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Nutrition Sheet No1 – Introduction
What is Insulin Resistance?


The following information is taken from the Nutrition Network Advisor Training. The information is based on scientific studies which are fully referenced. This Nutrition sheet is for information only and is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor if changing diet. March 2024


INSULIN RESISTANCE – It’s the epidemic you may have never have heard of. Half of all US adults, and roughly one in three Americans, are known to have it. However, this number could be as high as 88% of adults!


What is Insulin? - Insulin is a hormone made in our pancreas. Its main role is to reduce blood sugar levels.

What does Insulin do? – When you eat a meal that contains carbohydrates (sugar) your blood sugar levels rises. Insulin helps reduce blood sugar levels by storing the sugar in your liver and muscles.

What is insulin resistance? - Insulin resistance is a reduced response to the hormone insulin. When cells stop responding to insulin, they become insulin resistant. If you eat a meal containing carbohydrates you need more insulin than normal to lower your blood sugar levels.  Thus, the key feature of insulin resistance is that blood levels of insulin are higher than they used to be, and the insulin often doesn’t work as well. As insulin resistance builds over decades, this can lead to a slow rise in blood glucose levels, then eventually diabetes.


To clarify – When you have higher than normal levels of insulin and it isn’t working correctly - the state is defined as insulin resistance

Why do I become insulin resistant?        Eating a diet high in processed carbohydrates over decades can lead to insulin resistance. The high sugar diet will cause a rise in blood insulin levels, but your blood sugar levels will be perfectly normal in the early stages.  As insulin resistance builds over decades we don’t recognize there’s an issue as blood sugar levels are normal - but you are slowly becoming more and more insulin resistant. Eventually no matter how much insulin you make it will not hold your blood sugar in the normal range. This is when insulin resistance can be recognised.

Insulin Resistance and Diabetes                               When a person’s blood sugar levels rise higher than normal -this is often diagnosed as pre-diabetes. The description I would give is insulin resistance. When you have pre-diabetes or insulin resistance - eventually the pancreas gets damaged and its ability to produce insulin is reduced. Blood sugar levels then rise very quickly and this leads to full blown diabetes.  Diabetes is when you have low insulin levels and high blood sugar levels.

How can Insulin Resistance be detected?                           

The simplest way is to measure you fasting insulin level. It is quite a difficult test to get done and is only available in private health care in the UK. Insulin fasting tests are carried out in America and in some countries in Europe.

Other early signs of insulin resistance are

Men                      Waist circumference at the belly button greater than 37 inches for men

Woman                Waist circumference at the belly button greater than 32inches for woman

Other signs         Skin tags around the neck and armpit, a brown coloured neck, high blood pressure


Professor Tim Noake’s Story

This is a photo of the young Professor Tim Noake’s who is now the president of the Nutrition Network graduating in the1980’s with his mother and father. Tim’s father had diabetes. Not long after this was taken the professor started his research career and had his blood sugar and insulin levels measured when training for a marathon. Tim’s blood sugar levels could be described as excellent. However,  his insulin levels were six times higher than what would be considered “normal” when he was eating a diet high in carbohydrates. He did not know it at the time but this was an early indication that some time in the future that he would likely become a diabetic - just like his father because he needed high levels of insulin to keep his blood sugar normal!

This is exactly what happened. Despite being a GP for over 30 years and eating a so called healthy diet full of carbohydrates of whole grain bread and cereals he became diabetic in his 60’s.

Proffesor Tim Noakes.JPG

What does it mean if you are Insulin Resistant?                               Insulin resistance is associated with an increased likelihood of developing chronic diseases like weight gain and obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, fatty liver, dementia, ADHD, anxiety and autoimmune conditions like arthritis. Insulin resistance is now thought to be one of the root causes of these chronic diseases.


Summary – I hope this Nutritional Data Sheet gives you an idea that insulin resistance is a worldwide phenomenon. That it is likely that if you have fat around your tummy area then you are on the insulin resistant spectrum. It is thought that only around 10% of adults are metabolically healthy so the other 90% have some degree of insulin resistance without realising it. Changing to a low carbohydrate natural food diet is the antidote and may help to reduce the body’s resistance to insulin and return it to being metabolically healthy.

Colin McAlpine- Trained Advisor in Low Carb Natural Food

By the Nutrition Network 

The information within the nutrition sheets is not medical advice

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