How the Paleo Diet Affects Insulin Resistiance

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How Does a Caveman Diet Fix Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone in the body released from the pancreas and helps control glucose. The food your just ate is transformed into sugar in the blood called Glucose.  This is energy for your organs, muscles and all cells in your body. Glucose is stored in the liver.

Fat cell diagram

Image credit to visembryo.com

When your blood sugar level drops the liver kicks in and converts the stored glucose into glycogen (blood sugar) and releases it into the bloodstream. The pancreas monitors the blood sugar situation and secrets insulin to tell the liver to convert and release the glycogen acting as a regulator in the blood stream. The insulin does basically three things:

  • It helps muscle, fat and liver cells absorb glucose removing it from the blood stream
  • Stimulate the liver and muscle tissue to store the excess glucose as glycogen
  • Lowers blood glucose levels to normal

Insulin resistance occurs when normal levels of insulin no longer are effective in helping the glucose get absorbed into the cells. An enduring high level of blood sugar in the blood will lead to type 2 diabetes and possibly other disorders. Additional insulin is released to try to lower the high sugar blood levels.

Insulin resistance can be caused by many factors:

  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Steroid use
  • Sleep debt
diagram of pancreas secreting insulin in cell structure

Image credit to visembryo.com

When we speak about insulin resistance we must consider the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a listing and rating of foods that digest and are absorbed in the body from a slow state to a rapid state. A high glycemic index number is undesirable because it digests very quickly and floods the blood stream with sugar. This creates a spike in insulin. As a result some of the sugars are not effectively stored in the cells and get stored as fat.

Some examples of high glycemic index foods are white or brown rice, pastas, breads, watermelon. Slow carbs are foods that stay in the digestive track longer and do not cause an insulin spike giving your body time to absorb the blood sugar and lessening fat storage. These low glycemic foods are typically raw vegetables and some fruits.

How does the paleo diet help insulin resistance?

The paleo diet, aka caveman diet, helps insulin resistance through its suggested food path of eating all natural foods. Meats and poultry are not considered a carbohydrate source and therefore not on the Glycemic index. This means the meat sources are not going to cause insulin spikes.

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