Insulin resistance occurs when excess glucose in the blood reduces the ability of the cells to absorb and use blood sugar for energy.

Dr. Jason Fung, a Canadian nephrologist, is the expert on insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. He states plainly that insulin resistance is caused by too much glucose and too much insulin. He says, “Understanding this new paradigm will lead to the answer of how insulin resistance develops and what we can do about it. The problem does not lie with either insulin or the insulin receptor. Both are normal. The problem is that the cell is completely stuffed full of glucose. It’s a matter of too much glucose and too much insulin, and it is the insulin itself that caused the insulin resistance. We don’t need to chase shadows looking for some mysterious cause of insulin resistance. Once we understand that excessive glucose and excessive insulin causes insulin resistance, then we can now devise a rational treatment. Reduce insulin and reduce glucose. Once you reverse the insulin resistance, you cure the type 2 diabetes.”1 Dr. Fung uses the word “cure” while we prefer to call it “remission,” since the “cure” is not permanent. You have to keep eating that same way that “cured” your diabetes, or the diabetes will come back with a vengeance!

You can have a normal blood sugar and still be insulin resistant. Dr. Fung said, “There are many different manifestations of insulin resistance, only one of which is elevated HbA1c. I prefer to call these manifestations of ‘hyperinsulinemia’ instead of insulin resistance.”2

“In a person with pre-diabetes, the pancreas works increasingly hard to release enough insulin to overcome the body’s resistance and keep blood sugar levels down. Over time, the pancreas’ ability to release insulin begins to decrease, which leads to the development of type 2 diabetes.”3

“Long before a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or diabetes, high insulin levels and subsequent insulin resistance has likely been going on for many years. There are lots of things that can contribute to insulin resistance, many of them having to do with our lifestyle (poor diet, being sedentary, poor sleep habits, excessive stress). But the biggest culprit by far is one we can do something about [stop eating sugar!]. People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot transport sugar into cells, where it can be safely stored for energy.”4

“Emerging evidence shows that insulin resistance is the most important predictor of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”5 One may be insulin resistant for many years before being diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Insulin resistance (caused by hyperinsulinemia) is thought to be responsible for a variety of manifestations, from skin tags to diabetes. “Acrocordons (skin tags) represent the most common fibroepithelial skin tumors; they are acquired benign polyps that appear in the natural folds of the skin, such as the cervical, axillary, inguinal, crural, perineal, inframammary regions, the eyelids, and the intergluteal fold…. The presence of multiple acrocordons was associated with insulin resistance, regardless of the other risk factors.”6 In my own experience, I had had skin tags, especially on my neck and shoulders, for many years before anyone ever diagnosed me with diabetes. I even had them “frozen off” once in an outpatient medical treatment procedure, but they eventually came back. Then I started using a tea tree oil treatment on my skin tags at about the same time that I began eating low-carb. After several weeks, all the skin tags had “magically” melted off! And they have not come back as long as I continue to eat low-carb.

In her article, “It’s Insulin Resistance, not cholesterol, that causes most degenerative diseases,”7 Riva Greenberg further says, “It is important to lower high blood sugar, but what’s needed is to work on reducing insulin resistance: address the cause. This can only be done by eating [fewer] carbs, so less insulin is needed.”

Insulin resistance can be reversed by anyone willing to make deliberate lifestyle changes involving eating low-carb and exercising daily. Dr. Mark Hyman says, Diabetes and pre-diabetes are reversible by aggressively changing lifestyle, nutritional support, and occasionally medications.”8

Exercise experts recommend incorporating HIIT (high-intensity interval training) into one’s exercise regimen, even walking! “If you have type 2 diabetes, exercise is absolutely essential for treating and beating the condition altogether.”9

Kelley Pounds, RN, relates her own experience. “How can you reverse insulin resistance? Adopting a diet low in carbohydrates will help to stop the vicious cycle of blood sugar spikes, insulin response, and fat storage, all leading to insulin resistance….

“Let me say that, personally, I consume no more than 50g of [total] carbs per day. Often, I aim for 30g per day, reserving any more than that for a special occasion. I have done this for nearly eight years. (So if the 130g rule was true, I’d be brain dead by now…lol!). In addition, I focus on the quality of the carbohydrates I consume, obtaining these mostly from non-starchy vegetables, nuts, dairy, and small amounts of low-sugar fruits. This allowed me to completely reverse my diabetes, going from an A1C of 6.3% to 5.0% without taking any medications. In addition, it caused a weight loss of 80 pounds As a side benefit, it also reversed my high blood pressure, completely normalized my cholesterol levels, rid me of a 20+ year history of reflux, and significantly improved my mood and sleep habits.”10

