I spent the last couple of days trying to think of a way to grab people’s attention around the subject of insulin resistance. There’s so much information available about the subject that people’s eyes tend to glaze over when I mention it.
But then I had an idea! I was looking in the mirror at my skin,
I’m no spring chicken, I’ll admit that. So, I asked the question, is loose
sagging skin a symptom of insulin resistance? And the answer is YES!
We’ve looked at the adrenal hormone cortisol. Cortisol is also found at the root cause of loose skin on the back of your arms, under your chin, on your legs, butt and hips. Another cause is insulin or insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a condition where your body is flooded with insulin, but it’s not working because your body is resisting it at a cellular level. You need insulin, you cannot live without it, but the problem is, we have too much of it because of our diets.
Your cells have a little window that allows insulin to drive fuel into the cells, but insulin is also one of the main hormones that drives amino acids into the cells. It’s the hormone that allows the absorption of protein, specifically branched amino acids. (Branched amino acids are there to repair and replenish lost muscle). If you are losing muscle, you need branched amino acids. The problem with that is, the insulin is not working to pull those amino acids into the cells because you have insulin resistance. What caused this problem in the first place is that you had too much insulin and now your body is rejecting it. Now you’re stuck with not being able to absorb it. It’s a strange situation really, it’s a bit like the cells have looked outside and said oh my goodness we can’t take all that in and quickly locked the window. When this happens the insulin resistant cells begin to starve of amino acids, protein and fuel. You are your cells, so while you’re getting plenty of food, your body is literally starving …
The main symptoms of insulin resistance are:
1. You can’t lose weight no matter how hard you try
2. You have belly fat
3. You suffer from brain fog and have memory problems
4. You suffer from fatigue
5. You become hangry when a meal is skipped, you can’t go long periods without food and become irritable and angry
6. You’re not satisfied after eating and tend to raid the pantry for sweet and/or salty snacks
These are all symptoms of a pre-diabetic state!
What happens is, your cells, which are starving, send a signal back to the pancreas to make insulin because insulin drives fuel into your cells. The pancreas says, sure, no problem, and starts pumping insulin into your body to force feed some fuel into your cells, meanwhile, the window is locked! This creates a really bad situation, because all that excess insulin creates other health issues.
We now have a body that doesn’t have enough amino acids, causing flabby skin, aging, and all sorts of issues associated with diabetes. Yet on the other side, all this excess insulin is creating belly fat, and even worse, cognitive problems.
This excess insulin creates something called amyloid, or amyloid fibrils. Amyloids are sticky protein structures in the brain that are nearly always found in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia and stroke patients and has recently been called Diabetes Type 3.
To avoid Alzheimer’s etc., you’re going to need to take better care of your brain by fixing your insulin resistance problem. Amyloids come from high levels of insulin which becomes stuck in the brain, the most common effect of this is a stroke. We hear a lot about cholesterol clogged arteries, but we don’t hear about amyloids clogging the brain. Amyloid is a protein just like cholesterol, but it is a high-density lipoprotein, that’s a whole other subject for another day, let’s not get dispersed… my point is, that if you’re experiencing brain fog and memory problems and you’re concerned about Alzheimer’s etc., please know that you can fix this situation before you get to that, so your cells can start absorbing the fuel that they need, your muscles come back and your skin becomes toned. Think prevention!
What does all this mean? What do you need to do?
Chemically processed is the best place to start. Swap this with fresh fruits along with naturally dried fruits such as apricots, figs and dates (be careful of preservatives and seed oils), raw honey (from bee hive not the supermarket, it’s often cheaper anyway) 100% pure maple syrup, rapadura and coconut sugar, are all ‘whole sugars’. They contain their own little package of nutrients that nature put there for your body to break down and use accordingly. Do not eat sugars that are stripped of these nutrients.
- Get processed food out of your diet! Processed sugar, processed grains, and processed fats. (Breads, pastas, sugar, crackers etc.)
- Alcohol. Alcohol sugar is bad for you! It must go!
- STOP combining protein and sugar. Grains contain protein. Gluten is particularly dangerous when combined with processed sugar. Cakes and doughnuts will spike your insulin. Ice-cream, sweetened milk, sweetened yoghurts etc., are all triggers because diary contains the casein protein and already contains its own sugar, lactose, do not combine processed sugar with dairy. When you add sugar to protein you dramatically exaggerate insulin causing it to go way up. In fact, adding processed sugar to anything will spike your insulin.
- The same rule applies to fat. Sugar and fat together will cause an insulin spike.
Snacking between meals is another big problem.
Firstly, if you are suffering from stress, a part of your digestive system will not be functioning properly, intermittent fasting will allow your digestive system to slow down, rest and repair. To help with snacking, eat good quality foods that are sustaining. Eating natural fat with a meal is not going to be a problem because it will allow you to go longer between meals. Healthy fat is not a cause of insulin resistance despite what some people might tell you. These people are often misinformed about good and bad fats, margarine, canola and vegetable oils for example are very bad for you and are often confused with good fats like coconut, butter, olive oil and avocado etc. These good fats will keep you satisfied much longer.
Remember to eat lots of colours, orange, purple, red and especially green. And avoid the things that trigger insulin release. Excessive protein, combining sugar with protein, and sugar by itself are very harmful to your health.
If you’re a coffee drinker, too much coffee will also trigger insulin release. Try to only drink a small amount in the mornings. Caffeine free herbal teas are much nicer, so try a few of those!
Getting the right skin tone isn’t about eating more protein. It’s about finding out what’s underneath it. If you feel good on the inside, you’ll look fantastic on the outside. Your brain will be sharp and bright and your skin will be smooth and clear.
Ask yourself this, is your body in a stressed state from too much cortisol? Or is your skin sliding off from insulin resistance? Or both?