Every time you eat your body releases insulin in response. Insulin is released by the pancreas.
The job of this insulin is to regulate blood sugar levels. The more insulin that is produced the more sugar is removed from the blood and taken in by muscle and fat cells around the body. If muscle cells need the energy they will be prioritised. Any excess sugar will be stored as fat.
The amount of insulin released is affected by the type of food you have eaten and also amount of food you have eaten. Foods high in sugar have the highest insulin response.
If insulin is increasingly stimulated in large amounts then cells stop responding to it and the blood sugar levels do not drop sufficiently. This leads to further insulin production until the cells do respond. By this time the amount of insulin released causes too much blood sugar to be removed and transported to cells. Blood sugar levels drop below normal.
A person experiencing low blood sugar will feel lethargic, mentally tired and will begin to get food cravings. This may sound familiar. If they again make a bad food choice then this can create a cycle of ever increasing insulin spikes. A heavily insulin resistant person will put on weight very easily as they will struggle with cravings, diet choices and their body will struggle to deal with sugars efficiently leading to increased fat storage.
A chronically insulin resistant person can develop type 2 diabetes.
There is also the danger that the overworked pancreas will shut down and no longer produce enough insulin. This can lead to the even more severe type 1 diabetes.
Glucose is sugar is carbohydrates. For the purpose of understanding insulin we can class them as the same thing.
As a result of our highly processed, carbohydrate heavy, modern day diet a large proportion of our weight problems as a society can be put down to decreased insulin sensitivity.
Positive changes in diet will increase your sensitivity to insulin. This will lead to better management of food and nutrients, fat loss and an overall improvement in how you look and feel. A good nutritionist will always take into account insulin sensitivity when assessing a new client and designing a nutritional strategy to meet their goals.
The Glycaemic Index shows us which foods raise our blood sugar levels fastest and highest. Pure glucose is given a ranking of 100. You should mainly try to eat foods with a lower glycaemic index rating to avoid over stimulating your pancreas to release insulin. This will give you a better hormonal balance and insulin response making you less likely to store fat and more likely to burn it.
You should always have an insulin strategy built in to your training and nutrition plan relative to your fat loss goals. Even when looking to gain lean muscle mass there are ways to manipulate your insulin levels to suit a muscular size and strength plan.