Was I born insulin resistant?

by (50) Updated November 25, 2011 at 11:50 PM Created August 08, 2011 at 12:18 PM

I was born in 1962 in the UK. We ate normal healthy food - meat & home grown veg (but also homemade cakes!). I was the only fat person in a slim family. I was the fat kid at school (in the 60s and 70s when child obesity didn't exist). I feel as though I have been on a diet my entire life. I have at times been extremely fat. I eventually developed intollerance to dairy and wheat and having cut these out of my diet I am able to remain relatively slim. I am now a paleo convert and have found it's the best way to feel normal but my carb intake must be really quite low now and I don't think I've lost any weight - I could do with loosing some. But at least I don't think I'm gaining weight. Was I born insulin resistant - is that possible? What more can I do? I still crave food - though less than previously.

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4 Replies

20762 · August 08, 2011 at 5:03 PM

I wrote this post a long time ago about insulin resistance: https://sites.google.com/site/themikelinks/home/what-s-up-with-insulin-resistance

It's totally possible to be born insulin resistant, or at least in a hyperinsulinemic state which will quickly develop into insulin resistance. Check out the last paragraph in that post, it could likely apply to you.

13680 · August 08, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Welcome to the community!!! I think this is an excellent question. My answer is to a more general topic of metabolic derangement and not specifically insulin resistance.

Obviously we are not going to be able to answer this question specifically for you, but with all of the recent discussions on epigenetics and the like, the influence of what your mother, grandmother etc ate along with other factors clearly will have a profound influence on your fate. We do not completely understand the mechanisms yet (that I am aware of) but this is a very exciting area undergoing development. I have just picked up Cate Shanahan's book (Deep Nutrition) and looking forward to reading it since this is a topic discussed in the book.

When people say they have to be (very) low carb to become and stay lean, I believe them. I do not believe however that carbohydrate intake is the CAUSE of weight issues. Once you have some type of metabolic derangement, then perhaps carbohydrate restriction is necessary to control/remediate. But causation vs remediation are frequently confused here. The question then - was this derangement caused in your lifetime or inherited from your parents?

My n=1 is as follows -

I have been overweight my whole life but not morbidly obese (for example I started this year approx 25-30 lbs overweight). My father and brother have always been very lean in spite of poor diet, but I have not been so lucky. My mother is a "normal" weight (maybe 5-8 lbs overweight), but only through self-discipline and some other health issues that force her to eat fairly well. Her family has a history of obesity and I think that has made its way to me (why couldn't it be my brother instead!!!).

Since going moderate/high carb Paleo this year, I've dropped 15-20 lbs. I have another 10-15 to go. I have not focused on macronutrient restriction but toxin restriction - minimal gluten, no vegetable oils, minimal fructose, no soy. I would say my carb intake is lower than before since gluten elimination cannot help but be correlated with carb reduction, but I would still estimate I am well over 150g of carbs (don't know since I refuse to count).

The point is that for me, even though I have been overweight since childhood, I seem to have found results without going ZC/VLC. Does that mean I believe my approach will work for everyone? NO! There is no doubt in my mind that the metabolic derangement passed onto me in combination with my toxic childhood diet after birth is individualized. So I could have simply written - YMMV :-)

Good luck!

2630 · August 08, 2011 at 1:12 PM

I certainly believe I was born insulin resistant as my mother thought she was eating "healthy" in the 1970s by consuming lots of carbs and little meat (bagels and fruit juices and diet sodas, etc.) - basically everything I now know I must avoid to keep my blood sugar down. I was a short, fat kid (who grew into a short, fat adult) while my older sister has always been slim and tall. When my sister was born my mom was still quite thin, only packing on the weight during her pregnancy (which she never was to lose again).

I'm not sure if you've seen the research but there is evidence that a mother's diet most certainly affects the health of her babies through epigenetic changes. Why Poor Diet During Pregnancy Negatively Affects Offspring's Long-Term Health. Hopefully this sheds some light on your question.

80 · November 25, 2011 at 11:50 PM

I echo Aravind in that it will not be possible to understand your insulin resistance without working you up extensively. However, it is very clear there is a lot of variation in "endogenous" insulin resistance.

Check out this article where kids of Indian origin are insulin resistant at early ages, despite not being visibly fat (skinny fat in our terms?!).


South Asian children are more insulin resistant than white children BMJ 2002; 324 doi: 10.1136/bmj.324.7338.0 (Published 16 March 2002)

Again, hard for us to say anything about you. If we could say you were insulin resistant from the get-go, how would it affect your actions?



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