Fibromyalgia & Weight Gain: Insulin Sensitivity and Fibromyalgia – A Heavy Burden

Fibromyalgia weight gain and insulin Fibromyalgia weight gain is a serious problem for all who have tried everything to be successful at weight loss with Fibromyalgia.  For many who suffer from Fibromyalgia, science has uncovered a connection to their increased sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is hormone whose job is to manage storage of amino acids, magnesium and most important for weight gain, takes excess glucose from carbohydrates and stores them as fat.

And, there are other very important jobs that insulin has that can impact weight gain.  Insulin controls salt and water retention.  And with increased salt and water retention can come rising blood pressure, increases in adrenalin, and an altered cholesterol make up.

The major issue with insulin sensitivity is the body’s reaction to excess glucose in the blood.  Fibromyalgia sufferers crave carbohydrates because they need more energy.  The consumption of carbohydrates stimulates insulin production which should move the blood sugar into our cells where it can be burned as fuel for energy.

However, with the increased insulin sensitivity that is compounded by consumption of excess carbohydrates, the body begins to remove excess glucose from the blood.  This glucose is then shuffled over to muscle tissues – but the problem there is that because muscle is not well suited to store glucose, so the excess glucose is converted into fat. 

The situation is further compounded because the insulin imbalance also inhibits the ability to actually use the carbohydrates that the Fibromyalgia sufferer craves because of their need for more energy.  So there is a craving for more carbohydrates due to low energy, an inability to metabolize the carbohydrates effectively, and the subsequent result of increased fat production.

And the painful conclusion to this story is that many Fibromyalgia sufferers crave more carbohydrates, gain more weight, but because of the excess carbohydrates are prevented from easily losing this excess fat.

And, once again there is another additive effect.  I’ve seen reference in the literature to a tendency for Fibromyalgia sufferers to have a craving for carbohydrates, although I’m not positive that this has been substantiated in well-controlled studies.  But, assuming this is the case, then our listeners have another double whammy.  This excess consumption of carbohydrates results in an excess production of glucose.  And, as I mentioned earlier, that excess glucose turns into fat.  So the double whammy is reflected in the Fibromyalgia sufferer who has an increased sensitivity to insulin and also has a craving for carbohydrates. 

That combination results in even greater weight gain.

With this reality, to achieve weight loss with Fibromyalgia one has to be very much aware of their own cravings.  When there is a craving for carbohydrates, one should be mindful of why the craving is there, and attempt to satisfy the cravings in other more productive ways.  This craving is because the body is low on energy, so it is important to take an alternative approach to this craving that does not involve an increase in carbohydrates.

What I can recommend is when that craving comes, try to engage in mild exercise or in diaphragmatic breathing.  Get your heart pumping a bit more, and increase the oxygen in your blood.  That will give you a little dose of an energy boost and will stave off the craving for carbohydrates.

When you do feel the need to indulge your craving for carbohydrates, include those that are low on the Glycemic Index.  And in addition, use “good” fats to help lower the glycemic level of the carbohydrates you take in.  You would actually be better off adding olive oil or butter to your bread or rolls than eating them alone. 

So, consider exercising when the craving comes, and learn a little about the Glycemic Index.  You can take control of your weight gain with Fibromyalgia.

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