You Say Weight Gain... I say INSULIN
This is a topic that I see playing out every day in practice. The number one thing I hear from my patients is "I can't lose weight!". That is a common theme. Often, they are doing things you would think would help... Eating a calorie-restricted diet, exercising, etc. But, the weight won't come off.
So, I start with some questions and then I look at labs. I look at them in a functional way. Most providers order fasting glucose and never even check insulin on lab tests. I order my labs non-fasted and I always look at insulin. Why do I do that? Because I want to know how sensitive your body is to insulin. The more sensitive you are, the better it works. Over time, we can become insulin resistant and that is a recipe for weight gain, specifically in the form of fat.
Let me break it down. The picture above is a good example of what happens.
1) You eat something that raises your blood sugar. It can be the type of food you are eating or the amount you are eating.
2) Insulin gets involved. The job of insulin is to lower blood sugar. It tries to first send the sugar to a working muscle. If you don't need that much energy, you begin to store the excess sugar in the muscle cells and the liver. The stored form of glucose is glycogen. You can store a certain amount and then you simply can't pack any more into the muscle or liver cells. In fact, if you continue to try, you can end up with a fatty liver.
3) If you can't store any more glucose, you convert it to a triglyceride. I like to describe these as "sugar fats." These triglycerides need to be "bubble wrapped" or stored in fat cells. If you do not have enough fat cells, your body will make more. The problem with that is that these fat cells never go away. If you lose weight, the triglycerides will be released and the fat cell will shrink, but it's much easier to fill it up the second or third time. That explains why so many people gain weight back after they have lost it. It get easier to gain it back each time.
You can watch the video below if you want to see me graph this out...
That paints a pretty nasty picture, doesn't it! It also explains why high insulin levels cause weight gain. In fact, insulin is nicknamed the "Fat Storage" Hormone and now you know why!
The key to ending this cycle is to manage blood sugar from spiking. That can take some dedication, commitment and know-how. It can absolutely be done. I help people figure out where they are in this process and reverse it all the time.
If you know or suspect this is happening to you and would like to chat about your specific condition and see if we can help you reverse it, feel free to use the link below to schedule a time for me to give you a call so I can listen and see if I can help!
To your health!