Study Finds That Low-Carb Diets Really Work
Insulin is one of the body’s essential hormones, and it is critical for the proper metabolism of blood glucose. If the body is responding properly to it, insulin helps the body’s cells process and utilize glucose in the bloodstream in an effective and efficient way. The body’s degree of response is called insulin sensitivity—the higher the sensitivity, the better the response, and the lower the sensitivity, the worse the response.
Insulin resistance occurs when a person’s cells do not respond to insulin as quickly as they should. This induces the pancreas to produce more insulin, starting a vicious cycle that has the potential to lead to diabetes. Once a person has diabetes or is at risk for diabetes, life becomes much more difficult, and living a healthy lifestyle—including eating well and getting exercise—becomes paramount to health and wellbeing. Recent research suggests that the key factor when it comes to insulin resistance may be how many carbs you eat.
The University of Michigan recently conducted a study on the effect of carbohydrates on post-menopausal women who were metabolically healthy (not insulin resistant). Researchers divided the women into four groups along two axes: diet (30% carbohydrates or 60% carbohydrates) and exercise (with moderate exercise before meals or without moderate exercise before meals). The subjects’ insulin levels were monitored closely so that the researchers could obtain information on the effects of carbohydrate consumption on insulin levels and resistance.
The study’s results were telling. Although it was a small study—only 32 participants in total—there was a clear trend. The insulin levels of the subjects who consumed low-carbohydrate meals “showed an acute, one-day reduction in insulin resistance after the third low-carbohydrate meal eaten in the evening,” according to Katarina Borer, the principal investigator of the study. On the other hand, the insulin levels of the subjects who consumed high-carbohydrate meals held constant. Borer also found that exercise had no measurable effect on insulin resistance within the context of the study—which suggests that diet is the more important of the two factors—although Borer noted that further research was warranted regarding the timing of exercise and insulin levels.
The study’s findings align with the findings of a couple of other studies, which tested the impact of high-carbohydrate diets over a period of time longer than a single day. These studies found that an extended diet of high-carbohydrate meals had harmful implications for the insulin resistance and overall health of the participants.
Treating Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
While all of these studies suggest that a low-carbohydrate diet can have a major impact on insulin sensitivity, in most cases, it is best to integrate a low-carb diet into an overall health plan to fully manage insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant, it is imperative to have your physician check and monitor blood sugar levels, as well as hormone levels, to ensure proper conversion. Insulin is a hormone, and insulin levels can affect the levels of other hormones and throw off the body’s overall balance. A healthy diet and exercise regimen in conjunction with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help successfully treat insulin resistance and/or diabetes.
BodyLogicMD’s professional network of physicians excel at designing and implementing comprehensive treatment plans to support the entire body, not just mask isolated symptoms. Contact an expert in the BodyLogicMD network today to gain control over your health and wellbeing and get your metabolic health back into balance.