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Insulin 101

There are people that have advanced degrees in how insulin works.  We won’t need that, but we need a basic understanding of what insulin is and how it works. 


Insulin is a hormone.  It is the master metabolic hormone. 


Metabolism is the chemical reactions in your body that change food to energy.  The beginnings of these chemical reactions take place in your digestive system where:

Ø  proteins are broken down into amino acids (building blocks for cell growth),

Ø  fats are turned into fatty acids (used for cellular function), and

Ø  carbohydrates are turned into glucose (provides cellular energy).


A hormone is a chemical messenger.  There are over fifty hormones in your body and these are produced in different glands and organs.  Hormones travel through your blood to all parts of your body and communicate to the intended cells through receptors.  They manage things like your body temperature and blood pressure as well as your energy level or mood.


When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts these carbs into glucose in your blood.  Your body senses a rise in blood glucose and sends a signal for your pancreas (the organ that produces insulin) to release insulin.  Insulin travels in the blood with the glucose to the cell receptors to “unlock” the cells and allow the glucose in to use it. 


You need insulin to live, but it can be too much of an essential thing.  The higher your blood glucose (BG) is, the more insulin your body produces and releases into your blood stream.  When your cells are bombarded with too much insulin, they become resistant to it and need more of it to work creating a snowball effect.  


At some point, you cannot produce enough insulin for the cells to “unlock” and receive the BG and your BG goes above normal range.  This is when your fasting BG or A1c blood test starts to show that you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.  Your A1c is a blood test that shows your average BG over the last 90 days weighted toward the recent.


What can be done to stop the snowball effect?  And once your cells are insulin resistant, can they become more sensitive like they were before?

The way to stop the snowball effect and return your cells to becoming more sensitive to insulin is to have your body produce less insulin.  The way to do that is to lower your BG – both your average and spikes. 


How to start.

The way to lower your average BG is simple but challenging.  To do so, you will need to lower your intake of processed sugar and processed wheat.  This means near zero processed sugar and very low processed wheat.  Avoid honey, maple syrup, and agave.  Stay away from artificial sweeteners.  Artificial sweeteners make you crave sweet foods (read my blog post on One Food to Avoid).  When starting this process, stay away from tropical fruits, grapes and fruit juice – eat the whole fruit. You may be able to modify this in the future depending on how it goes, but this is the starting place.  We will also talk about ways to avoid BG spikes as well.


Message me or email me with questions.  It is not easy, but you can do it.  It gets easier after the first two weeks.  Post in the comments if you have things that help you that might help others.


This is great information and I really liked the way you broke the information down! Thank you!

Replying to

There was a bit of back and forth between my wife and I about how to word it so it made sense before it got posted, so I appreciate that comment.


Jan 01

Thank you so much, Dave! I always feel somehow these posts are indirectly speaking to me. I was diagnosed diabetic out of the blue last summer. Everything is a learning process. I appreciate your articles and information.

Replying to

I am glad. I need them myself, so I thought maybe somebody else might. It is good to know we are not the only ones.

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