How to improve metabolic health with PCOS w/ Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew!

How to improve metabolic health with PCOS w/ Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew!

Did you know metabolic dysfunction is one of the biggest health issues affecting PCOS women in the world?

In this episode, Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew joins us to talk all about improving metabolic health and the connection this has to insulin resistance & blood sugar regulation.

You’ll learn:

What is metabolic health and how does it relate to diet, sleep, exercise, and stress?

– The link between insulin resistance & metabolic health for PCOS women

– Steps women with PCOS can take to improve metabolic health

Dr. Lauren Kelley-Chew is the Head of Clinical Product at Levels.  Lauren graduated from medical school at UPenn and Throughout her career, Lauren has been inspired to build products like continuous blood glucose monitoring devices to make good health accessible to everyone. To find more resources and continue learning about metabolic health, check out the Levels Blog! You can also follow Lauren & Levels on Instagram!

Join us in The Cysterhood, a community of women learning how to manage PCOS & lose weight, Gluten and Dairy Free!

Follow us on Instagram for daily PCOS tips at @PCOS.Weightloss!

While Tallene is a Registered Dietitian and Sirak a Personal Trainer, this podcast provides general information about PCOS. It is not meant to serve as fitness, nutrition or medical advice related to your individual needs. If you have questions, please talk to a medical professional. For our full privacy policy, please click on the following link: (

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Full Episode transcript:

Welcome everyone to another episode of a sister and her Mister today, we have Dr. Lauren Kelly Chu. She is the head of clinical product at levels. Lauren graduated from medical school at U Penn and throughout her career, she has been inspired to build products like continuous blood glucose monitoring devices to make good health accessible to everyone. On this episode today, we will be talking about metabolic dysfunction,

insulin resistance, and how you can improve each naturally with diet and lifestyle changes.<inaudible> my own hands and with other stem naturally,<inaudible> Welcome Lauren to assist her in her Mr. Podcasts, where we love to have you on. And I guess today, we’re just going to talk about metabolic dysfunction and some resistance, you know, diabetes as well and how it all relates to PCs.

So let’s get started. Yeah. We’re so excited to have you so metabolic dysfunction, it’s the largest health crisis facing the world and peace U S women as well. Maybe you can break that down for our audience because we always talk about metabolic health metabolic dysfunction, but what is metabolic dysfunction? And we will discuss in this episode how PCs us women can go about managing it.

Yeah, well, very excited to be here. Thank you for having me. So I think a good place to start is what is metabolic health and really what is metabolism? So metabolism is the process that the body goes through to convert the food we eat into energy. We have about 37 trillion cells and every cell needs energy in order to do its function.

So when that process is happening smoothly, we call it good metabolic health, unfortunately, because of primarily lifestyle factors. So for example, eating really high carb foods, eating highly processed foods, many of the things that are pretty much normal in today’s world, especially in very industrialized countries, this process gets disrupted and can’t operate smoothly. And when that happens,

we call it metabolic dysfunction. And the estimate is that for example, in the U S about nine out of 10 Americans have some marker of metabolic dysfunction. So this extends well beyond prediabetics diabetics people with named conditions. It really is affecting almost everybody. Do you think it’s the most in the us? They compare it to other countries? I think it’s probably there have been more studies in the U S looking at this and perhaps in some other countries,

depending on how much research activity there is, but no, I mean, I think it’s affecting many, many countries. For example, diabetes is the number one cause of death in Mexico. So this is, yeah, so this is really happening. Like I said to almost everybody in some, in some way, it happened to me, you know,

like I, I’m not exempt. I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes when I was in my twenties when I was actually in med school. So that I was thinking that not only was I living in a really healthy way, but also I was actually being trained to help other people live in a healthy way. And meanwhile, I had this thing going on with my blood sugar that I wasn’t even aware of.

So it, that was very humbling for me. And it’s just really opened my eyes to how common this is. I was curious, like, in your experience with, do you feel like it was a result of like stress from school or were there like other external factors that led you to be diagnosed with like pre-diabetes? I think there were multiple things that play and this watch actually be kind of interesting as we talk about PCLs also,

which is that I don’t think people necessarily always understand what the underlying mechanism is for why someone develops, for example, insulin resistance. And we can talk all about insulin and what that is, but insulin resistance being one of the core features of metabolic dysfunction. And I think that the, the current thinking is it some combination of genetics, but also it’s really lifestyle.

