Insulin resistance is the mechanism that creates type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Type 1 diabetes is often called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is a situation where the pancreas does not produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance. Eating sugar and starch forces the body to produce a lot of insulin, over time, the body stops responding to the insulin creating insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is also responsible for something called the metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome x. In the metabolic syndrome, the individual tends to have high cholesterol with low HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and low LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), and high triglycerides. One of the big problems caused by insulin resistance is obesity. People who are insulin resistant tend to be overweight (especially carrying weight around the abdomen) and may have high blood pressure.

According to research presented at the 43rd Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in March., 2003, people who eat breakfast are less likely to suffer from insulin resistance than people who do not eat breakfast. The subjects of the stud were 1,198 black and 1,633 white participants, aged 25-37. Their risk factors for heart disease and breakfast habits were studied over an eight-year period. The researchers found that eating a whole grain cereal for breakfast reduced the risk for insulin resistance by about 15%.

A study appearing in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009; 63, 405-412) found an association between skipping breakfast and becoming overweight or obese. Information was gathered about breakfast, physical inactivity and alcohol consumption in 25,176 teen-aged subjects. The researchers found that skipping breakfast had a stronger association with being overweight obese—stronger than alcohol consumption or physical inactivity.

Other research appearing in Family Practice News (May 15, 2003:10) looked at 1,943 adults between the ages of 25 and 37 and found that those who ate breakfast seven days per week were less likely to be obese, or to have insulin resistance. The risk for insulin resistance was between 37% and 55% lower for regular breakfast eaters than for those who ate breakfast seldom or never.