Weight Loss Labs: Focus on Fasting Insulin
FAQ: Help! I’ve been doing low-carb/high-fat (LCHF) and Intermittent Fasting (IF) for 3 months. I feel better, my skin looks GREAT, my glucose and HbA1c (blood sugar) are down, but I’m still not losing much weight! What gives?
ANSWER: Great question–and a common one! Don’t give up on the new healthy lifestyle changes your doctor has recommended just yet! Your new routine is working better than you think.
There are several lab tests your provider may order to diagnose insulin resistance and determine the root cause of weight loss resistance and other diseases caused by high insulin.
Fasting glucose tells your provider the level of sugar in your bloodstream at the moment you had your labs drawn. It can take hours or days to lower this number.
Another is the Hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test–it tells your doctor what your average blood sugar has been over the last 3 months, so it takes about 3 months of LCHF + IF to fall.
But a critical test that is rarely ordered is called the fasting insulin test. This tells your doctor if you have too much of the fat storage hormone, insulin (discussed in my previous blog post) circulating in your body. Too much is inflammatory, increases the risk of heart disease, and makes weight loss seem impossible.1
While our glucose can change in days and HbA1c can change in months, it can take a year (or more) of consistent LCHF/IF to lower fasting insulin levels back to the optimal rage–and this is when we finally see an acceleration in weight loss and more significant improvements in underlying health. Dr. Mark Hyman recommends keeping fasting insulin between 2-5 for optimal health. Normal lab ranges can be much higher, but normal does not necessarily mean *optimal* for good health or weight. Functional Medicine focuses on optimal ranges.
When fasting insulin levels are optimized, weight loss becomes easier–and here is the great news. Studies show that minimizing insulin spikes by limiting carbs and meal frequency can
allow us to lose weight…without limiting calories.2 You mean I don’t have to starve myself?? No, you don’t. Adopting this way of eating long-term eventually returns our fasting insulin to more optimal levels. But not if we give up too soon! If we can stick with it, we will be rewarded with lower inflammation, glowing skin, more energy, and reduced risk of chronic disease. And yes, we will finally lose weight because our bodies are no longer being instructed by excess insulin to hang on to every pound for dear life.
LCHF/IF is a sustainable, long-term way of eating for optimal health, cardiometabolic disease prevention, and for reaching/maintaining a healthy weight. We don’t have to go hungry. This is simply a shift in *which* foods we’re eating and when.
Want more support on your health journey with a personalized functional lab analysis or more information about our in-house Semaglutide weight loss program? We’re here for you! Give us a call at Saving Face - Body & Mind to set up a free consultation.
**Functional health coaching does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your primary
care provider before making changes to medications, supplements, diet, or lifestyle**
1 See “Why We Get Sick,” by Benjamin Bikman
2 Low carb/no calorie restriction female diet participants lost more than twice as much weight as the low-
fat calorie restricted cohort https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/88/4/1617/2845298
Study participanst on low-carb/no calorie restrictions diet lost more weight had healthier lipid panels than
low fat/calorie restricted cohotr https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15148063/