Insulin resistance occurs when our body’s cells stop responding properly to insulin – a hormone that enables the glucose to enter the cells and be used for producing energy. As a result, the cells won’t let the glucose enter inside them, thus leaving it in the blood.
Over time, this can lead to glucose buildup in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
Having blood sugar levels higher than average for a long time leads to prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
According to researchers, the main cause of insulin resistance is a sedentary lifestyle and obesity, or excess weight, especially around the waist. So, we can improve our cells’ reaction to insulin by losing those excess pounds.
Usually, insulin resistance doesn’t show any symptoms, and most people notice it after developing type 2 diabetes.
That’s why those with prediabetes should have a close follow-up with their doctor who will monitor their blood glues levels regularly, thus helping to prevent diabetes, or recognize it early.
Numerous studies say we can help prevent insulin resistance from leading to type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, or at least delay it, by following an insulin resistance diet that will help us lose weight as well.
Here are several diet tips that will help reduce or control our insulin resistance, thus lowering our chances of diabetes, as well as controlling it if we already have it.
Diet Tips for Insulin Resistance
1. Limit Carbs
The Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity published research that shows monitoring the intake of carbs is the best way to obtain glycemic control.
When it comes to carbohydrate counting, the carbs from fruits, vegetables, dairy products, legumes, and whole foods are good for our health. However, carb sources which include added fats, sodium, and sugar should be avoided.
Instead of flour, use grains in their whole form whenever possible. That’s because flour increases insulin resistance. However, if we must use it, we need to use flour made from 100% whole grains, as well as almond flour or coconut flour.
2. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Soft drinks, iced tea, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and vitamin water drinks are the worst sweetened beverages for our blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. That’s because they contain artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and fruit juice concentrates.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation published a study that shows these beverages increase the risk of diabetes by 26%.
Therefore, replace them with healthier alternatives such as black or herbal tea, water, coffee, and seltzer.
3. Add More Fiber-Rich Foods to Our Diet
According to one study, consuming over 50 gr of fiber a day improves blood glucose levels in those with diabetes.
So, we need to add plenty of fiber-rich foods to our diet, including legumes, avocado, Brussels sprouts, acorn squash, peas, artichokes, chia seeds, flaxseeds, beans, and quinoa. Eating this high-fiber, low-calorie foods more often will help regulate our insulin resistance.
4. Consume Good Fats
Replace trans fatty acids and saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats to improve our insulin resistance. In fact, a study shows that consuming monounsaturated fats instead of saturated fats and carbs can improve serum lipids and blood glucose control.
Good food sources of monounsaturated fats include seeds, nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids are also good for those with insulin resistance. These foods include wild-caught fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds, egg yolks, hemp seeds, and natto.
5. Get Proteins
The International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research published a study that suggests higher protein intake helps the weight loss process when following a dietary treatment of obesity.
What’s more, scientists say those with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance should get enough proteins, as they preserve muscle and bone mass which could be reduced in those with poorly controlled insulin resistance.
So, eat wild fish, organic chicken, almonds, yogurt, lentils, and free-range eggs to improve our blood glucose levels.
6. Consume Dairy
Numerous studies suggest that consuming low-fat dairy products helps lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, butter, yogurt, cheese, and milk contain the fatty acid trans-palmitoleic acid which lowers the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and prediabetes.
Choose organic instead of conventional dairy products made with cow’s milk. Also, consume kefir, raw cheese, and sheep or goat milk.
7. Control Your Portion Size
Reduce calorie intake and portion size to lose weight and reduce insulin resistance successfully. Therefore, consume smaller meals during the day, and avoid overeating as well as getting too hungry.
Those with insulin resistance should follow a diet consisting of healthy fats, lean protein, high-quality dairy, and high-fiber foods. On the other hand, they should avoid sweetened beverages, sugar foods, and refined carbs.