Hyperinsulinemia and Obesity

Are you finding it hard to lose weight even after a consistent workout routine? There are many factors that can be the real cause of your obesity. Exercise along with the right diet and also understanding underlying medical conditions can help you lose weight. 

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition where insulin levels in the blood are abnormally high. It is often found associated with type 2 diabetes. Hyperinsulinemia is an early indicator of metabolic dysfunction, which may lead to more serious metabolic diseases and obesity. 

People with hyperinsulinemia have problems controlling blood sugar that leads to type 2 diabetes. In such patients, the pancreas cannot secrete sufficient amounts of insulin to keep the blood glucose normal. 

This article helps you understand the link between insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and obesity. We will also discuss how a low-carb diet like the carnivore diet can help you overcome these health issues. Also, find some practical tips to achieve your weight loss goals.  

What is Insulin? 

Your cells generate energy from three different sources: protein, fats, and carbs. Major producers of energy are fats and carbs. 

When you consume carbs, your body breaks it down to glucose. High consumption of carbs increases the glucose level in your body. To keep your blood glucose level normal, beta cells of the pancreas secrete a peptide hormone insulin

Insulin helps in facilitating cellular glucose, lipid, protein metabolism and in regulating carbohydrates. It promotes cell growth and division through its mitogenic effects. When your pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin, then your risk of diabetes increases. 

Your body does not use all the energy metabolized by the food you consume. It provides you at most 50kcal of glucose per hour; when you don’t utilize it, it gets stored as glycogen. When your body exceeds the glycogen storage limit, glucose is turned into fat. This is also termed lipogenesis.

Insulin sensitivity refers to your body’s responsiveness to blood glucose. The most common cause of hyperinsulinemia is insulin resistance. 

What is Insulin Resistance? 

Insulin resistance happens when your muscle and liver cells do not respond well to insulin. It also occurs when these cells are not able to take up glucose from your blood. As a result, your pancreas starts producing more insulin to help glucose enter your cells, but your body would be less responsive to insulin. 

Insulin resistance causes obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, hypertension, visceral adiposity, hyperuricemia, and endothelial dysfunction. If not treated, it might lead to type 2 diabetes. 

What Causes Insulin Resistance? 

Insulin resistance is primarily caused due to increased body fat; it can be due to genetics or high-carb consumption. Increased consumption of carbs raises your blood glucose level, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete more insulin. Increased insulin secretion leads to increased fat deposition resulting in obesity and also hyperinsulinemia. 

Obesity is one of the significant health risks worldwide. In the United States, obesity has risen from 12.8 to 22.5% in the last 20 years. Experts suggest exercising and following a healthy diet, but it seems to be unsuccessful in ameliorating obesity in the long-term. It is essential to understand the underlying health problems and genetics to treat obesity effectively. 

Most obese people exhibit hyperinsulinemia. But it is not clear if hyperinsulinemia or decreased plasma insulin clearance, and insulin resistance are the real cause of obesity.

What is Hyperinsulinemia?

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition where the insulin level is higher than usual. It is mostly caused by insulin resistance, a condition in which your body does not respond well to insulin. Hence, there is pressure on the pancreas to increase insulin production to keep your blood sugar regular. Insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes, where your pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. 

Adapting to a low-carb diet allows your body to utilize fat as fuel for energy. Thus it helps to reduce insulin resistance. This also avoids the risk of hyperinsulinemia and type 2 diabetes. 

Various factors cause hyperinsulinemia, such as; 

  • Insulin resistance
  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental and dietary factors
  • Obesity
  • Insulinoma (rare tumor of pancreas cells)
  • Nesidioblastosis (pancreases produces more cells to make more insulin)

There are many risks factors associated with hyperinsulinemia;

  • Increased triglyceride levels
  • High uric acid
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Weight gain (obesity)
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes

A study suggests that insulin hypersecretion leads to obesity. Body fat was found reduced in the patients who followed a controlled low carb diet. They also observed improvements in insulin sensitivity and clearance, with reduced symptoms of diabetes.

Tips to Overcome Hyperinsulinemia and Obesity

Here are some simple steps to help you lose weight and reduce your insulin resistance. 

1. Cut Down your Carbs

A low-carb diet, high-protein diet can help you reduce insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. According to experts from the Framingham State Food Safety Study, consuming more fat and less carb has helped people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The study revealed that people observed better results with weight loss. 

Another study based on the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM) of obesity demonstrated that consuming processed and high-glycemic carb foods led to hormonal changes. Results showed an increase in the calorie deposition in adipose tissue, increased hunger, reduced energy expenditure, and weight gain.

2. NO Fructose Diet

Fructose is easily absorbed and metabolized by the human liver. We generally consume fructose through fruits in our daily diet, and it constitutes around 16-20grams/day. In a western diet, fructose consumption is around 85-100grams per day, which is too high compared to the regular intake. This leads to several health issues such as reduced insulin sensitivity and hepatic insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. 

Limiting your fructose intake would help you to reduce weight and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

3. Reduced Dietary Saturated Fat

Diet plays a major role in insulin resistance. Consumption of high-carb, high-fat food daily is associated with weight gain and deteriorated insulin sensitivity. 

Studies suggest that saturated fat drastically worsens insulin resistance in your body; the study also reveals that the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve your insulin sensitivity. 

According to KANWU, shifting from a saturated fatty acid diet to a monounsaturated fatty acid diet improves insulin sensitivity significantly in healthy people.

3. Exercise 

Regular yoga, exercise, and body workout are the best ways to reduce your insulin resistance. Exercise helps you to reduce body fat and promotes insulin sensitivity

According to a study, 60 minutes of cycling on a machine at moderate speed has improved insulin sensitivity for 48 hours in healthy individuals. 

Exercise has improved insulin sensitivity in both men and women with or without type 2 diabetes. If you exercise every day, it helps you improve your insulin sensitivity and gradually lose weight.

Bottom Line

Hyperinsulinemia is caused by insulin resistance; as we discussed, obesity and a high carb diet lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. It is essential to cut down your high-carb diet to reduce weight gain and to improve insulin sensitivity. 

Changing your diet pattern, adapting to a low-carb diet or zero-carb diet such as a carnivore diet helps you reduce the weight and fat in your body. This diet change can reduce insulin resistance and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Change your lifestyle to a carnivore diet to overcome insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and other metabolic conditions affecting your health.

To know more on how carnivore diet can improve insulin resistance, read Insulin resistance and the carnivore diet