Understanding the Connection Between Insulin and Weight Gain

Over 70% of Americans are struggling with the burden of being overweight. As weight gain soars, so do health consequences, such as Type 2 diabetes. In fact, doctors diagnose nearly two million new cases of diabetes each year.

When it comes to weight gain, hormones are an often-overlooked factor. Of the many hormones your body produces, there’s a strong link between insulin, weight gain, and the development of Type 2 diabetes. Our experts explain how balancing your insulin is key to shedding pounds and lowering your diabetes risk.

Importance of blood sugar regulation

Most well-known for balancing blood sugar levels, insulin works like a key that unlocks your cells, ushering sugar out of the blood and into your cells for fuel use. You need a small, steady amount of circulating glucose to maintain a wide variety of energy functions, but it damages blood vessels if it hangs around too long at high levels.

Insulin is necessary for health

When you eat carbohydrate-containing foods, your pancreas releases insulin to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high for too long. Insulin is a vital part of your body’s energy-balancing system. In addition to keeping blood sugar levels stable, insulin acts in various other ways to balance the amount of energy you take in, store, and use to fuel your body’s functions.

Insulin resistance and weight gain

Chronically high insulin levels cause your cells to become less sensitive to the hormone’s effects. Then the pancreas produces more insulin in response, kicking off a vicious cycle.

Individuals with insulin resistance have a hard time losing weight without addressing the underlying hormonal imbalance. That’s why here at 360 Medical Weight Specialists, Dr. Anne Gartner and her team offer programs that address insulin resistance to help you shed pounds.

Hormone reset program

Our Hormone Reset Program is designed to improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin through dietary changes aimed at controlling your carbohydrate intake. As a result, insulin levels decline over the course of several months, and it becomes easier for you to lose weight and reach your weight loss goals.

How insulin drives weight gain

Insulin has a number of effects that influence your metabolism, and in turn, your weight.

Insulin increases appetite

Your body is a magnificent machine that runs on a complex hormonal feedback system. When you stick to healthy eating habits, hormones remain in balance, telling your brain when and how much to eat. When your hormones are out of whack, you can find yourself craving calorie-dense foods and going back for seconds.

Elevated insulin not only increases hunger, it impacts the type of foods you crave, how foods taste, and how much you eat. In short, elevated insulin makes you hungry and leads to overeating.

Insulin promotes fat storage

As a hormone that helps regulate energy, insulin drives fat storage. When levels are elevated, the body is encouraged to store energy instead of getting rid of it. Knowing that, it’s no surprise that you may notice the scale continually creeping up if your insulin levels are chronically elevated.

Insulin reduces calorie-burning capacity

When your metabolism is running optimally, it burns the fuel you take in and reserves a necessary amount for future fuel use. In adults with insulin resistance, the body stores more fat than it burns. This means you burn fewer calories than you would if your insulin levels were balanced.

Resetting your insulin levels

Insulin sensitivity influences the ability to lose weight and keep it off. On our Hormone Reset Program, patients are encouraged to consume three specially formulated meal replacement shakes and one meal of whole foods each day. Healthy vegetable snacks between meals help you feel satisfied.

The reduced carbohydrate intake during the reset phase gradually enhances insulin sensitivity, resulting in lower insulin levels. Once your insulin has reset to a healthier level, you’re ready to transition to the maintenance phase, where we help you introduce whole foods to your meals.

The team guides you every step of the way through weekly support meetings to help you successfully navigate the program.

360 Medical Weight Specialists can help

Weight loss is more than “calories in, calories out.” Visit us at 360 Medical Weight Specialists for effective weight loss programs tailored to your individual needs. Call our office in Walnut Creek, California, or book online today.

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