So when I look back at the way I was living, then I was, I was highly stressed. I really wasn’t sleeping. Well, sometimes I was working all through the night. I was exercising a lot, but I was also eating a lot of carbs and sugar. And, and I, I was following what I believed was a healthy diet.

It was very plant-based. I thought it was very following the guidelines, I guess you could say, but it had a lot of sugar in it that I didn’t even realize it was sugar. And I think all of those things together just came to create a whole constellation of things happening in my body. And the ultimate result was lack of blood sugar control.

Yeah. It’s really incredible that there are so many components that make up insulin resistance, and we don’t even know about insulin resistance until we have it. And we’re like, what’s that? And when in fact, so many people have it, you know, I think you said 88% of the country might not have it. Like that’s a lot of people.

So tell us some of those things that you didn’t realize were affecting your insulin resistance at the time. I’m so curious, like what you thought might have been healthy, but then was actually a lot of sugar and just creating more insulin resistance. Right? So, I mean, I think the first thing was, was food. And at the time I was not really eating a lot of meat and that wasn’t necessarily on purpose,

but I just didn’t feel very drawn to it. So in exchange, I was filling up on a lot of carbs and that wasn’t just carbs in the typical form we think of in terms of rice, half of my family is Asian. So I grew up eating a lot of rice and that was a core staple of my diet all the way into young adulthood,

but also things like sweet potatoes and carrots and starchy vegetables, and a lot of fruit, I would routinely for snacks, eat something like a bowl of grapes. And in my head, that was a really healthy thing to do. But in reality, I was loading my body with sugar. And when I look back on the pattern and I think this is really typical is by the time I had.

So for example, if we think about an average day for me back then, I wake up, I’ve gotten no sleep. So I already have high stress hormones. I’m already probably not very sensitive to insulin because my body’s in the state of inflammation and stress. Then we add to that I’m stressed about the day. So now I have even more of that raging,

maybe even my fight or flight response is starting to trigger in. And my body’s like, well, we better raise glucose because we might have to fight or flee whatever’s going to happen today. Right? And this is, of course I wasn’t actually under threat, but it was my perception of what the day might bring. Then I sit down for breakfast and I have a bowl of oatmeal,

which I believed was really healthy. And I added to that things like fruit, which I also believed was really healthy well in effect that was basically carbs without any fat or protein. So that probably spiked my blood sugar way up. Now I have high blood sugar. I’m starting my day. By the time it started to actually come down, I would probably eat a snack.

It was mid morning by then. And let’s say I have yogurt. Then maybe it’s even sweetened yogurt. And then I’m back up again. And so now my body’s pumping out insulin to counter out that, and then it finally comes down and then it’s lunchtime. And now I’m having a sandwich, which I thought was really great because it was, you know,

unsweetened peanut butter. But the reality is the bread had sugar in it. And the bread itself was a carb. And now I’m spiked up again and I’m starting to crash and it’s the afternoon. And you can just see the cycle of, of going through. Really, like I said, what I think we would all consider relatively normal life, but the reality is what’s happening under the surface is constantly spiking,

blood sugar and the body trying to compensate. Yeah. It’s like literally like a blood sugar rollercoaster. Yeah. I can totally relate to this. And I’m sure many women listening can relate to this because oftentimes the things that we’re told that are healthy can actually impact our blood sugar negatively. If we’re not eating them at the right times of day or pairing them properly.

W you know, those details really matter. Like fruit is really healthy, but if you’re not pairing it with nuts and you’re eating it and grazing on it throughout the day, this might not be good for your blood sugar. And I often get backlash. When I say, I suggest eating one piece of fruit a day, if you’re really insulin resistant and then slowly increasing it as you become more insulin sensitive and so on.

Yeah, exactly. I’m pairing it with protein and nuts and so on. And everyone’s like one fruit a day, like fruit is healthy for you, but, you know, we have to wrap our heads around insulin resistance and how to improve insulin sensitivity. And there’s so many better snacks out there than eating a cup of grapes that are better for PCO.

S Absolutely. And I think one of the really interesting things for PCs is that when you start to develop insulin resistance, this is true of anybody, but this is one of the underlying mechanisms of PCLs is that while so many cells in your body are becoming less and less sensitive to that signal from insulin, actually the cells of the ovary tend to stay more sensitive to that signal.

