Photo by Kelvin Yup on Unsplash

People with type 2 diabetes make plenty of insulin, but their bodies stop responding to it. Before diabetes develops, they have a condition known as insulin insensitivity or insulin resistance. It is caused by eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates

The average American consumes over 200 pounds of sugar each year (compared to about 10 pounds in the 18th century). About half of the calories the average American consumes consist of refined carbohydrates, which the body treats the same way it treats sugar. As a result, we are producing too much insulin. Eventually, we become insensitive to insulin (called insulin ‘resistance’) and that has serious health consequences.

Early Symptoms of insulin resistance include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, carbohydrate craving, and periods of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after a high carbohydrate meal. Low blood sugar after meals can cause you to become sleepy or to crave dessert.

Lab results

You can have insulin resistance but still have normal lab results. If your fasting blood sugar is over 100, you may have insulin resistance. Another thing to consider is that insulin resistance can lead to high triglycerides, although that test is not used to diagnose diabetes. A more reliable test is the Hemoglobin A1C (sometimes just called the A1C test) test, which indicates your blood sugar levels over time. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates that you have diabetes. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes (insulin resistance). Below 5.7 is considered normal.

Insulin resistance can also lead to metabolic syndrome (sometimes called “Syndrome X”). The Journal of the American Medical Association states that if a patient has three or more of the following symptoms then  Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) is present.: waist measurement greater than 40” in men (35” in women); triglycerides greater than 150 mg/dl; HDL lower than 40 mg/dl; blood pressure greater than 135/85; or fasting glucose of 110 mg/dl. About half of all patients with high blood pressure have it because of insulin insensitivity or metabolic syndrome.