What You Need to Know About Insulin Resistance

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything.

-Arabian Proverb

Most people with insulin resistance don’t know they have it for many years—until they develop type 2 diabetes, a serious, lifelong disease. The good news is that if people learn they have insulin resistance early on, they can often prevent or delay diabetes by making changes to their lifestyle.

Insulin’s Role in Blood Glucose Control

When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood. Insulin and glucose then travel in the blood to cells throughout the body.

  • Insulin helps muscle, fat, and liver cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood glucose levels.
  • Insulin stimulates the liver and muscle tissue to store excess glucose. The stored form of glucose is called glycogen.
  • Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels by reducing glucose production in the liver.

In a healthy person, these functions allow blood glucose and insulin levels to remain in the normal range.

When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

Points to Remember

  • Insulin is a hormone that helps cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively.
  • Insulin resistance increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
  • The major contributors to insulin resistance are excess weight, especially around the waist, and physical inactivity.
  • The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study and its follow-up study, the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), confirmed that people with prediabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight by cutting fat and calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
  • By losing weight and being more physically active, people can reverse insulin resistance and prediabetes, thus preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.
  • People with insulin resistance and prediabetes can decrease their risk for diabetes by eating a healthy diet and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, increasing physical activity and not smoking.

A low GI diet which consists of a combination of small amounts of high-fibre carbohydrates combined with high quality proteins and fats such as the Carb-control program by Weigh-Less, as well as a regular, do-able and enjoyable physical activity most days of the week for about 30minutes (can be split up in short 10minute periods throughout the day), is the wisest way to manage insulin resistance and prevent it from progressing into type 2 Diabetes.

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