3 Ways Insulin is Making you Tired, Moody & Gaining Weight

Your glucose levels can be A-OK while your insulin levels are not

You know how important healthy glucose levels are for reducing the risk of diabetes. But did you know that even if your glucose levels look normal on your lab tests, you could still be at risk for diabetes, fatigue, mood swings, and those pesky extra pounds?

How does this happen?

Blood glucose levels can be a bit like a rollercoaster, going up and down in the blink of an eye. While your Hemoglobin A1c provides a helpful 3-month average of your blood glucose, it might not pick up on those wild fluctuations that can seriously affect your nerve health, mood, energy levels, and even your weight.

Plus, here's the kicker: your glucose levels can be A-OK while your insulin levels are not. You see, insulin is like the key that unlocks cells and allows glucose and protein to enter which lowers blood glucose back to normal levels. Insulin also signals your body to store fuel (like fat) for later. So when we stress our system with the demands of modern life, we end up with excessive insulin activity, leading to energy issues, mood swings, and weight gain over time.

Here’s how your insulin is making you tired, moody and gain weight:

Eating too frequently Every time you have a meal or snack, your blood glucose spikes, and insulin follows suit. To maintain a healthy balance, we need insulin levels to rise and fall. However, frequent snacking can keep insulin levels high which makes you store more and more fuel as fat. Constantly high insulin levels also traps your fuel in your fat tissue even when your blood glucose is falling so you can also feel tired and hungry 2-3 hours after eating - which makes you crave even more snacks! Ahh, it's a vicious cycle!

High-sugar and high-carb meals cause a rapid rise in blood glucose and, in turn, an excessive insulin response. This is why you might feel sleepy after that big pancake brunch or Thanksgiving dinner. These fluctuations can really impact your mood and even mess with your gut health.

Sluggish Liver Slow clearance of insulin means higher insulin activity in the body. Higher insulin activity means more fat storage in your liver. And a fatty liver slows down insulin clearance causing even higher insulin activity! Another vicious cycle?? Unsurprisingly stress (high cortisol levels) makes all of this even worse.

But here's the good news! There are steps you can take to balance your insulin levels and feel more fabulous:

1. **Replace sugar/carbs with protein** Protein stabilizes your blood glucose levels and minimizes the insulin response. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast can do wonders for your energy and mood. How much protein? Start with 1g of protein per kg of body weight per day (and divide that by the number of meals per day). For most people that means, about 20-30g of protein at breakfast. Here are some high-protein breakfast options.

2. **Say no to snacking** Give your body a chance to let insulin levels drop by eating just two or three meals a day. Eventually you’ll enjoy more consistent energy, less hunger and cravings and may even notice less headaches & migraines.

3. **Know your numbers! (Lab testing)** In addition to glucose tests, measuring insulin levels can provide valuable clarity on your personal insulin response and how to tailor your lifestyle to your needs. However, compared to glucose, insulin is rarely tested. Make sure your practitioner is familiar with which insulin test to order and how to interpret it for optimal glucose

4. **Time your meals**  Eat all your calories within a 12-hour (or shorter) daytime window, based on your glucose and insulin levels. Your eating window starts when you take your first bite/sip of calories in the morning after waking up and ends after the last bite/sip of food before bed. Intermittent fasting, usually referring to an 8-hour eating window (and 16-hour overnight fast) is a popular approach. Make all changes gradually while monitoring your symptoms and lab values.

Life can be hectic, and glucose levels can be all over the place - it's amazing how insulin levels adapt to what you need in the moment. But too much insulin over time can lead to issues with energy, mood, and weight. By making these simple changes, you can help your body find its balance and live a healthier, happier life. You've got this!

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy policy for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.