Fourteen Insulin Resistance Treatments: Are They Making Things Worse?

In this video, Dr. Sten Ekberg explores the topic of insulin resistance and its treatments. He highlights that understanding the mechanisms of insulin resistance and the treatment options is crucial to avoid worsening the condition. The mainstream view of insulin resistance as cells randomly resisting or ignoring insulin is flawed. Dr. Ekberg emphasizes that the body is intelligent and everything it does has a purpose. Current treatments, whether synthetic or natural, focus on increasing insulin or insulin sensitivity, which ultimately worsens insulin resistance. He suggests that the only effective approach is to reduce the intake of sugar and starches, promoting a low-carb or ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting to restore insulin sensitivity and balance.

Author Icon

Our Summaries are written by our own AI Infrastructure, to save you time on your Health Journey!

How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • Insulin resistance is a major issue that can lead to diabetes and various complications.
  • The current understanding of insulin resistance is flawed, as it assumes the body is randomly resisting insulin.
  • The body is intelligent and resists insulin when the cells are already full of glucose.
  • The main goal of insulin resistance treatment is to reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Major treatments for insulin resistance involve increasing insulin sensitivity or forcing more glucose into the cells.
  • These treatments only exacerbate insulin resistance and contribute to weight gain.
  • The right approach to treating insulin resistance is to reduce carbohydrate intake and stimulate the body to burn stored fat.
  • Natural remedies such as green tea, cinnamon, and chromium can help improve insulin sensitivity, but they don’t address the root cause.
  • Understanding insulin resistance and finding balance between storing and burning fuel is crucial for improving health.


Fourteen insulin resistance treatments that could make things worse if we don’t understand the mechanisms and what insulin resistance is and what the treatment does. Then the treatment could actually make things worse. It can make it harder to lose weight, it could make us more insulin resistant, and it could promote metabolic syndrome leading to all the complications of cardiovascular disease and stroke and so forth. Today, we’re going to explore these topics so that you understand it and you can decide what’s right for you.

Insulin resistance is a big deal. The majority of the population is insulin resistant, and if we don’t understand it and it progresses, it can or will lead to diabetes which is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and a host of other problems. So the authorities are becoming more responsive, more aware of this, and they’re promoting campaigns to get people to get tested so that they can get the proper treatment. But what is proper treatment? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, body fat, and liver start resisting or ignoring the signal that the hormone insulin is trying to send out. The purpose of insulin is to help the sugar from the bloodstream into the cell. Here’s some interesting words: „start resisting or ignoring.“ That sounds awfully random. So now we need to decide and try to understand: Is the body smart or stupid? Is it random or on purpose? Does it do things for some reason or for no reason? When we say „start resisting or ignoring,“ that sounds kind of willy-nilly. It sounds like the cells are just having a bad day and don’t feel like dealing with insulin today. But nothing could be further from the truth because the body is incredibly intelligent. It is supremely intelligent. It has infinite intelligence built-in. It processes a billion bits of information every second to try to orchestrate and regulate and figure out exactly how to guide every little process to its optimum in the body. There’s nothing random about it, and that’s the first thing that we have to understand.

Glucose, also known as blood sugar, is the body’s main source of fuel. For those of you who have studied a little bit of low carb and keto, you know that the main source of fuel is fat. You can live really well on 75-80% fat, than on majority carbohydrates. But if you don’t know that, if you believe that glucose is the main source of fuel, now we have trouble because if you can’t live on anything else, how do you get rid of it? We get glucose from grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and drinks that break down into carbohydrates. So again, if we think that’s the main source of fuel, now we think that grains, fruits, dairy, and sweet drinks are a necessity just because that’s what humans have had in abundance for a few generations. We think that’s normal, but again, that’s a fallacy, it’s a myth, it’s a misconception.

Then it goes on to answer how insulin resistance develops: while genetics, aging, and ethnicity play a role, the driving forces behind insulin resistance include excess body weight, too much belly fat, lack of exercise, smoking, and even skimping on sleep. No mention of food, no mention of carbohydrates; no mention of anything that would raise blood sugar. Here’s where the problem is: it’s such a total disconnect between the mechanisms and the expression of the problem.