So these large amounts of insulin that are happening for all the cells, the body are basically ignoring it, which is why the insulin has to be produced as a chai rates. The ovaries are actually hearing that loud and clear, and it’s almost like, you know, I often use the analogy of a parent, but it’s almost like a parent screaming at a child you expect,

right. You expect to get a really big response out of that and the ovaries deliver on it. And they produce a lot of hormones, which I know you’ve covered in, in some of your other podcasts, but what you have then is this insulin signal, telling the ovaries pump out a lot. There, we, you know, you really have to produce and,

and they do. And that’s where you start to see a lot of production of the androgens, like for example, testosterone. Right? And so I think sometimes what people don’t realize is that even though the body itself could be in a state of insulin resistance, the ovaries might actually still be very sensitive. And so they’re responding to those loud screams in a much more severe way,

let’s say, or serious way than the other cells of the body might. And it’s kind of beautiful. I mean, I think the ovaries are so incredibly elegant, but they also have to remain in a very intricate balance. So I completely agree with you, some of these things, especially if you’re really insulin resistant, if you’re trying to protect your ovaries from the impact of that insulin,

you do need to take probably more cautious steps than you would. If, for example, you weren’t trying to protect your ovaries. Yeah. I like how you say it’s beautiful because it actually is. It’s our body’s defense mechanism. So let’s say there was danger, your blood sugar would go up. Let’s say that, you know, there’s famine, there’s warfare,

your blood sugar is going to go up as a stress response. And then your body’s going to make more testosterone. Your ovaries are going to say, okay, more testosterone. And then you’re going to fight and flee and, and survive. It’s like a survival mechanism. And is that where like the body shuts down to fertility as well, because it doesn’t want to be pregnant in that kind of situation pregnant in that kind of situation.

Yeah. Yeah. And so it’s just our way of surviving and it’s, there’s nothing about it. That means your body is broken. It’s actually saving you. It’s a stress response. It isn’t, I mean, I think this applies to so many aspects of the body where sometimes we don’t honor it enough, even for example, the creation of fat.

I mean, the, the conversion of high blood sugar into fat storage is actually an incredibly elegant thing that the body does to protect itself from high blood sugar. So while some people say, you know, of course there’s weight gain and things that really, that really can create a burden in terms of psychologically it, depending on how you feel about your body,

but at the same time, there’s this amazing process happening where your body’s basically like, okay, you’re throwing different things at me, but I’m going to adapt. And this is how I’m going to protect you from some of the, the lifestyle habits that you have right now, knowing that at another chapter in your life, it might be different and it might need to protect you less.

And I think that relationship have with our bodies where there’s infinite connection, if we honor that, it’s beautiful. It’s amazing. This is why I love medicine and science. Absolutely. And I think also like, I mean, back then it was protecting you from famine from warfare, but now it’s protecting us from external stressors. Like for example, like maybe environmental toxins or stress from,

from going to school or from just like being, maybe having a bad diet and lifestyle unknowingly, or just like doing things that we do all the time, every day that we don’t really know is actually impacting us in a negative way. And we want to like still be able to maybe like study for a degree and maybe work late nights or stay up late every day and still be able to lose weight.

But in fact, your body’s going to like, like, we’re talking about here, your body’s going to respond in a way where it’s protecting you, but maybe you don’t want it to be protecting you. You want it to still like, be doing everything efficiently, but it’s not because it’s, it has to protect you so that you don’t continue leading yourself down that path.

Does that make sense Completely? And I think this is where, and of course, depending on what’s happening in our lives, we’re more or less able to make changes. Like sometimes I think people make it seem like you have to revolutionize your life in order to get healthier. And the reality is sometimes we’re not at a time in our lives where we have the resources,

the time, the access who knows what to revolutionize our lives, but there’s still so much we can do to just ease some of those stressors off the body and start to shift that balance away from the body being in that survivalist protection mode, into being like, okay, this person’s working with me, you know, like they’re starting to take some steps to ease the burden a little bit.

And, and I think that’s so impactful. So it’s really a spectrum, right? It’s not like either revolutionize or make no progress. It’s it’s little things at different chapters in our lives. That’s how I approach it. Yeah, absolutely. There are all these little things that we can do. And I would love to hear your like top few things that you suggest women with PCOS to do to help manage their metabolic dysfunction because it’s so tightly correlated with weight gain and we’re all trying to lose weight.

You know, so many sisters are trying to lose weight and there’s some kind of code in order to be able to, clearly it’s not the calorie equation. So what is it? Tell us some of the things did you hear about that sister who took Obasi tall and finally got her period after a year of not having one And credible. I see those kinds of messages on Instagram a lot.

