Insulin Resistance-The Main Villain


We have now established that insulin causes obesity, 

our next question is,

What foods cause our insulin levels to rise or to spike?

The most obvious candidate is refined carbohydrate – highly

 refined grains and sugars.

Highly refined carbohydrates are the most notorious foods for raising blood sugars lead to high insulin level.

Perhaps eating refined carbohydrates leads to “food addictions”. Naturally there are satiety hormones that are extremely powerful deterrents to over eating. Satiety hormones tell you that you have had enough. But what if you’re offered a small slice of cake or chips? Doesn’t seem so hard to eat now, does it? As if we have a second stomach for things of that dominion. We still have room for highly refined carbohydrates like cake, chips, pizza etc. but not for proteins and fats. Highly refined and processed food somehow do not trigger the release of satiety hormones, and we go ahead and eat the cake. 

Thus, refined carbohydrates are easy to become addicted to and over eat precisely because there are no natural satiety hormones for refined carbs. The reason, of course, is that refined carbohydrates are not natural food but are instead highly processed. Their toxicity lies in that processing.

 High insulin levels lead to weight gain and obesity. This chain of causes and effects has become known as the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis.

Insulin Resistance – The main Villain

Usually obesity is a gradual process of gaining weight. Those who have been obese their entire lives find it extremely difficult to lose weight. In contrast, a person with recent weight gain loses weight with ease.

We know that insulin helps all body cells to absorb glucose. Imagine Insulin as a key and cells have doors with locks. If key no longer fits in to the lock, the door doesn’t open fully for glucose entry. As a result less glucose enters. This is called insulin resistance. The cell senses that there is too little glucose and demands for more. On the other hand glucose piles up outside its door. Hence, insulin resistance leads to high insulin levels, and as we’ve seen, high insulin levels cause obesity.

What causes Insulin Resistance?

To understand this, let’s take the familiar example. Have you ever heard of anti-biotic resistance?

When new antibiotics are introduced, they kill virtually all the bacteria they’re designed to kill. Over time, some bacteria develop the ability to survive high doses of these antibiotics. They have become “drug-resistant”. A biological system that becomes disturbed tries to go back to its original state.

Similar is viral resistance and drug resistance. With each subsequent use of drug, the high becomes less intense. Sometimes, the user starts to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same high.

vicious cycle

Exposure leads to resistance. It forms a vicious cycle. So we know that insulin causes insulin resistance. The higher the insulin level, greater the insulin resistance and vice versa.

People who are struck in this vicious cycle for decades develop significant insulin resistance. If your insulin levels stay high, then your body’s set weight stays high. The fat gets fatter. The longer you are obese, the harder is to eradicate.

Persistence creates resistance 

High hormonal level by themselves cannot cause resistance. We are naturally defended against resistance because we secrete hormones in bursts. Most of the times hormones remain low. Every so often a brief pulse of hormone comes along according to body’s daily rhythm.

There are two requirements for resistance, high insulin level and constant stimulus.

Critical components of insulin resistance, types of food eaten and the meal timings.

All this suggest that refined meals leads us to insulin spikes. We cannot ignore the importance of meal timings and its association with insulin release. There should always be a no munching time so that insulin level goes to minimum. This also makes us understand the value of eating early dinners. By doing so, we’ll have more fasting period and hence lesser insulin. 

Now we know why the people had lesser obesity in the era of only 3 meals a day.

Please feel free to ask your queries, and don’t follow any diet plan blindly. It ultimately affects your health.


About the author

Anju Rai Tiwary

Hi, I am a physiotherapist specialized in neurology. I have also done various certification courses like autism spectrum disorder and weight management. I am here to clarify your health-related curiosities.


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