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Thread: Question about how insulin resistance works page

  1. #1
    merryish's Avatar
    merryish is offline Senior Member
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    Question about how insulin resistance works

    I'm fairly new to the forums - and to this lifestyle; I've only been primal/paleo since the middle of February, but my results have been really good so far. I read these forums kind of obsessively, but I haven't seen an answer to my question - apologies if it's been asked and answered before.

    Two things happened last year that sent me looking for a better way to eat - I discovered I was gluten sensitive, and I had a high A1C test. I tested negative for celiac, but since cutting out wheat immediately made all my overt digestive symptoms vanish overnight, I think I'm a close second. The high A1C was at the high end of the pre-diabetic range, but was a single test, so they didn't try immediately to make me start fingersticking and taking metformin.

    Since February, I've been grain-free and about 90% sugar-free, and I eat a ketogenic diet for both fat loss and blood sugar control. I recently started self-testing my A1C and fasting blood glucose, to see how well I'm controlling the issue. I took the first home A1C about 3 months after the official one, and the second a month after that.

    Numbers:
    A1C 1: 6.3 (pre-diabetic)
    A1C 2: 5.3 (normal)
    A1C 3: 5.2 (normal)

    My FBG is usually around 80-85, and post-prandial is usually under 100 at 2 hours. In the entire time I've been testing, I've never seen a result below 75 or above 101.

    Here's my question. As far as I can tell from Dr. Google and quizzing a colleague of mine who's a nurse, every number but the first A1C is normal. But what I'm wondering is, how can I tell if it's normal because my body is controlling my blood sugar properly now, or if hyperinsulinemia due to insulin resistance is pushing it down to normal? Is there a way to find out if I'm still insulin resistant, short of getting my insulin levels tested (which I understand can be challenging)? And does it matter one way or the other?

    Any ideas would be helpful.
    Last edited by merryish; 06-07-2012 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Neckhammer's Avatar
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    You can assume that your A1c is normal due to improved insulin sensitivity and metabolic regulation of blood sugar. Hyperinsulinemia would create insulin resistance leading to less controlled blood glucose with higher A1C results and fasting sugars. Good on you for your improvement!

    Everything seems to point to lower A1c correlating directly with reduced risk of both CVD and all cause mortality.

    An interesting fact is that in the Nurses Health Study the group that ate the lowest carb were more likely to smoke than any other group and STILL reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by 42% vs. the higher carb group that smoked less.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 06-07-2012 at 11:04 AM.

  3. #3
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    You can look up the symptoms of insulin resistance online. There is more to it than just your blood sugar levels.

    I don't think it matters either way. Perhaps your blood sugar numbers are improving because the diet is working. Maybe you are on the mend and will soon be insulin sensitive. Maybe you're already there. I know that the diet has made me insulin sensitive again because I'm:

    - not overweight
    - not unnaturally hungry
    - normal weight with normal (no longer excessive) exercise and no calorie restriction
    - normal waist size
    - sweet foods no longer cause hunger issues or weight gain
    - I just feel normal intuitively. I know I am different now.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

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    merryish's Avatar
    merryish is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks, Neckhammer & sbhikes!

    As far as that goes, eating primally has had the usual effects on me - I've gone from feeling the need to eat constantly without ever really knowing what hunger feels like, to eating only when I'm legit hungry and being satisfied for hours afterwards. I get hungry at what feel like appropriate times and intervals. I've even started playing around a little with IF, though not in any structured or regular way (and not for more than 24 hours a week) - I find that testing my willpower a little is good for my overall life attitude.

    I don't eat anything sugary outside of dark chocolate occasionally, and berries or melon once in a while, and about three weeks into this change, Splenda started tasting gross, so I don't use fake sweeteners either - I'm not sure how I'd react to eating something sweet. Fruit doesn't trigger any cravings and I'm able to stop after a few squares of dark chocolate with no angst, if that counts. The smell of fresh baked goods still makes me WANT, but I was a frequent baker before Primal and that reaction may just never go away - it's probably psychological. It doesn't make me NEED it, so I'm able to just groan about the unfairness of life and wander away.

    I'm still significantly overweight and my waist size is still far from normal, but I've lost almost 70 lbs without much exercise and without feeling deprived of anything.

    I think probably all this means my insulin sensitivity is improving, but not all the way there yet. Which scales it at about the same place the rest of me is.

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Wow, congrats on the 70lb loss. You are definitely on the mend.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

  6. #6
    js290's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merryish View Post
    Here's my question. As far as I can tell from Dr. Google and quizzing a colleague of mine who's a nurse, every number but the first A1C is normal. But what I'm wondering is, how can I tell if it's normal because my body is controlling my blood sugar properly now, or if hyperinsulinemia due to insulin resistance is pushing it down to normal? Is there a way to find out if I'm still insulin resistant, short of getting my insulin levels tested (which I understand can be challenging)? And does it matter one way or the other?

    Any ideas would be helpful.
    Getting your insulin levels tested may be much more useful.

    Medical Tests Recommended by Dr. Ron Rosedale | Sam Snyder

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