Insulin resistance and weight gain

Insulin resistance and weight gain

Insulin resistance is a major factor in developing various metabolic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. It appears that insulin resistance is closely related to weight, both in its tendency to cause weight gain and its effect as a consequence of weight gain. However, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. We will discuss in this article the relationship between insulin resistance and weight gain and strategies that patients with insulin resistance can use to lose weight when diagnosed with this condition.

What is Insulin Resistance?

The role of insulin must first be understood. Our cells take sugar from the bloodstream when the pancreas gives us insulin. Consider insulin as knocking on the cell door and then letting the sugar inside by opening the door to allow the insulin to get in. The carbohydrates we consume are broken down into sugar molecules as soon as we eat them, thus causing insulin to be produced. Our cells can use those sugar molecules to produce energy when they are taken in by insulin. Several physiological processes contribute to glucose production in our bodies, which is necessary for our bodies to function properly in day-to-day activities while keeping our blood sugar levels within a normal range. It is important to stress that the sugars created during food digestion are not bad; they are a source of essential fuel that our cells need to function. Nevertheless, sugars can only be utilized as fuel inside cells when they are inside the body. Sugars can harm the body when they float around in the bloodstream.



The cells become less responsive to insulin when they are in a state of insulin resistance. You can compare it to insulin knocking on a door, but it's not opening as easily as it did in the past. Therefore, sugars cannot enter cells for fuel but remain in the bloodstream. Once the cells have taken up excess sugars, the pancreas will produce additional insulin to maintain a normal blood sugar level. When the pancreas is overburdened with demands, it struggles to maintain its function. Consequently, blood sugar levels remain high due to insufficient insulin production. Diabetes type 2 results from this over time.


It is possible to determine if you have insulin resistance through blood tests. Hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose, and fasting insulin levels are all tested. During the fasting period, we can see the blood glucose and insulin levels at the time of the test. The haemoglobin A1c level will give us an idea of the average blood sugar levels over three months. It is also possible to perform a glucose tolerance test, but this is less common than other tests.


What Causes Insulin Resistance When You Gain Weight?

Although we don't know how insulin resistance develops, research consistently indicates that it occurs in obesity and weight gain. The liver and skeletal muscles accumulate fat, according to many studies. As we break down food into sugars, muscle and liver cells consume them. Insulin signals are not as effective at getting blood into these tissues when fat accumulates around them. The role of inflammation in insulin resistance has also been proposed. Several studies link chronic, low-grade inflammation to obesity and high-fat, high-refined sugar diets. As a result of inflammation, insulin is less efficient at delivering sugar into cells.

How Does Insulin Resistance Cause Weight Gain?

Our blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin. Besides promoting fat storage, insulin stimulates hunger and can lead to cravings. As we reviewed, the pancreas produces more insulin when insulin resistance occurs. In other words, the body is ready to store fat. Conversely, insulin's effect on hunger can lead to an increase in food consumption. Weight gain and weight loss are impacted by insulin resistance due to these effects.


Can you Lose Weight with Insulin Resistance?


It's possible! Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by losing weight and improving insulin sensitivity. There is even evidence that weight loss can reverse insulin resistance. Weight loss can be challenging with insulin resistance for the reasons discussed above, but it is possible.   A few effective strategies are listed below: 


  • Calorie reduction is important. People with insulin resistance need to reduce calorie intake for weight loss. This needs to be done sustainably. It is generally unhealthy and ineffective to severely restrict calories or follow fad diets. Registered Dietitians are great resources if you need help reducing your calorie intake healthily.
  • Low-sugar carbohydrates with high fibre content are best. To control blood sugar and insulin levels, you should consume more complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains instead of simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, cookies, and chips.
  • Don't drink sugary drinks. You may develop insulin resistance over time when drinking beverages high in added sugar, causing your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. Limiting sugar in your drinks is important to lose weight and prevent diabetes. As a few strategies to help you reduce the amount of sugar you consume, try flavoured sparkling water instead of soda and decrease the amount of sugar you put in your morning cup of coffee.
  • Become more active. Weight loss and blood sugar control are two benefits of physical activity. Start by walking your dog, parking farther away, or taking the stairs, even if you're not physically active.
  • Consult your doctor about medication. The use of medication may be a solution for you if you are following healthier habits but still have trouble losing weight or improving blood sugar levels. Weight loss and insulin resistance can both be improved with weight loss medications. You may want to discuss one of these options with your doctor.

How Weightloss Coach Can Help with Weight Gain and Insulin Resistance

Personalized weight loss plans developed by Weightloss Coach consider biological factors such as insulin resistance. Doctors at our practice specialize in treating obesity and insulin resistance. Give us a try if you're looking for medical weight management care! We can create a personalized path for you to improve your health and lose weight.

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