If you have skin tags or darker/thicker lines or patches on the neck, you may have a condition called Acanthosis nigricans. This leads insulin resistance, a precursor to prediabetes or metabolic syndrome leading to unhealthy belly fat!
What is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is the key hormone for fat gain and loss. After you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will increase. It is the insulin’s job to push the glucose into the cells where it is used for energy. Insulin also helps muscles, fat and liver cells store sugar that can be released when it is needed. If the body takes in too much simple sugars found in carbohydrates, the cells are bombarded with so much insulin that the “doors” begin to malfunction and shut down. If the doors aren’t open, the pancreas feels the need to produce even more insulin to push into the cells because it cannot perform its function to lower sugar levels, tending to leave the insulin floating in the blood stream. A vicious cycle is now in place resulting in a condition called Insulin resistance.
How does insulin resistance cause weight gain?
Since insulin resistance leads to compensation from the body wherein the body produces more insulin in order to keep the blood sugars under control, it leads to high levels of this “anabolic” or body building hormone called insulin. Also, insulin has a tendency to redistribute the weight to the upper part of the body and the abdomen – a type of fat known as visceral fat! Research has shown that intra-abdominal fat or visceral fat leads to increased production of pro-inflamatory cytokines which in turn lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even increase the risk of many cancers!
How common is the problem?
Currently, up to 70 percent of the population of the United States have some degree of Insulin Resistance with about a third of the population meeting the criteria for Metabolic Syndrome. Every time your body takes carbohydrates, you need insulin. The glycemic indexes of foods determine how fast the sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. Over a time of eating high glycemic index diets such as white bread, white rice, potatoes, French fries, soft drinks etc, the body becomes insulin resistant. In order to compensate, our body produces more insulin. Insulin resistance inhibits our fat cells from giving up their stores of energy to let us lose weight. The more overweight we are, the more insulin resistant we tend to become and can cause adverse health effects. Since abdominal fat produces harmful cytokines leading to body inflammation, it is imperative that reducing insulin resistance would be the key to reduce the risk of a condition known as metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.
How do you diagnose Metabolic Syndrome?
Affecting up to 35 percent of all adults in the United States, the criteria for metabolic syndrome is common and serious.