So let’s just look real quick at the mechanisms of how these things work together. First, we eat something. We digest the food. It ends up in the bloodstream, and we increase our blood glucose. The food turns into blood glucose. Then the insulin is there to help the glucose into the cell, and now the cell has a few different options: it can use some of that fuel or it can store some of that fuel. It can store a little bit as glycogen, that’s a carbohydrate form of storage, and when those stores are full because they’re very, very tiny in comparison, then the rest gets converted to fat and stored as fat. So insulin is a fat-storing hormone, it’s a storage hormone in general, but the end result, the main thing it stores, is fat because that’s the body’s main currency of long-term energy storage. So the key factors in how much insulin is made and how much storage motion, how much force is in the storage of this, is the amount of carbs. Carbs drive more insulin, carbs stimulate more insulin, and it is the frequency with which we eat the food. So, if you eat a lot of carbs and you eat them frequently, now you’re gonna have a lot of insulin very often to tell that cell to store because anything it can’t use in the moment, it’s going to store. And then when the cell is full, when it can’t store anymore, it says, „I don’t want any. I’m developing insulin resistance.“ When we think that the cell just randomly ignores the signal, then we’re not thinking things through. We have to understand that if the cell says no, I don’t want anymore, if it starts ignoring, if it starts resisting insulin, there’s a reason. The reason is that the cell is full. We have filled it too much.

The more carbs we eat and the more often we eat, the more blood sugar we develop, the more insulin we develop, the more insulin resistance we develop. So now we need to think back a little bit and just ask ourselves: if blood sugar is high, which is the problem according to medicine, then how do we reduce blood sugar? And there are only four ways. Once the sugar is in the blood or in general as far as having a certain amount of sugar in the blood, there’s only four ways to reduce that amount of sugar. One is to cram the sugar from the bloodstream into the cell. That’s what insulin does. The more insulin, we can always give it so much insulin that it just jam-packs that cell. So we can cram the sugar into the cell. That’s one way of getting it out of the bloodstream. Second, we can convert it into something else. That’s what also happens when our triglycerides go up. It’s because the sugar is getting higher, but the cells don’t want it, so now the liver converts it into something else. It turns the sugar into triglycerides. The third way is that the blood sugar goes so high that the kidneys can’t reabsorb it anymore, so it starts spilling out into the urine. So we can pee out the sugar. And the fourth way to not have so much sugar in the blood is the most obvious, a kid could tell you, and yet millions and millions of people miss it. Are you ready? Don’t put so much sugar in! It sounds too simple, but if we believe that glucose is our main fuel and we have to have grains and sweet drinks to survive, then we have a problem. But it is the best possibility, the best option. Don’t put so much in.

So now let’s start looking at the treatments. What do people receive for treatment? The first option is called metformin. Metformin is the first-line treatment, the first choice, for type 2 diabetics who are unable to control their sugars through diet and exercise alone. That’s the where they mention diet. That’s the first time diet comes in. But what’s a normal diet? What diet are they trying to use to control their blood sugar? They’re trying to control it with 300 grams of carbohydrate every day, half or more of which is sugar. So of course, it’s not going to work because they tell them to eat most of their food as carbohydrate and they tell them to eat three meals plus snacks. So there’s no possible way to control it by diet if you think that’s an appropriate diet. And then I read at e-medicine what the goal for this therapy is, the pharmacotherapy for insulin resistance and for high blood sugar. The goal is to reduce morbidity (that means sickness, that means symptoms and problems). They want to reduce symptoms and problems, and they want to reduce complications associated with high blood sugars. And they say, „Large quantities of insulin are used to overcome insulin resistance.“ So what do they mean by that? When they say, „Overcome insulin resistance,“ are they trying to reverse insulin resistance, to make the cell become more balanced and more sensitive? Or are they trying to overcome it by cramming the cell full of more sugar by increasing the insulin to get it out of the bloodstream and into the cell and making the problem worse? The overcome, in this sense, is all focused on blood sugar. It’s not actually reversing or overcoming insulin resistance. It’s only overcoming, it’s tricking or forcing the cell to accept the glucose even though it doesn’t want any. And again, if you think the body is random or stupid, that might seem like a brilliant thing to do. If the cell is just randomly resisting insulin, then hey, let’s step in and fix it. Let’s just help this stupid cell along to do what it’s supposed to do. But if we understand the body is intelligent, now this becomes the worst possible solution because the cell is saying, „Hey, I don’t want it,“ and we’re just tricking or forcing it to accept more.

