What is insulin resistance?
Over the past 20 years, Americans have cut their fat intake from 36% to 32% of their average daily calorie intake, according to Dr. James Hill, of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado. “Nevertheless, they also gained about eight pounds per person,” said Hill. Why is this happening?
The presence of insulin resistance in the population was described, as a result of studies done by Gerald Reaven, MD, of Stanford University Medical School who studied insulin for more than 30 years. He noted that the susceptibility of individuals varies greatly. Researchers estimated that at least 25% of the United States population may be insulin resistant, which is in addition to those who are diagnosed as Type 2 diabetics. Insulin resistance is a condition commonly seen in overweight persons. The result is that insulin is not able to help carbohydrates get into the body cells (primarily in muscles) to be used for energy. The muscle cells then call for more insulin which ultimately results in too much insulin in the body (hyperinsulinemia).
The question is, which comes first, insulin resistance or obesity? Is an individual insulin resistant which makes that person more susceptible to storing fat, or does storing fat make a person insulin resistant? Probably both are true. For individuals with chronic weight problems, i.e., always having to “watch their weight” or gaining and losing 50 – 100 pounds more than once, a genetic predisposition to insulin resistance or carbohydrate intolerance is likely.