Should we worry about insulin resistance? Part 1

Ayda Page
3 min readFeb 25, 2024

Why Insulin Resistance Matters

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only 12% of adults are metabolically healthy. Another recent survey shows that the number is actually decreasing and as little as 6.8% can really be categorized as healthy. These numbers are very scary and show that we are not getting healthier.

To be metabolically healthy means that your blood markers are in a normal range, based on your age and gender, and you not taking regular medications, especially life long medication. Sadly, when we think about it, these numbers do look pretty accurate. Insulin resistance is directly related to metabolic health, so it is becoming increasingly important to able to understand and know what we can do to prevent or even completely reverse it.

Essentially, insulin resistance (IR) is a metabolic disorder in which the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. IR is a very high risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even certain types of cancer, so understanding why insulin resistance matters is crucial for health. The most important thing we need to be aware of it, however, is that it comes on very slowly and can take a years or even decades to fully develop into IR.

IR develops when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver do not respond well to insulin and are not able to easily take up glucose from the blood. The pancreas then compensates for the reduced efficacy of insulin by producing more of it to help the glucose enter your cells. If the pancreas is able to make enough insulin to overcome your cell’s poor response to insulin, blood glucose levels will stay in a healthy range. So IR develops first in the liver, then muscles and then fat cells. During these stages the individual is likely to have normal or just slightly elevated blood glucose levels, however over time this compensation mechanism can fail, leading to elevated blood sugar levels and eventually diabetes. Therefore early detection and management of IR is critically important.

IR can also lead to increased weight gain by altering the way the body processes and stores fat. Cardiovascular health is another area in which IR has a significant impact, including in high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal fat. Together, these factors increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading global causes of death.

Emerging research also suggests a link between IR and the risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer. Additionally, IR is associated with chronic inflammation, another risk factor for cancer. And IR can even have profound effects on mental health, with studies showing associations between IR and an increased risk of conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, insulin resistance matters because it is a significant factor in the development of diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. Its impact on metabolic, cardiovascular, mental health and more underscores the need for increased awareness, early detection, and effective management strategies. By addressing insulin resistance we can significantly improve our quality of life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The most effective ways to prevent and/or reverse becoming insulin resistant include following low carbohydrate diet and regular exercise, specially resistance training.

In the next article I will go deeper with explanations about some of the health conditions and practical actions that we can take to help prevent them. You will be surprised when you hear actually how big an affect this can have on your health.


Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999–2018”.

PubMed, National Library of Medicine. “Trends and Disparities in Cardiometabolic Health Among U.S. Adults, 1999–2018”.

The University of North Carolina. “Only 12 percent of American adults are metabolically healthy, Carolina study finds”.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. “Insulin Resistance & Prediabetes”.

Stanford Medicine. “Insulin resistance doubles risk of major depressive disorder, Stanford study finds”.



Ayda Page

Check my website for lots more articles as well as my full story and bio :)