And then they say, „Treatment should be aimed at restoring normal insulin sensitivity and secretion.“ So we’re going to come back just a little bit, but first, let’s look at the mechanisms of all these drugs. So like we said, the first drug of choice is metformin, and what does it do? It increases insulin sensitivity. It acts on the insulin receptor and makes it more open, more permeable. It tricks or guides or persuades that receptor to accept more glucose. It has insulin have a stronger effect than it would have without that drug. The other thing that metformin does, and this is maybe the only thing that we can really argue for, is it reduces the gluconeogenesis of the liver. So it hinders it, prevents it, tells the liver to not make any more sugar, don’t develop more blood glucose from the stores. If you have some glycogen or some other tissues where you could pull glucose from, then hold off on that. So in that sense, it is the only thing that is trying to control blood glucose without forcing it into the cell. But anytime you try to interfere, once you try to keep the liver from doing something, then we have to ask ourselves how healthy is it to try and prevent the liver from doing what it thinks is right?

The second thing is pure insulin, that’s just what people inject, and I’ll call that crammed. The first mechanism is to trick the cells into accepting it, and the second mechanism is insulin, which is to cram more of this glucose into the cell against its will. And the third drug on the list is called Bydureon, and it’s in a class called glp-1. And what they do is they trick another kind of receptor into helping the pancreas make more insulin. And that’s the third mechanism. So the first one is to trick the receptor into letting more in, the second one is to use insulin to force the glucose into the cell, and the third one is just to make more insulin. So that feeds back into cram. And this is all there is.

So I looked up a list that said top eight breakthrough diabetes treatments you may have missed. So I looked at the eighth treatments, and I listed those, and that’s from three to ten here, and they’re all they have different names. And so this is the glp-1 that increases insulin production. Then we have something called Humalog, which is just another form of insulin that is fast-acting. So now it helps cram earlier after the meal. Then we have something called Victoza, which increases insulin sensitivity. We have something called Lantus, which is another form of insulin that is long-acting. So this lasts for up to 24 hours. It’s slower to kick in but then it keeps cramming for the full 24 hours. Then we have Soliqua, which is a mix of something that cramps for a long time and a glp-1 that increases insulin sensitivity. And then you have another one that’s long-acting, you have another one that is a glp-1, and you have another one that’s a glp-1. And some of these are subcutaneous, some are long-acting, some are mixed, but they’re all the same stuff. They’re all acting to cram or trick or push the body into making more insulin and to get more stuff out of the bloodstream and into the cell. And in doing that, we are making insulin resistance worse because the moment that we back off on the drugs, then that cell is finally left alone and it has way too much fuel to burn. So now it is more insulin resistant than ever.

But then we have some people who are more natural, more holistic, they claim. So now they’re saying, „Oh, well, you shouldn’t use synthetic drugs. You shouldn’t use any pharmaceuticals because they’re bad, but you should use natural things because they’re good.“ So now they start talking about green tea, which can increase insulin sensitivity. They talk about cinnamon which can increase insulin sensitivity, apple cider vinegar, chromium. They can increase insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar. But now we again have to ask: What are we actually doing? Sure, we can help the sugar get out of the bloodstream. We can introduce something into the body that will assist in lowering blood sugar, that will increase the drive to lower blood sugar. But where is that sugar going? It only has one place to go, and that’s into the cell. And the cell is already full. And if we increase insulin sensitivity by tricking the cell again, it becomes more insulin resistant.

So when we look at the official goals of pharmacological treatment, they seem very reasonable indeed. The goal is to reduce morbidity, to reduce complications, to restore normal insulin sensitivity and secretion. But is any of that happening? Is any of that happening even a little bit with these treatments, or are we actually doing the exact opposite? Okay, so every one of these treatments, whether synthetic or natural, they only act to do one thing and that is to increase the insulin or increase the action of insulin so that we can get the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cell.