How does that even happen? Oh, FaceTime helps with healing, insulin resistance, a common root issue that most Pecos sisters have. And by targeting insulin resistance, we’re seeing sisters kick those crazy cravings. Finally regulate their periods opulate and improve their ed quality. Each packet of obesity has a 40 to one ratio of myo-inositol and de Cairo. And NASSA tol this ratio is similar to the ratio that should be found in the body.

But with women like me who have S this ratio is often imbalanced. So taking a bus tall can be super effective in treating insulin resistance, starting from the root of the issue. So awesome. It tastes like nothing. So just warn me when you put it in a cup, so I don’t drink it. You got it. BU check out the link in the description to get 15% off your order.

So I think one of the most important things to think about is how do you interrupt that cycle of high insulin then contributing to higher levels of things like testosterone, which then contributes to the desire to create more fat, which then creates more insulin resistance and more insulin, right? Like you’re in, it can create a cycle where weight gain is the natural consequence.

And so I think something that I often think about is when insulin is high, your body is getting a very specific signal, not to burn fat when insulin is high, your body is being told to actually create fat. So if you’re in a situation where your blood sugar is high throughout the day, therefore insulin is elevated throughout the day. It is very,

very hard to burn fat. Like the body’s actually programmed not to do that for many of the reasons that we’ve discussed. So in order to start the weight loss side of things, and I agree with you, there’s increasing evidence that restriction or this idea of, you know, eat less calories and therefore you create this deficit. And then certainly there’s some aspect of energy balance that I think we all need to think about,

but it’s also getting the signals right for your body to say, okay, it’s time to burn fat instead of store fat. And the way you do that is you lower your insulin levels. So practically, what does that mean? That means trying to avoid spiking your blood sugar and really just giving your body a rest from having to create insulin, to bring your blood sugar down.

And there’s a lot of different ways to do this depending on what is easiest for you. What is most exciting to you? What is most successful to you? So for example, diet gets a lot of attention and there was actually a really amazing research study that was published in 2020, that was relatively small, but it took 14 women with PCOS and it placed them on a Quito Mediterranean diet.

So it was a very low carb diet, but with a lot of nutrition. So for example, women were allowed to eat unlimited amounts of leafy greens and non starchy vegetables, and, and they even took some Fido extract supplements. So it was meant to be a really nutrient dense diet, not particularly restrictive, but very low in carbs. And after 12 weeks on that diet,

the average weight loss was around 20 pounds. All of the biomarkers for PCOS and insulin resistance had dramatically improved. And this was just one kind of small demonstration of what happens when you take blood sugar spikes and you pull them down, insulin can lower, and the body says, okay, now we can burn fat because that insulin signal is gone. So we can talk a lot about strategies for diet.

But I think overall the goal is to just lower insulin, if you can do that. And it’s, it’s not, you know, I’m not trying to minimize the challenge of that, but if you can lower insulin, you’ve taken a huge step forwards in terms of opening up the door to fat loss. Yeah. So for a lot of people is think some Quito seems to be unsustainable.

What are some ways that we can lower insulin in between meals? You know, not snacking things like what are some attainable tips where we can apply it to our lifestyle and keep the insulin nice and low. So we can promote fat burning throughout the day and better metabolic function without having to do the ketogenic diet. So I think we’ve talked about it in the past too,

where like Akido can like help in maybe a short amount of time, but it’s not, maybe it’s something that obviously you can’t do forever, you know, for the rest of your life to manage your insulin levels. I don’t know if you would agree with that, but that’s how we kind of like, tend to look at it. I do agree with that.

And I actually agree with that from personal experience as well. I did keto for about eight months. It was really restrictive. I actually gained weight on it, which apparently is the experience of about 50% of women. So there’s, there’s, that’s a whole nother conversation, but much of the research around keto was actually based on research in men. And this is true actually of a lot of metabolic health research has not really focused on women and certainly not women of reproductive age who are often considered too complex because of all of the hormonal changes,

which I think is a huge loss to science. That that’s been the case. So I hope that that changes. Yeah. But, but in terms of strategies outside of just completely cutting carbs out, there’s when I think about meals, I think about two things. So one is, well, the first overarching thing is how am I nourishing my body with this meal?

