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Keeping the Paleo lifestyle, Can I lose the Insulin Resitance?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

I've been looking for support from someone who is also Paleo with insulin resistance for awhile now. Everyone harps to me about switching to low carb, but doesn't understand, I've been low carb for years now!

I was diagnosed with hypertension in 2002 and have been medicated since, in 2007 I started eating healthy and working with weights and an elliptical and lost 40 lbs - lowered my blood pressure meds to the lowest dosage possible and have been healthy. In 2009 I had surgical menopause (decrease in energy but continued with bioidentical hormones) and in 2010 I started CrossFit and eating Paleo/Primal and was in the best shape of my life. But when I stopped working out at the box and using my home gym (couldn't afford the cost), my work outs became less and less, but still occasionally (like 5x a month, but a busy lifestyle that kept me from sitting on my butt). My weight stayed the same and I continued to eat Paleo/Primal (except for the occasional cheat days).

No matter what breaks I took from my work outs, I was always able to jump back in and give it 110% during my work outs but by Jan 2013 my work outs became too exhausting, I had no energy, I started eating Shakeology shakes to force myself nutrition, because I stopped eating meals trying to lose weight - but nothing worked. No matter how well I ate, my body was retaining fat and gaining weight.

In May my bloodwork revealed high cholesterol and high insulin along with insulin resistance. Now I'm forcing myself to work out regardless of my energy (by consuming an energy drink prior to my work outs) you see when I say I have no energy, imagine how you feel after an intense crossfit work out and laying on the floor - that's what I'm talking about. So now imagine trying to do a work out with that amount of energy.

I'm just looking for support, since everyone has their own opinion of how I should eat (when I feel that Paleo/Primal is still the right eating lifestyle - I don't have refined sugars or processed foods, no breads or pastas - my only 'refined' product is my creamer in my morning coffee and now I'm using the Energy drink before the work outs). I understand energy drinks are not the best, but I'm desperate. Oh and also my thyroid was tested and I'm more on the hyper side, so my metabolism is high, it's the insulin I'm battling to keep myself going!

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 16, 2013
at 07:34 PM

My glucose levels were higher than normal, which is why they called me back to do the glucose tolerance test, but they didn't say anything about the HOMA model. I should be checking to see if what I am doing now is causing me problems, but I ran out of test strips a while ago. I got it under control with vlc and then got bored. I had been eating a tbsp or two of honey before bed and doctors stress me out. When I tested, I dropped the honey and also noticed alcohol caused a strong drop (probably followed by a spike when the effect wore off).

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 13, 2013
at 01:31 AM

Did they use the HOMA model to assess glucose resistance? That's the one that's based on your fasting insulin and fasting glucose. If so, then you have either high glucose or high insulin when fasting, which I don't think should happen with the VLC version of insulin resistance. August, do you know about this?

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 13, 2013
at 12:14 AM

I just wanted you to know I went and got lots of sweet potatoes and will try that! I can't have rice, for whatever reason it bothers my Ulcerative Colitis...

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 13, 2013
at 12:12 AM

I just got back and bought a bunch of sweet potatoes and I'm baking them all now. I can store in the fridge and reheat for each meal, I have plenty of fresh veggies from my parents gardens (squash, zucchini, green beans, and cucumbers). I also have Ulcerative Colitis, so rice is a no no (for some reason it really bothers me), but I love sweet potatoes!

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 12, 2013
at 08:15 PM

I agree with what you are saying about choosing one or the other-yes it's so hard to get out of my mindset at this point- I need to make serious adjustments! And to explain further: I didn't have the glucose gulp test. This was an advanced blood panel (but yes I did fast) due to my heart conditions - my Insulin level was 22 (anything above 15 is high), my Insulin Resistance was 5.0 (anything above 3 is high) and my Fibrinogen (this shows inflammation) was 374 (anything above 370 is high) plus my Cholesterols and other indicators; my Glucose was 91 and my HbA1c was 5.4 which are all 'good'.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 12, 2013
at 07:45 PM

thhq's got some good recommendations. I eat at least one sweet potato a day, if not two, along with occasional servings of fruit (though fruit isn't a great source for carbs b/c of its fructose content. I just like fruit) and you can also look at other starchy veggies like white potatoes (if you tolerate them), squash, or dairy if you tolerate it (I don't handle regular dairy well, but I can do cultured dairy like yogurt or kefir, which is also a great way to maintain your gut flora).

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 12, 2013
at 06:14 PM

Honestly, I would have to say, yes, I was eating VLC. My problem is I've been so consumed with eating healthy and staying Paleo - that I don't know 'what' to eat anymore when it comes to carbs, besides just eating veggies which never seem to have enough carbs...???

