Insulin Resistance has many symptoms with fatigue and an inability to lose weight as primary symptoms. By reversing insulin resistance through diet, fasting and nutritional support, insulin sensitivity can be restored, weight loss goals can be achieved and energy levels increased.
What causes extreme fatigue after eating?
If you have ever wondered “why pasta makes me tired” after eating or “why do I feel tired after eating” you may be experiencing symptoms of insulin resistance. After eating a high carbohydrate meal you have all this glucose available in the bloodstream yet due to the cells being insulin resistant the glucose cannot get inside the cell in order to utilized by the mitochondria to make energy which leaves you feeling tired after eating even though there is plenty of glucose available.
Digestion is also an energy demanding process and requires cells to be insulin sensitive with micro-nutrients available to turn glucose into the bodies usable form of energy know as ATP.
What causes insulin resistance and how does insulin resistance cause weight gain
A primary cause of insulin resistance is eating too much food especially in the form of sugar, refined carbohydrates and fruit juices as these are all foods that spike insulin. These processed high sugar foods are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream causing blood sugar imbalances and high blood sugar.
The liver does its best to maintain normal blood sugar levels so in order to maintain blood glucose levels the liver will take glucose out of the blood stream with the help of insulin as a transporter for glucose and store the glucose as glycogen. But when the liver glycogen stores are full the liver cells will start to become insulin resistant as there is no more room for glucose to be stored in the liver.
Insulin resistance first develops in the liver as the liver is responsible for storing and releasing glucose in order to maintain blood sugar balance. If the liver has become fatty and the glycogen stores are already full then the liver cells will start to become insulin resistant. Instead sugar is sent away to be stored as fat as long as fat cells are still sensitive to insulin.
Insulin is just a hormone that transports glucose and insulin resistance develops when there is excess glucose already inside the cell and no more room for more glucose thus the cells down regulate there receptors for insulin and do not respond to insulin's signal for wanting to drop of glucose.
When the liver is fatty and glycogen stores are full people start to gain weight as the liver converts the glucose into fat for storage in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels. At this stage of insulin resistance weight gain increases as the liver does its best to keep your blood sugar in balance which is a good thing because excess glucose floating around the body is very damaging as glycated proteins speeds up the aging process.
An unfortunate side effect of too much sugar coming from the diet, causing insulin resistance is weight gain but it is also a protective mechanism by the body as it is better that glucose is stored as fat as opposed to when glucose levels increase in the blood stream leading to type 2 diabetes and all the damaging effects of high blood glucose as seen in all the symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes.
Insulin Resistance and Fatigue
Another symptom of fatty liver and insulin resistance is fatigue which can be a symptom of fatty liver especially when the liver is overwhelmed with glucose and fat yet lacks the micro-nutrients needed to convert those fuel sources into the bodies form of energy.
Feeling nauseous and tired also indicate that the liver is fatty and struggling as nausea is a classic symptom of the liver crying out for help. As the liver’s detoxification pathways run on micro-nutrients as well as the mitochondria depending on vitamins and minerals such as the B vitamins, CoQ10 and magnesium to make energy, eliminating all processed foods from the diet and eating only nutrient dense whole foods with lots of vegetables and color is key for cleansing the liver and increasing energy levels.
How to reverse insulin resistance naturally
In order to reverse insulin resistance the liver needs to be given the nutrients and opportunity to utilize the fat and glycogen stores already in the liver. When fat and glycogen stores are depleted in the liver, the liver cells will then become responsive to insulin and there is room for glucose to be stored in the form of glycogen in the liver instead of being converted into fat in adipose cells.
An easy way to deplete glycogen and fat stores yet provide the body with nutrients needed to detox, utilize glucose and transport fat is by using seeking healths optimal prenatal protein powder and mixing half a scoop into 1 cup water and 1 cup nut milk. Adding in 1 tsp of cinnamon can help to improve blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity naturally.
You can use this shake as a meal replacement for any meal but preferably for breakfast as utilizing the shake while practicing intermittent fasting will help the body to lose weight faster. Depending on your health and weight loss goals you may want to use this shake 2 times per day while practicing longer periods of fasting.
Seeking Health’s Optimal Prenatal protein powder also contains chromium which is an important mineral for improving insulin sensitivity, blood sugar balance and carbohydrate metabolism. It also contains the active forms of B vitamins which are essential for glucose metabolism along with L-carnitine which helps to transport fatty acids and fat so that they can be used for energy.
Another important nutrient for helping to prevent fatty liver is phosphatidylcholine which is found in seeking healths Optimal PC. Phosphatidylcholine helps to transport fat out of the liver via the gallbladder while also improving bile flow which is key for elimination of toxins and fat out of the liver. Getting fats out of the liver and preventing fatty liver is important for restoring insulin sensitivity in the liver. Having a clean liver free of fat also increases the ability of the liver to store more glucose as glycogen in the liver.
A beneficial diet for insulin resistance and weight loss is a diet that is full of fresh non starchy vegetables that include all the colours of the rainbow such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. These foods are low in calories yet full of micronutrients needed for carbohydrate metabolism and liver detox support.
Foods that lower insulin insulin production
Including small amounts of healthy fats such as avocado, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nuts and seeds etc will help to balance blood sugar levels, provide satiety and have the least impact on triggering insulin levels. Healthy fats are foods that lower insulin production thus eating healthy fats are great to help reverse insulin resistance.
Eating clean protein in the form of grass-fed beef, chicken, wild caught fish and eggs are great in small amounts as well.
Keep fruit to only 1-3 servings per day preferably utilizing low sugar fruits such as berries.
A list of foods that spike insulin and should be avoided while restoring insulin sensitivity include fruit juice, soda pop, alcohol, refined carbohydrates in the form of breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, cookies, etc. If it is found in a box and doesn’t have color don’t eat it. Also read your labels 5 grams of refined carbohydrates equals 1 tsp sugar.
It is the sugar and refined carbohydrates that lead to insulin resistance especially when eaten in excess. Packaged refined carbohydrates did not used to exist. These foods are relatively new to the modern diet and are a HUGE contributing factor to insulin resistance. Not all carbohydrates are equal, unprocessed whole vegetables are great, processed refined grains are bad. Simple as that…. Well almost, some people may need to further reduce the amount of whole grains and legumes as these are high in carbohydrates. In order to reverse insulin resistance it is important to start somewhere and the first foods to reduce/eliminate from the diet is the refined carbohydrates and sugar.
For more information on reversing insulin resistance through diet and fasting I highly recommend reading The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr Jason Fung.
The Connection Between Sugar Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain
Are You a Sugar Burner or a Fat Burner
The Connection Between Liver Health and Weight Loss
Enjoyed the article? Share on pinterest!
Hey! I'm Amber, a nutritional therapy consultant helping people to improve digestion, beat the bloat and lose weight. Sharing weight loss tips, gut health tips and whole food recipes that are gluten free. Grab your freebie below:)
Disclaimer: Some links may be affiliate links. I may get paid if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these links