Because you can keep blood sugar stable by drinking oil or drinking alcohol, but that’s obviously not the goal, right? Like having canola oil as the primary fuel source will lead to a lot of disease. So the first thing I think about is basically how much bang for my buck. Can I get in this meal in terms of nourishing my body? And that’s not always optimal.

Like, it’s not like all of us are standing at farmer’s markets all the time, right? It’s from what’s available in that moment. But in terms of insulin, there’s two main factors. The first is how much carbs are you eating and how much sugar is being created as a result. And to your point, completely cutting carbs out, I think is unrealistic.

So what I think in terms of is how do I just reduce carbs? So that they’re a reasonably small amount of my meal. So for example, instead of eating sweet potatoes, which are really high in carbs, I might have broccoli much lower in carbs. Broccoli still has a little bit of carbs, but it’s mixed with a lot of fiber and it’s just overall much lower than a potato would be.

Likewise, instead of having bread, I might have, I don’t know, zucchini or something. Now, granted these are maybe not. Or if you are going to eat bread, have half a, have one piece of bread instead of two. So the amount is the first thing. But the second thing is how quickly that glucose and that blood, that sugar is absorbed.

And this is something that you can impact without changing what you’re eating. So for example, like you were mentioning at the beginning, pairing your carbs with fat and protein makes a huge difference. It slows down the rate by which the sugar is absorbed because fat and protein are digested a lot more slowly than sugar. Likewise, eating your carbs with a whole bunch of fiber because fiber also is digested very slowly.

So when your stomach is full of fiber, you’re going to digest the carbs much more slowly, and then finally eating carbs last, this is something that I think everyone can do, right? Don’t even change your meal, just change the order in which you’re eating it. That’s very doable. And, and it makes a big difference. And actually I think by the time you’re full of all the protein,

fiber and fat you’ve eaten, you might still eat some bread, but it’s probably less because you’re full. And then the final thing is when you’re done with all of that, if you can just go for a short walk and this doesn’t have to be a full on hour long, huge cardio session, it can literally be a five to 15 minute walk up and down the stairs of your apartment,

building around the block. And if you can’t walk, like let’s say, you’re watching, you’re taking care of kids or something else. Do do a little bit of like jumping jacks or, well, if you’re digesting can take it, but you know, or like do some squats or run around with the kids a little bit, pick your kids up and put them down a few times.

Anything that uses the muscles will suck that blood sugar out of your blood and into the, into the muscles and will really, really help with blood sugar control. Yeah. We love that tip about walking. We always recommend like either after breakfast or lunch, go on like a dinner, like go on like a 15 to 30 minute walk, help with insulin sensitivity.

And it’s actually a really great tip about eating, like all the other foods before you get to your carbs. It’s actually something I’m trying to do as of recently too, especially like where in Italy right now, there’s always like carbs with a pasta and stuff. So I’m trying to like, eat like a big bowl of salad first, eat some protein first and then get to the carbs later.

Cause it’s always so delicious of course. But tying that you also have your plate method, if you want to explain it. Yeah. I try to keep the carbs that a fourth of the plate so that it’s not like the majority of what I’m eating and then half the plate is vegetables. And then a fourth is also the protein. So I’ll start with like the vegetables and protein and then eat the carbs.

But I love that tip of eating in that order. And it just makes you think about when you go to a restaurant and how they bring the bread out first and you’re starving by the time you get to the restaurant and all your friends arrive. And you’re just like so hungry and the bread comes out, the first thing you want to eat. And it’s just like the first thing you eat and that kind of opens up your appetite and makes you eat more for dinner That’s strategy that I think restaurants like raise your blood sugar.

So you keep eating more<inaudible> what is it called? Apprehend Appetizer. No, but it’s so true. I mean, that, that is like one of the unfortunate rituals that, that we have. And, and again, I mean, I think there’s a time and place for, for tough times when you just your blood sugar spikes, but it’s an exchange for something that’s really important to you,

like celebrating something with your friends or something, but, but as a daily habit, that bread basket creates so much trouble. And, and, and I mean, I’m just as susceptible to this as others, right? Like if there’s chips on the table, when you get there it’s, but to the extent that you can shift most of that to the end,

it just makes such a massive difference. For sure. So if you, I love this, I love talking about blood sugar control because I actually remember so well eating what I thought was so healthy, like a sandwich for lunch, with a bunch of bread and like not enough protein or fat in it. And like working out really hard before my meal doing like a five mile run and not losing any weight and just like grazing all day on fruit and like,

you know, thinking that I was being healthy, like I wasn’t eating junk food. I wasn’t even eating cookies. Like it was all help food. Like you said, the oatmeal and so on. And it’s just, it’s those little things and doing them for a period of time, three to six months, like you’ll just see such a difference. Yeah,

You, you really do. And this is actually something that frustrates me in a lot of the medical conversations is this idea that somehow the reason someone isn’t losing weight is because they don’t have the discipline or like they haven’t figured out how to make themselves healthy. And it’s actually like a lot of people are putting a lot of effort, energy, emotional energy into their attempt to be healthy.