Many experts also recommend magnesium supplements, as most diabetics are deficient in magnesium. “Magnesium improves and helps correct insulin sensitivity, which is the fundamental defect that characterizes pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even full-blown diabetes and heart disease. An intracellular enzyme called tyrosine kinase requires magnesium to allow insulin to exert its blood-sugar-lowering effects. In several studies, daily oral magnesium supplementation substantially improved insulin sensitivity by 10% and reduced blood sugar by 37%.”11


1Fung, Dr. Jason. “A new paradigm of insulin resistance,” Diet Doctor (June 9, 2016). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

2Akesson, Amanda; medical review by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD. Answer from Dr. Jason Fung. “Can you have a normal blood sugar and still be insulin resistant?” Diet Doctor (November 5, 2017). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

3Felman, Adam; medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, RN, CRNA. “What to know about insulin resistance,” Medical News Today (March 26, 2019).  (accessed on 7/31/2020).

4Pounds, Kelley, RN. “Insulin Resistance,” Low Carb RN (CDE), n.d. (accessed on 7/31/2020).

5Demasi, Maryanne; Robert H. Lustig; and Aseem Malhotra. “The cholesterol and calorie hypotheses are both dead — it is time to focus on the real culprit: insulin resistance,” Pharmaceutical Journal (July 14, 2017). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

6Tamega, Andréia de Almeida, et. al. “Association between skin tags and insulin resistance,” SciELO, Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, Print version  ISSN 0365-0596, An. Bras. Dermatol. vol.85 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Feb. 2010. (accessed on 7/31/2020).

7Greenberg, Riva. “It’s Insulin Resistance, not cholesterol, that causes most degenerative diseases,” Diabetes Stories (January 17, 2019). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

8Hyman, Mark, MD. “Are Diabetes and Insulin Resistance Reversible? The Facts,” Dr. Hyman (May 20, 2010). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

9“HIIT for Beating Insulin Resistance,” Exercise Right (May 26, 2020). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

10Pounds, Kelley, RN. “Type 2 Diabetes,” Low Carb RN (CDE), n.d. (accessed on 7/31/2020).

11Sircus, Dr. Mark, Ac, OMD, DM. “Reversing Insulin Resistance – The Insulin Magnesium Story,” DrSircus (Dec 8, 2009). (accessed on 7/31/2020).

Additional References

Insulin is made in the beta cells of the pancreas and is released into the blood stream in response to food. It assures these nutrients get into the cell. Insulin’s primary job is to make sure the cells have enough glucose, and therefore it has a strong impact on blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when the body does not have the insulin signaling it should. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin, while type 2 is caused by chronically high levels. Too much insulin causes insulin resistance.

The Science of Insulin

Understanding Our Bodies: Insulin

Insulin: Its Crucial Role in Chronic Illness – Ron Rosedale. Part 1 of 2

Insulin: Its Crucial Role in Chronic Illness – Ron Rosedale. Part 2 of 2

Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects

Insulin – Friend or Foe?



Blood Sugar vs Insulin: what’s the difference? [25:04]
This video is about the difference between blood sugar and insulin. There is a fairly common misconception that insulin and blood sugar are basically the same thing. Many believe if blood sugar is low, insulin will be low, but that is not always the case. In fact, insulin and blood sugar are often very different and this fact goes to the very heart of the obesity problem and the heart of the type 2 diabetes problem. You need to understand this concept and more importantly, you need to know that while insulin doesn’t always track with blood sugar, it does track with body fat. This video tells you how to test for insulin, where you can buy a test, and what you can do to set your mind at ease, if you can’t afford a test right now.


Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance does NOT come about by using SMALL amounts of insulin to compensate for a deficiency. Insulin resistance comes about from using LARGE amounts of insulin to “cover” poor lifestyle choices.

Understanding Insulin Resistance and What You Can Do About It – Video (11 min.)

How to Reverse Insulin Resistance

Insulin and Insulin Resistance – The Ultimate Guide

Insulin Resistance: The Real Culprit
Insulin resistance is the basis of all of the chronic diseases of aging.

I’ve Started Insulin and I’m Gaining Weight! Help!

The Amateur’s Guide to Insulin Resistance

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

What Causes Insulin Resistance? Part I>


What is the evidence that insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and in metabolic syndrome is NOT caused by hyperinsulinemia?

Cannabis: The Future of Preventing Insulin Resistance

Cortisol Resistance & Insulin Resistance: Explained!

How to Diagnose, Prevent and Treat Insulin Resistance

A New Paradigm of Insulin Resistance

Insulin Resistance is Good? – T2D 7

Insulin resistance protects against…insulin!

Association between skin tags and insulin resistance

The cholesterol and calorie hypotheses are both dead — it is time to focus on the real culprit: insulin resistance


“Can you have a normal blood sugar and still be insulin resistant?”


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