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4 Answers

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2
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 12, 2013
at 07:09 PM

I would recommend adding back in some carbs. Some in the Paleo community demonize carbohydrates, but they are not evil. Also, some people do not respond as well to VLC. it can have an affect on hormone production as well. I would not go back to pasta and breads, but things like rice, butternut squash, sweet potato, jicama, and fruit might do you some good. My word of caution is to not overload, but to have some carbs with every meal, especial the meal before and after a workout.

best answer

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 12, 2013
at 07:34 PM

Since you were eating VLC when you got tested, chances are you don't have an actual problem. Under low carb conditions the body becomes insulin resistant in order to reserve glucose for the brain. The rest of the body's tissues run on the ketones and fatty acids that are made when you are vlc. This is a transient, healthy response to low carb, rather than the unhealthy insulin resistance that occurs in the presence of a lot of carbs in the diet. Since the days of Atkins, the protocol was that you slowly increased your carb intake until you found the level that was right for you after you lost your weight. Instead, we go to the doctor and get 75g of pure glucose in one gulp, and think this is somehow relevant to what we do in real life.

Now, as to your previous problems, it sounds like you were burning too much energy while trying to not eat. Your body did not like this, so it shut you down. The appropriate thing to do is to eat more food. You can eat more fat. You could also eat more carbohydrate. I got into a similar situation because I lost a lot of weight, but on low carb I never felt very hungry. I just started feeling run down and tired. My body just put the breaks on my metabolism until I figured out I should eat more.

So, since you seem committed to Crossfit, eat some carbs post workout. Stay paleo, but you should find yourself thinking you are eating way too much, especially after all your practice with not eating. I think it is like 3xbodyweight, but maybe it is a little bit less if you aren't trying to gain muscle. Still, it is going to be a lot more than what you are used to.

You could try low carbing it, but that would require you add fat to everything, and pretty much give up Crossfit.

It is probably a good idea to get a glucometer and track your blood sugar for a while. Then you should be able to get an idea of what works for you.

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 12, 2013
at 08:15 PM

I agree with what you are saying about choosing one or the other-yes it's so hard to get out of my mindset at this point- I need to make serious adjustments! And to explain further: I didn't have the glucose gulp test. This was an advanced blood panel (but yes I did fast) due to my heart conditions - my Insulin level was 22 (anything above 15 is high), my Insulin Resistance was 5.0 (anything above 3 is high) and my Fibrinogen (this shows inflammation) was 374 (anything above 370 is high) plus my Cholesterols and other indicators; my Glucose was 91 and my HbA1c was 5.4 which are all 'good'.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on July 13, 2013
at 01:31 AM

Did they use the HOMA model to assess glucose resistance? That's the one that's based on your fasting insulin and fasting glucose. If so, then you have either high glucose or high insulin when fasting, which I don't think should happen with the VLC version of insulin resistance. August, do you know about this?

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 16, 2013
at 07:34 PM

My glucose levels were higher than normal, which is why they called me back to do the glucose tolerance test, but they didn't say anything about the HOMA model. I should be checking to see if what I am doing now is causing me problems, but I ran out of test strips a while ago. I got it under control with vlc and then got bored. I had been eating a tbsp or two of honey before bed and doctors stress me out. When I tested, I dropped the honey and also noticed alcohol caused a strong drop (probably followed by a spike when the effect wore off).

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 12, 2013
at 06:42 PM

I recommend eating rice and sweet potatoes over energy drinks and shakes. And in my experience it's best to metabolize the carbs close to the time they're eaten. Being hungry is not a bad thing.

Being active daily (walking 5-10 miles)and getting to a normal BMI helped most to get rid of my insulin resistance.

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 13, 2013
at 12:14 AM

I just wanted you to know I went and got lots of sweet potatoes and will try that! I can't have rice, for whatever reason it bothers my Ulcerative Colitis...

1
C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

on July 12, 2013
at 06:00 PM

Dawn, I can't say that I've been in your situation, but I can try and offer some thoughts. One question though: you say that this past May you had bloodwork done that revealed that you are insulin resistant. Were you eating a very low-carb diet up to this point (<%10 of your calories from carbs, or nearabout there)? VLC diets have been known to induce insulin resistance in otherwise healthy individuals in order to ensure that your body maintains enough free glucose to run your brain. It's possible that adding MORE carbs to your diet may actually end up helping your insulin resistance. But, definitely something that will require some more research.

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 12, 2013
at 06:14 PM

Honestly, I would have to say, yes, I was eating VLC. My problem is I've been so consumed with eating healthy and staying Paleo - that I don't know 'what' to eat anymore when it comes to carbs, besides just eating veggies which never seem to have enough carbs...???

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on July 12, 2013
at 07:45 PM

thhq's got some good recommendations. I eat at least one sweet potato a day, if not two, along with occasional servings of fruit (though fruit isn't a great source for carbs b/c of its fructose content. I just like fruit) and you can also look at other starchy veggies like white potatoes (if you tolerate them), squash, or dairy if you tolerate it (I don't handle regular dairy well, but I can do cultured dairy like yogurt or kefir, which is also a great way to maintain your gut flora).

69d68d51d535fa6ac70ae23f6d59123f

(5)

on July 13, 2013
at 12:12 AM

I just got back and bought a bunch of sweet potatoes and I'm baking them all now. I can store in the fridge and reheat for each meal, I have plenty of fresh veggies from my parents gardens (squash, zucchini, green beans, and cucumbers). I also have Ulcerative Colitis, so rice is a no no (for some reason it really bothers me), but I love sweet potatoes!

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