Like you said, exercising a lot, really restricting what they’re eating in ways that feel like a sacrifice, all of these things. And then when you don’t see any results, it creates, I think a whole cascade of negative thoughts and feelings and all these things. And there’s a lot of shaming from society around the fact that someone can’t make progress in these visible ways.

And the reality is, oftentimes it’s not about, oh, this person just doesn’t have the willpower it’s that they don’t have the information about how their body is going to respond to things. And I don’t know what your experience has been, but like for me, following tips to try to keep my blood sugar stable. A lot of the time, I don’t feel deprived at all.

Like, it’s nothing like what I was in when I was at different stages of my life. I think many women have gone through this times of trying to do kind of more restrictive diets where you’re calorie counting, and you’re doing all of these things. And I think these are all tools, but when you’re working to control your blood sugar, at least my mindset,

it’s really not about restriction. It’s about how do I nourish my body? How do I enjoy my food in my life? But how do I do it in a way that doesn’t make my body have to go into this mode of trying to constantly do damage control against the insulin that I’m creating? Yeah. It’s like, it’s like putting better fuel in your body that lasts longer versus like a lower quality fuel that just burns really quickly.

And you need more fuel all the time. You’re like a car would per se. You’re basically running the car more efficiently and you don’t even feel that, you know, you’re doing something differently. You feel good instead of deprived. And I feel like this lack of knowledge about insulin resistance really drives a lot of women towards fad diets. And just like all of these crazy things that we see out there.

And it’s because we don’t have the knowledge of insulin resistance. Specifically. If I had known about insulin resistance sooner, my gut so much drama would have been avoided. If I had just known how to pair my meals, what times to eat and going on walks after lunch and dinner and things like that. It’s just, it makes the biggest difference It does.

And sometimes I think it can be really misleading when we go to our primary care physicians. And, you know, people will say like, they let’s say that they’re, they’re dealing with symptoms of PCOS or weight gain or whatever it is. And the doctor says, well, everything looks great. Like your blood sugar is great. Everything’s great. The reality is that that’s often not true,

right? If nine out of 10 people have some kind of dysfunction happening, it can’t possibly be the case then that all of these people are, everything is fine. Right. And I think part of the challenge is that the way that our traditional medical system has been functioning, we don’t test for insulin resistance. All we test for is the moment at which your,

your metabolic dysfunction is so out of balance, that you’ve tipped into what we have defined as pre-diabetic, but there’s a lot of research to suggest that you can have a lot of insulin resistance for over a decade before you get a pre-diabetes diagnosis. So there’s this huge window in time when we could be starting to make changes or understand our bodies more fully, but actually the doctors that we trust.

And I have so many physician colleagues who I really admire, but in general, we placed this trust medical system that’s telling us everything’s fine. So we’re actually getting the message that we don’t need to make changes. But meanwhile, we know that the way that we’re feeling in our bodies and maybe even other diagnoses that we’ve been given suggest that something is not right.

So it’s a very confusing setup in terms of how do you even know that you have insulin resistance? Yeah. And like, it goes back to the point where you said like nine out of 10 people or 88% of people have insulin resistance. And maybe one of the reasons why is because they don’t even know that they have it. And is, is there a way where people can find out a lot sooner?

