There are two main kinds of diabetes: Type 1 occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 2 occurs when insulin is produced, but the body doesn’t respond to it the right way. What causes Type 1 is often hard to pinpoint. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly common — some have estimated that a third of Americans born in 2000 will develop the disease — and a lot of the time, it can be prevented. How? Let’s talk insulin sensitivity.
Eating carbs too often (especially simple ones, like sugars), can make us less sensitive to insulin (or more “insulin resistant”). When that happens, we need to produce more insulin than we should need to in order to keep blood sugar stable.
That’s bad. If insulin sensitivity becomes poor, we have trouble digesting carbs and absorbing nutrients, and we gain weight. If it’s really bad for a long time, the pancreas needs to make more and more insulin because we’re so insensitive to it. Eventually, it gets exhausted and stops being able to release the hormone properly — and that’s when Type 2 diabetes occurs.
But, insulin resistance doesn’t just increase the risk of diabetes. It ups the risk of thyroid problems and several kinds of cancer, and it also makes it a lot harder to control body fat. So if we want to burn fat, we want to be sensitive — even the big, tough guys! Fortunately, we know plenty of ways to make your insulin work for you.
The following are three out of several ways to improve insulin sensitivity. More details will be included in the…
- Exercise regularly
Exercising 3 or 4 times a week can improve nearly every health marker there is, and insulin sensitivity is no exception. To maximize the insulin-related benefits, make the workouts extra intense with high intensity interval training or depletion workouts.
- Get plenty of sleep
Lying down’s never been so healthy! Getting adequate sleep is crucial to keep the body functioning smoothly, and that includes hormone production.
- Eat fewer carbohydrates, especially simple carbs
Eating lots of carbs makes us produce a lot of insulin, so it’s best to follow a diet that’s low in simple and processed carbs, especially sugar, to maximize our sensitivity to the stuff. An exception is after you exercise — a blood sugar spike is a good thing post-workout, because the insulin helps to quickly send nutrients to exhausted muscles.
Adapted from Greatist