The most talked about keto diet is insulin resistance. Before we understand the relationship between the keto diet and insulin resistance, let’s understand a little bit about insulin and insulin resistance.
What is Insulin’s Role in the Body?
Insulin is a protein-based hormone that is produced by beta cells located in the pancreas. The pancreas is located below the stomach and also produces enzymes that aid in digestion.
The main role of insulin is to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates, such as sugar and starch, into a molecule called glucose. This compound can be used by cells to produce energy through a process called cellular respiration. Insulin allows the cells in the body to take up glucose, which ultimately lowers the level of glucose in the bloodstream.
After eating, blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas responds by releasing insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin assists the fat, liver and muscle cells in absorbing glucose from the bloodstream, which lowers blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose as a molecule called glycogen, while also reducing glucose production by the liver. When blood sugar is low, the hormone glucagon (produced by alpha cells in the pancreas) stimulates the cells to break down glycogen into glucose, which is subsequently released into the bloodstream.
In healthy people without type II, these functions keep blood sugar and insulin levels within normal limits.
What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells of the entire body no longer respond to the typical activity of the hormone insulin. More clearly, the muscles, liver and fat cells are having problems absorbing glucose from the circulatory system. To compensate for this, the body produces more insulin.
At first, the body is usually ready to overcome insulin resistance and blood glucose levels remain in a reasonable range. In any case, as the resistance progresses, the beta cells in the pancreas are not fit to provide enough insulin to direct blood sugar. As a result, blood glucose levels rise, leading to prediabetes, diabetes and other health problems, such as metabolic disorders.
Keto Diet And Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance is a problem that, without proper supervision, may contribute to prediabetes and long-term type II diabetes. Changing a person’s diet to a ketogenic diet can help an individual lower their insulin to good levels and may even help convert insulin resistance.
Generally speaking, we eat a lot of carbohydrates every day. Every time we eat carbohydrates, we trigger an insulin response in our bodies. Any carbohydrates you eat are converted into sugars, increasing the sugar levels in your body. Eating more carbohydrates just puts more sugar into your bloodstream. When you have insulin resistance, high carbohydrates are a big problem!
Studies have shown that lowering your carbohydrate intake, such as a keto diet, will have a positive impact on lowering high blood pressure, body fat, high cholesterol levels, and most importantly, elevated blood sugar levels.
A low-carb diet and weight loss can balance insulin levels, making your body more capable of using insulin in the right way, even without medication. Low-carb diets are better at raising insulin levels than low-fat diets..
How to Treat Insulin Resistance?
Given the prevalence of insulin resistance, how can this common condition be treated? The FDA has not approved any medications specifically to treat insulin resistance or prediabetes. However, doctors can prescribe two classes of drugs commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes – biguanides and thiazolidinediones – that sensitize muscle cells, liver cells and other tissues to the effects of insulin.
That said, the best way to treat insulin resistance is to change a person’s lifestyle. Weight loss and exercise are considered to be the most effective ways to restore the ability of tissues to respond properly to insulin. Interestingly, smoking causes insulin resistance, so many doctors recommend reducing or stopping smoking altogether. To reduce insulin production, nutritionists also recommend lowering carbohydrate intake.