Is it like before they get to the point of like, it’s a lot more difficult? Yeah. So, so there’s a few answers to that. And it depends on what your particular circumstances are in terms of access to healthcare and resources. I think the first one is how you feel in your body. So if you’re experiencing energy crashes, mood swings,

sleep, disruption, weight, gain acne, right? Like there’s all of these signals that something is off. And I think if, if you really pause and you ask yourself, how do I fill my day to day life? Like write down a list of what feels good, what feels bad about my body every day, it will become relatively clear if you’re experiencing things that do not promote your full experience of being alive,

right? Like the vibrancy of being alive. And I think we’ve accepted many of these things as normal, right? Like we’ve accepted that. Well, we just feel fatigued throughout the day, or we have crashes after lunch. That’s just what it is. But those things are not, they don’t have to be your normal, they’re normal in the U S because of everyone having these issues,

but they don’t have to be your normal. So I think the first thing, and you don’t need access to a doctor. You don’t need access to money. You don’t need to access to everything, anything other than taking a moment to feel how you feel in your body. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is in terms of kind of the more medical side of it,

I think there’s some really important lab tests that you can get that aren’t typically done. So the first one would be fasting insulin. This is what is your insulin level after a night of not eating. And the reason this is important is because it’s saying basically how much insulin is your body pumping out just all the time. And the reason that this is so important for a full picture of your metabolic health is because you can have a normal fasting blood sugar,

which is typically what’s taken in your annual visit, but the amount of insulin that your body has to produce to keep your blood sugar and that normal range might be very high. So for example, let’s say that you don’t have any insulin resistance going on, but I have a lot of insulin resistance going on your blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar might be 80 healthy range,

very healthy. And mine might also be 80, but the amount of insulin that you need to keep your, as at 80, let’s say is two. And the amount of insulin I need to keep mine at 80 is 20. So clearly we have, right? So we have different profiles. And this goes back to the body being amazingly good at compensating.

My body is like, we need to keep our blood sugar in a normal range. So we’re going to do whatever it takes to do that. And what we’re going to do is produce a ton of insulin. This is why you can have relatively normal blood sugar levels for 10 plus years before you go pre-diabetic and what’s happening when you finally get that pre-diabetes diagnosis is that your body just can’t keep up.

It’s like, you know, we tried to produce a ton of insulin. We have to produce more and more, and we’re just tired. Now. Like we do not have the reserve to continue doing this. So your blood sugar is going to rise. So this is a really long way of saying, right? Like, essentially, if you want to know what your state is,

eventually you need to have more of a window into what’s happening. So fasting insulin, there’s some other aspects of the typical lipid panel. So for example, your triglyceride levels can be a really good indicator of your level of insulin resistance. Also looking at the ratio of HDL to triglycerides or triglycerides to HDL can be an interesting metric. And then of course,

continuous glucose monitoring. If you have access to that can be an incredible way to see into your body. And what’s happening all the time with your blood sugar. Yeah. That’s something I’m actually really interested about. So is that like a, the continuous glucose monitoring? Is that like a wearable device that you basically have on you all the time? Or is it only after meals?

Like how does that work? Right. So it’s a, that you put on your arm. And these are sensors that have been used by diabetics for many years. So these are regulated medical devices. You apply it to your arm. It stays there for somewhere between 10 and 14 days on average, each sensor and brand has a different amount of time.

And what it is, is a tiny filament about the size of a strand of hair that’s under your skin and it’s measuring your blood sugar all the time. So during that time period, when you’re wearing it, you can literally see your blood sugar moving as you eat. So for example, this is one of the biosensors that level’s uses. So levels is a primarily a software experience in the sense that it’s an app that guides you for your blood sugar,

but it uses data from continuous glucose monitoring. So when I first started using levels, when I was actually thinking about joining the company and I was trying this out and, and, you know, because I had had this long story of challenges with my blood sugar, I was really, really interested in the continuous glucose monitor. I put it on. And it was shocking that day.

I was describing to you in terms of like starting with a bowl of oatmeal and all these things. When I put that continuous glucose monitor on it was like watching in real time, the rollercoaster of blood sugar that I had been living with my entire life. And it was just, it was such an eye-opening experience. Even in terms of, for example,

I used to eat a lot of chocolate. I still, I still really like my dark chocolate when I can, but I would often notice that I would have chocolate or a sweet, and I would almost get this high, you know, like I would enjoy the feeling. I got a lot of pleasure out of it, but what I was bringing that continuous glucose monitor,

I was just watching my blood sugar go way up. And I could that buzzed feeling that I used to think was enjoyable. I started to realize that’s not enjoyable, actually, that’s my body starting to get out of balance. And when I come down from that, I feel the need to eat another sweet because I’m coming down off of that high. So being able to get that window into the real-time feedback of what’s happening with everything you eat with every way you move the impact of walking,

it’s just, it’s incredible. And I hope that eventually continuous glucose monitoring becomes accessible to everyone because it’s just incredible to see. Yeah. Is that something you ever looked at, did you ever try to tie in, like, or did you have access to it at the, at the time you were going through, They didn’t have access to it back then?

