Too fat around the belly? Chances are you have insulin resistance if you are not already diabetic. Belly fat is a very good indicator that insulin isn't doing its job properly. Understanding diet and digestion is your key to solving the problem.
Your energy comes from blood sugar. Part of digestion's job is to turn what you eat into blood sugar. Some foods turn into blood sugar very quickly, and cause blood sugar spikes. Other foods turn into blood sugar more slowly, in a steady, stable stream. The normal level of blood sugar in a person is 80 to 100 milligrams per millilitre. If it goes higher than that, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into the bloodstream, to help keep blood sugar levels normal and turn that blood sugar into energy. High blood sugar is very dangerous.
Blood sugar is all very well, but it doesn't do much good just moving around aimlessly in the arteries and veins. It actually has to get into the muscles cells, or you would just waste away. That's where insulin comes in. Insulin is a very small protein which binds with certain receptors in cell walls so that they can pull the blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells. (Think of insulin as being a little key, and the receptors as being a little lock.) Once inside the cell, the sugars combine with phosphates to form compounds which ultimately become glycogen: nourishment for muscle cells.
Insulin is only interested in carbohydrates and sugars. And while it's dealing with them, fats can hang around till they're needed - usually around the belly. This means that while your body is producing insulin, it cannot burn fat. It can only store fat. While your blood sugar levels are high - for example from eating lots of starchy or sweet foods - your insulin levels will be high too. The more blood sugar, the more insulin - and no fat-burning.
Too much blood sugar can put too much strain on the cells. If you constantly bombard your body with too much starch and sugar, and too much insulin as a result, the cells become very annoyed. It's like having a roomful of noisy children - you can cope with a couple, but after a certain number it becomes too much. So the cells start ignoring the insulin, tuning it out. This is called Insulin Resistance.
Insulin resistance is just the beginning. The more your cells ignore insulin, the more insulin the pancreas has to produce to get their attention. Eventually, it can become overworked, damaged, and then unable to produce enough insulin to cope.
Ideally, you want your body to use as little insulin as possible to digest your carbohydrates. This means your cells must be as sensitive to insulin as possible. Easier said than done, but you can take steps to improve your insulin sensitivity. Cutting out sugary and starchy foods is the first of those steps.