BOUTTE - Men and women who gain weight without overeating and are tired all the time may be suffering from insulin resistance - a condition that’s often easy to conquer with a few dietary and lifestyle changes that will help you look and feel good again.
To bring you up-to-the-minute tips, the Herald-Guide consulted the St. Charles Parish Hospital, whose experts reveal what you need to know in a high-speed “question-and-answer format” that gives you a lot of information fast.
Q. What is insulin resistance?
A. Insulin is a hormone that ushers sugar - the body's main source of energy - into your cells. Once inside the cells, this sugar is used for energy.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body's response to insulin is below normal. In some cases, sugar builds up in the blood and can cause weight gain, loss of pep or even, in a worst case, diabetes mellitus.
Q. What are the symptoms of insulin resistance?
A. Symptoms of insulin resistance include but aren’t limted to fatigue, weight gain, or sudden drops in blood-sugar levels that can result in clamminess or jitteriness, temper tantrums or outbursts.
Food cravings, usually for starchy foods like potatos or bread, or sweets, are common.
Q. How is insulin resistance detected?
A. A glucose tolerance test administered under a doctor’s direction that measures blood-sugar levels can determine if a person is insulin resistant. If you suspect you are insulin resistant, call a doctor for advice.
Q. What is the best diet for people with insulin resistance?
A. Lean meats, dairy, high fiber grains, leafy greens and fruit are good choices for people with insulin resistance. The daily meal plan should include breakfast, lunch, dinner and two small snacks, all low in carbohydrates.
Regular exercise of more than 30 minutes per day, three to five days a week, is recommended, although you always should consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
Stopping smoking and making sure you get enough sleep will help, too.
Herald-Guide FAST FACT: The spice cinnamon, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others, reduces insulin resistance when taken as a tea or in capsule form. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if cinnamon is right for you. Several prescription drugs can help, too: primary among them, metformin.