Have you ever had the experience of wanting less food on days that you exercise? If so, then you may be experiencing one of the many known effects of insulin resistance syndrome, which left untreated will eventually lead to diabetes.
At first glance, it makes no sense. Shouldn't you want more food after burning up extra calories? But once you understand how exercise influences your body's use of its blood sugar, then this experience is perfectly reasonable. Moreover, repeating it regularly can make for quick and easy weight loss.
Let's cover the basics of insulin resistance first. Insulin is the hormone responsible for opening up our cells to take in energy for use during the day. Sugar and fat are the energy sources our cells use.
After we eat a meal, foods are broken down into sugars and fats and absorbed into the bloodstream. This raises our blood sugar and circulating free fatty acids, which we won't cover in this article. When the pancreas senses increased blood sugar, it releases insulin into the bloodstream.
Ideally, the insulin quickly unlocks the cells, the sugars enter the bloodstream, and the whole process is over and done with within an hour or two. However, the cells become less able to take up insulin due to a number of circumstances, including aging, lack of physical activity, becoming overweight, and eating too many high sugar foods.
When this happens, it is necessary for the pancreas to secrete more insulin, as having high blood sugar in the bloodstream is highly damaging to the body over the long-term. (Diabetes is the condition of having high blood sugar, and it can be thought of as a disease which causes the aging rate to double in sufferers, dramatically shortening lifespan due to complications like heart attacks.)
As this process continues over the years, the insulin resistance syndrome worsens, and the day-to-day effect of this becomes evident to the sufferer as wild swings in blood sugar lead to a roller coaster effect on energy and hunger, as well.
It has been proven that low-blood sugar causes cravings for high-sugar snacks, because the body senses a need for quick energy. High sugar treats, such as candy bars, break down in to energy faster than other foods, and this gives you the sensation of feeling better, even if the effect lasts just a short-time.
Regular exercise has been shown to interrupt this process of blood sugar swings by helping us to regulate our blood sugar better. How does this happen? Researchers are unsure about the exact way that exercise has this effect, even though they know for sure that it does. Using what we now know about it, though, we can make an educated guess that makes perfect sense.
When we exercise, our body senses an immediate need for energy. The body is great at distributing resources to the places where they are needed. So when we exercise, all of the sudden the insulin starts to work better at getting the energy into our cells.
This means that less insulin is needed, and when less insulin is needed, there swings in our blood sugar are less severe throughout the day. And when the blood sugar swings are lessened, so is our appetite. Thus, for someone with insulin resistance, exercise can actually cause him or her to want to eat less.
Researchers have found that as little as one workout can have this effect on our blood sugar. But the effect is enhanced when the exercise is done regularly, both many times per week and at the same time of the day. It becomes part of our daily rhythm. And when the body expects to need the energy even before it actually needs it, it will react by pre-positioning the energy in the cells that are going to be using it when the workout commences. Thus, insulin sensitivity is increased, and the march towards diabetes is reversed.
One warning is necessary, however. The exercise must be done a certain way so as to avoid burning up too many sugar calories. Given what we know about blood sugar, it is easy to understand why. If too much sugar is removed from the bloodstream through highly intense exercises, then the swings in blood sugar and energy will continue instead of decline.
Researchers have found that exercising in the aerobic fat-burning zone, like the zone recommended in the HRH Program e-book, is the best for decreasing insulin resistance and preventing diabetes.
Craig D. Wilcox is the author of The Heart Rate Health Program, which could help people suffering insulin resistance and diabetes to ease their symptoms. Information about the Heart Rate Health Program can be found at http://www.heartratehealth.com He also maintains the sites http://www.hrh-for-depression.com and http://www.hrhprogram.com.