Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and used to digest carbohydrates. When carbohydrate-rich foods are consumed, insulin is secreted by the pancreas to take glucose from the food to the muscles for energy. For a number of reasons, insulin may fail to work as well as it should and your body can start over producing the hormone. When insulin isn’t working effectively, the body tends to store more fat.
A person with insulin resistance has a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, but it has been shown that healthy eating can help. It is important to include low-GI carbs, balanced with lean protein and meals with good fat throughout the day to keep blood glucose levels steady. It is important to keep up your veggie and fruit intake and also add legumes and wholegrain foods such as oats, barley and cracked wheat.
We all need to take care as certain foods – veggie chips, protein balls – may be found in the health food aisle of the supermarket, but this does not necessarily mean they are good for us. Nuts are a great source of protein and good fats and dried fruit provides fibre as well as a range of vitamins and minerals, however we need to control portions: a single protein ball can be 600-800kJ.
Boredom can be a huge factor and we we find ourselves eating when we are not hungry. It takes our brains about 20 minutes to register that we’re full. If snacking on saturated fat and sugary treat foods, you can easily consume half (or even your entire) day’s calorie intake in one sitting. Even “healthy” snacks add up: a cup of dried fruit and nuts is about 1200kcal – an average calorie requirement for a female controlling their weight.