When we look here at the four options to have less sugar in the blood, then all the drugs are working at number one, cramming, put more into the cell. The liver is still going to convert when it needs to. And if we don’t control it at all, if we just let it go totally crazy, we’re going to pee some out. So again, the only way to create balance, because that’s what they say they want, to restore normal insulin sensitivity and secretion, that’s balanced. The only way to do that is to put less in. There is no other way. And what do we need to put in less? The things that stimulate insulin which are primarily sugar and processed grains. So once we understand this picture now and we look at the recommendations, which was the driving forces are obesity and abdominal fat, then we understand how absurd the recommendation is to lose weight and lose belly fat because it’s not the fat creating the insulin resistance. It’s the insulin resistance creating the weight gain because insulin is a storage hormone. The more insulin resistant you are, it’s like your fat is in a deep freezer. There’s no way that you can touch it as long as you put in any more sugar on a regular basis. So when they tell you to lose weight to control your insulin resistance, first of all, they have it backwards. But then it’s like the ultimate insult when every form of treatment serves to increase insulin resistance, to increase the action of insulin, which is to store more fat. So with this treatment, there’s virtually no way to lose any weight or to reverse insulin resistance. And that’s why it can be so frustrating for people who follow the mainstream recommendations. They eat their carbohydrates, they exercise, and they take their metformin or their insulin, and they’re being told that they’re lazy and they eat too much when everything they’re told to do is going to increase the insulin action and store more fat.

So let’s create an intelligent goal. Once we understand the mechanisms, let’s create the only goal that makes any kind of sense, and it doesn’t have anything to do with blood sugar. It has to do with withholding starches and sugars, making the body produce less insulin until the cell wants some fuel. As long as we keep cramming the fuel into the cell, it’s not going to want any more because it has too much. The only way to create balance is to pull back on the supply until the cell wants some. That’s when insulin resistance starts reversing, and how do you do that? You do it with low carb diets, with ketogenic diets, with fasting, intermittent fasting, and with exercise. And also, as a little note, everything that we’ve talked about here has to do with type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a completely different thing, and insulin is absolutely appropriate and life-saving. So that’s a completely different mechanism. The type 1 diabetic needs insulin because he can’t make any on his own. The type 2 diabetic, insulin is the worst kind of treatment because they already have too much.

So things are really quite simple once we look at them, and we want to eat some food, we want to store some food, we want to burn some food. And when we eat low carb, and we eat keto, and we fast, and we learn that it’s not necessary, it’s not obligatory, it’s not the only way to survive, to eat six meals a day, when we start skipping breakfast or a meal here and there, now the body learns to regulate hunger. And now if you eat once or twice, or maybe three times a day, you do it because your body has found the balance, and it’s telling you it’s time to eat something. So by getting the body into balance, of eat-store-burn-eat-store-burn, that is how we become insulin sensitive. Insulin sensitivity is the balance that we’re talking about, and that happens when we find the balance at a level that makes the cell want some fuel once in a while. When we have a balance between storing and burning, and insulin pushes that balance towards storage, and the more insulin resistance we are, the more it pushes it towards storage, and we have no chance of retrieving that energy to burn it. So, does it mean that green tea or cinnamon or apple cider vinegar or chromium are bad things, or insulin is a bad thing? No, the type 1 diabetic needs insulin, and these are just components of food. And if you do the right things, if you start cutting back on some carbs, if you do the keto, if you do the low-carb, if you do the fasting, now you’re addressing the root cause. You’re turning this cycle around, and now there’s nothing wrong with helping your body use the blood glucose, as long as you make it part of finding balance, not just as a way of cramming more.

If you’re new to the channel and you like having things explained so that you get the big picture, make sure you subscribe and hit that notification bell. And if you know other people, which would probably be the case because insulin resistance applies to at least 85% of the population to some degree, whether they’re officially classified or not, then do them a favor and share this information so that they can start moving toward a healthier life. Thanks for watching.