the body and cells.
Four key dietary programs may be involved in the reversal of insulin resistance:
1. The Insulin Zone System
2. The Ketogenic Fat Loss System
3. The A/B/O Blood Type Diet.
4. A fourth way which is even more profound but a total commitment to honesty with eating is vital, and that is to feel what foods best suit the body at any given time. This can only be done if first you have removed certain foods that inhibit you from truly feeling the right foods to eat. These foods are namely gluten, dairy and most starch foods, plus caffeine and alcohol as without removing these the body can be fooled by the interplay with foods and what they do to the body. More on this in another article.
The Insulin Zone System is an excellent program for educating anyone * towards the healthier eating patterns necessary to control blood glucose and insulin levels, thereby avoiding insulin resistance and the myriad of problems it brings. Everyone will also benefit from the A/B/O diet. You can use a combination of these two diets to get the best out of both.
Briefly the Zone Diet is about having 40 % of the diet ‘good’ carbohydrates, 30 % protein and 30 % ‘good’ fats. The Insulin Zone System is great for everyone, * but especially those experiencing chronic tiredness, depression, poor circulation, hormonal imbalances including PMS, anxiety, hypertension, increased cholesterol, asthma and of course diabetes. * Obese people are unable to benefit from the Insulin Zone System because their body fat maintains circulating levels of fatty acids that perpetuate insulin resistance.
The adipose tissue must be reduced below critical percentages before the Insulin Zone System can take effect. This loss of fat is achieved most effectively with the Ketogenic Fat Loss System. Employing the A/B/O Blood Type Diet principles with the Ketogenic Fat Loss System will greatly improve results.
So how do you work out how much protein and carbs to eat to get a good ‘Insulin Zone’ balance? The answer is in the palm of your hand. The thickness and size of your palm is about the same volume as the amount of protein food that you need at each meal. For snacks, use 1/3 of a palm of protein food. Examples of protein may include – nuts, seeds, tofu, chicken, fish, eggs, lean beef/lamb, turkey etc. For carbohydrates you can use the same method, except that you can have two palms of ‘good’ carbohydrate foods or one palm of ‘poor’ carbohydrates.
The ‘good’ carbs are all vegetables with the exclusion of the starchy veggies such as potato, sweet potato and corn have more nutrients and they won’t increase blood sugar/insulin levels as much as the ‘poor’ carbs such as bread, pastas, rice, potatoes, and sugar.
A more detailed listing of “good” and “poor’ carbohydrates as well as ‘good’ and ‘poor’ choices of fats and proteins are available from the clinic – Free with any session (please ask), as well as more information on the A/B/O Blood Type Diet, Ketogenic Fat Loss Diet and Detox Diet.
If you feel great and everything is in good working order and your diet works for you then stick with it. These diets are choices available to assist people to make changes – remembering that no one diet suits all.
The A/B/O Blood Type Diet incorporates using ‘blood friendly’ foods specific to your blood type and avoiding those foods designated as having reactive ‘lectins’ – proteins that bind red blood cells – making them sticky often seen in Live Blood Screening. If you don’t know your blood type – this can be quickly determined with just a drop of blood from your finger in clinic.