Insulin resistance can develop 10 to 20 years before diabetes is diagnosed. It is often the result of a sedentary lifestyle and a diet filled with refined carbohydrates, which causes cells to stop responding to normal levels of insulin. If you carry most of your body fat in your abdominal area, you double your risk for this condition.
Insulin is produced by your pancreas to facilitate the entry of glucose from your blood into the cells. Insulin resistance manifests when your cells are unresponsive to the normal levels of insulin produced by the pancreas; your pancreas must therefore produce more insulin. As insulin resistance continues to develop, your pancreas produces continuously higher levels of insulin to process the same amount of glucose. If insulin resistance goes unmanaged, eventually your pancreas will not be able to make a sufficient amount of insulin, leading to high blood sugar and diabetes.
Reducing your weight by as little as 5 percent through diet and exercise decreases your chances of developing insulin resistance and diabetes by as much as 58 percent.
For instance, if you weigh 113kg, losing as little as 5.7kg of fat significantly lowers your risk. While eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories per day will net you a 0.5kg – 1kg fat loss per week just from cutting back on your food, even a small decrease of 250 calories can incur a 1kg loss in one month. Increasing your level of physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week will further enhance your fat loss and your ability to process glucose without much insulin.
Excessive abdominal fat tissue secretes chemicals which lower your metabolism and strongly contributes to the development of insulin resistance. Men with a waist circumference greater than
102 cm or women with more than an 88-cm waist are likely to have some level of insulin resistance and may very well develop diabetes. Decreasing the fat around your waist helps you combat this national epidemic.
A diet high in fat, especially saturated and trans fat, and high in sugary foods is linked to insulin resistance. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends no more than 25 to 35 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat, of which no more than 10 percent from saturated fat. Keeping your carbohydrate intake between 40 and 50 percent of your total daily calories and consuming 25 to 30 g of fiber per day will further lower your risk of developing insulin resistance and diabetes.