The food you eat is broken down by your body into its smallest form and one of these products is glucose. Glucose provides the energy you need to live! After consuming a meal, glucose is transferred into your blood stream, increasing your blood glucose levels. Your body, and more specifically your pancreas, produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin then transports this glucose from your blood into your muscles and liver where it can be used or stored.
If you are insulin resistant, you may start to feel tired as the insulin is unable to deliver glucose into your cells. It is important that your body has a constant supply of glucose in order to keep functioning. Insulin contributes to other functions that your body performs including the production and storage of glucose in your liver, reducing inflammation and breakdown of your muscle tissue and supporting the repair of your blood vessels and organs. So, becoming insulin resistant not only affects your blood glucose levels but many other functions within your body.
If your blood glucose levels are constantly high, then your muscles and liver will become resistant to insulin. Your pancreas will then respond by producing more insulin. An overproduction of insulin can cause your pancreas to become overworked and stop producing this hormone. Therefore insulin resistance can lead to impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance and/or Type II diabetes.
Diet and exercise can help to prevent and treat insulin resistance. Some diet tips include:
- Eating smaller portion sizes
- Eating at least 5 serves of vegetable and 2 serves of fruit every day
- Eating whole grain foods every day including multigrain bread, oats and barley
- Eating foods that have a low glycaemic index including pumpernickel bread, sweet potato, corn, lentils, carrots and legumes
- Preparing food to keep a low glycaemic index, for instance a baked potato has a lower glycaemic index than mashed potato
- Limiting saturated fats including cakes and biscuits, fried foods and butter.
If you need help to improve your insulin sensitivity or reduce your risk of developing diabetes the exercise physiologists here at Melbourne Osteohealth are here to support you.
Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity with some studies showing that exercise can completely reverse insulin resistance. When you exercise your muscle contracts which improves the ability for insulin receptors to do their job and allows for an increase in glucose uptake into the muscle cells. Insulin sensitivity can improve by more than 50% for up to 3 days after one aerobic exercise session (Bird & Hawley, 2016). A physically active lifestyle has been associated with a 9% decreased risk of developing Type II diabetes with every 500kcal/week increase in physical activity (Bird & Hawley, 2016). It is estimated that 8.8% of the Australian population have impaired glucose intolerance and 6.5% have been diagnosed with diabetes.
If you’re looking to better manage your diabetes or to reverse pre-diabetes, working with one of our exercise physiologists might be a big step in the right direction. Why not give us a call today and we can help you get started – 03 8370 3044.