It was like 10 years ago, but I will try it one day. I will like, well, once we get home, we’re in Italy right now. I’m going to try it. I’m going to report to everyone. What is happening with my blood sugar In this day and age? Like we have these devices, like these phones in our pockets,

like why not use it to our advantage? And like, with like when you’re wearing a device like this, it’s sending all that data to the application. You can see what’s going on like hour by hour, day by day. And how was each food affecting you? You know, like we can use this technology, not just for like going on Tik TOK or Instagram,

but also to actually make our health better and improve our insulin sensitivity. And I think it’s a great thing to, to look into. And it can also create a lot of freedom, I think, because not only is everybody’s body different, but your body today and your body tomorrow might be different depending on how well you slept, what you ate, all these things.

And I think one thing that people learn when they’re able to do this, is that a food that might not work for my body might work really well for your body or vice versa. And so, for example, if you’re someone who loves, I don’t know, like let’s say you’re someone who loves sweet potatoes in general, sweet potatoes tend to spike people’s blood sugar,

but maybe you discover that when you pair sweet potatoes with a healthy protein and some avocado, it doesn’t spike you at all. And then you’re able to enjoy something that you love. And you’re able to incorporate all that nutrient density that comes from sweet potato into your life. So I think it can really help with personalizing what foods work for you and where the overlap is with the foods that are good for your body and the foods that you enjoy.

That’s such an advantage to know, like, this is what rice does to me. And this is what a sweet potato does to me. I opt for sweet potato most of the time. And sometimes I have rice, you know, you can make more informed decisions for your own sake and avoid drama in the future, like diabetes. Exactly. Or like,

maybe you discover that actually when you eat this thing that you love, maybe it’s even a dessert, right. But you walk right after you eat it that the, that the spike isn’t so high, and maybe you don’t do it all the time, but maybe it’s like, okay, this is something that I know how to do in a way that is safest for my body.

And you do that, you know, it’s, it’s really empowering. And like I said, especially for women because of hormonal changes throughout the month, actually your body, your body goes through different phases in terms of insulin sensitivity. And it’s the resistance, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, if you are, if you’re having menstrual cycles,

but for women, for example, in the menopausal stage of life, same thing, there’s hormonal interaction with the foods that they eat. So in some ways like getting that window through canoes, glucose monitoring, it’s endlessly fascinating. And I view it almost as like accumulating little, little tips about my own body that I can then apply as they make choices.

Absolutely. Yeah. It’s a great idea. And when I do it, I will let you know, and I will let everyone know. Please, please do. And we can make it happen for you anytime you’re ready. So you just, you just let me know. And yeah, I, I would love to, to hear about what you learn and what you think of it.

Thank you. I mean, I think this, this episode in itself was really educational for our listeners and just for anyone who’s looking to improve their insulin resistance, or just learn the science behind it. I think this was a great episode. And Lauren, for anyone who wants to learn more, find more resources, where could they go to, to get that information A really good block?

In my opinion, good blood would full of a lot of research and information at level. Yeah, it really, I mean, the articles, I learned things from them all the time. I think they’re a really good resource. So you can go to and you can access the blog from there. You can also follow levels on social at levels.

I have a new Instagram channel that I’m using to share a lot of these concepts and just kind of the easy things that we can do that have a big impact. So that’s at Dr. Kelly Chu and yeah, and then there’s so many amazing thought leaders in the space now. So people like Sarah got freed, Casey means who’s of course, on the level’s team.

One of our co-founders Rob Lustig. There’s so many interesting resources. So I really encourage everyone to just explore at the pace that’s right for them and make the changes that are possible. Awesome. Awesome. We’ll put that information and the description of this episode as well. So for anyone listening, you can go to the episode description to go ahead and link directly,

but thank you so much, Lauren, for joining us on this episode, we’d love to have you back on in the future, again, to talk more about this topic and maybe when telling also trays out levels and see how it works for her, and we can kind of dive into it and look at the data ourselves. Thank you so much. Oh,

thank you for having me. Absolutely. Our pleasure. If you enjoyed listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the sisterhood. It’s my monthly membership site, where sisters just like you are learning how to move through the stages of DCOS from Sage one cold and alone at the doctor’s office to stage five, nailing the PCs lifestyle pollutant, and dairy-free get ready to finally feel in control of your body.


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