Insulin Resistance Diet – Overview
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which is responsible for glucose absorption and maintenance of blood sugar balance. Insulin resistance makes it difficult for cells in the body to absorb glucose.
Over time, the body needs more and more insulin to function properly – which leads to high insulin levels and high glucose levels; these 2 combined make weight loss extremely difficult.
However, some dietary measures can improve body health and control insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance almost always leads to type 2 diabetes, which is widely known to increase the risk of cardiovascular and neurological diseases and significantly affect the quality of life.
Weight loss is first-line management for insulin resistance, although it’s a somewhat complex process that requires the support of specialists.
It is simply not safe for people with serious health problems such as pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes to lose weight on their own.
A way to improve insulin sensitivity and prevent progression to diabetes is to reduce the amount of insulin the body is producing; there are two main ways you can do that:
1. Reduce refined carbohydrates and increase lean proteins and fiber products– since carbohydrates are the most potent stimulus for insulin production, while proteins and fiber slow the absorption of carbs.
2. Intermittent fasting – according to researchers intermittent fasting can prevent and improve insulin resistance. It even demonstrated some promising results in the non-medical management of type 2 diabetes.
Intermittent fasting makes sense; the longer you go without foods, the stronger will be needed for nutrients and easier for cells to absorb.
You can combine these meal plans with intermittent fasting simply by leaving out snacks from daily schedules and dividing foods to have 2 meals a day only, that way you will have significant changes in insulin sensitivity.
After all, these are generalized recommendations, to have an individualized diagnosis and management plan before making any drastic changes to your diet it is recommended to consult with experienced nutritionists or endocrinologist who will develop an individual comprehensive weight loss program.
What should we eat for a week to increase insulin sensitivity?
The best diet to improve insulin sensitivity and prevent progression to type 2 diabetes involves consuming non-starchy raw vegetables, whole intact grains, fruits with low or medium Glycemic index, beans, and legumes.
Vegetables and Fruits– are low in carbohydrates and calories and provide you with rich content of fiber which is essential to slow-down sugar absorption hence improving blood sugar levels and activating digestion.
Besides they are a rich source of antioxidants that defend cells from free radical damage.
Make sure to choose low GI fruits so you don’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes. Those are apples, grapefruit, apricot, strawberry, blueberry, kiwi, plums, and peaches.
Healthy meats – seafood, cottage cheese, greek yogurt and legumes are excellent sources of lean proteins – necessary for healthy weight loss and blood sugar stabilization.
Proteins slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and support healthy lean muscle mass development, hence more insulin-sensitive tissue build-up.
Dairy – According to WHO the recommended daily requirement for calcium is about 500 milligrams. Dairy products nourish us with this essential mineral so by including a cup of unsweetened milk, low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese in your daily meal plan you won’t have to worry about osteoporosis or teeth problems.
Besides calcium content, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are also excellent sources of lean protein which keeps you full longer and provides you with building blocks for muscle.
Seafood – Fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for heart health and what’s essential for an insulin resistant diet. Fish contains no carbohydrates, hence preventing you from blood sugar and insulin spikes.
Nuts and seeds in limited amounts are great snack ideas. They can provide you with all the essential healthy fats. Furthermore, there are studies showing evidence that nuts can benefit those at risk of diabetes.
As a Pubmed study stated ” Frequent nut consumption could play a role in reducing the risk of T2DM and CVD through improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism, weight maintenance and improved endothelial function. ”
Ginger – Surprisingly, ginger is known to improve insulin sensitivity and help with blood sugar regulations by increasing the body’s ability to absorb glucose.
According to a Pubmed study, daily consumption of 3 one-gram capsules of ginger powder for 8 weeks was beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes due to HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) reduction and improvement of insulin resistance.
It does so with the help of a particular ingredient that increases the amount of GLUT4 receptors on the surface of the cell, GLUT4 itself is responsible for the absorption of glucose from the blood to cells. So sprinkling a pinch of ginger into your meals can demonstrate significant effects.
Cinnamon – you will see a lot of cinnamon in this meal plan. It’s all because of one particular ingredient called MHCP (Methyl hydroxy chalcone polymer) which mimics the action of insulin and helps out glucose enter the cells.
As this study from the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology states “cinnamon and components of cinnamon have been shown to have beneficial effects on essentially all of the factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including insulin sensitivity, glucose, lipids, antioxidants, inflammation, blood pressure, and body weight.”
So it’s defiantly a component you should not be missing out on.
Avoid processed, refined foods with added sugars, salts, and trans fats.
7 Day Insulin Resistance Diet Meal Plan
Avocado salmon toast with ginger powder – 712 calories
12 cherries – 62 calories
50 grams of Roasted chickpeas – 210 calories
10 grilled Mushrooms with cherry tomatoes, spinach, parsley and soy sauce – 102 calories
Burrito with beef, beans, lettuce, salsa – 580 calories
1 cup of popcorn – 44 calories
100 grams of Yoghurt with berries with no added sugars 1 teaspoon of cinnamon- 120 calories
Total calories of the day: 1830
100 grams of Low-fat Greek yogurt with 10 blueberries pinch of cinnamon – 73 calories
1 slice of pineapple – 56 calories
10 almonds – 77 calories
Turkey sandwich – 324 calories
8 medium-sized Meatballs(226 grams) with tomato sauce, bell peppers, and legumes – 712 calories
1 slice of white bread – 70 calories
1 cup of avocado salad – 110 calories
100 grams of Kale chips – 141 calories
100 grams of Low-fat, low-sugar yogurt – 63 calories
Total calories of the day: 1626 calories
3 Egg omelet with green onions and spinach – 323 calories
1 cup of Strawberry and kiwi smoothie with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon – 163 calories
2 slices of Watermelon – 158 calories
40 grams of hazelnut – 259 calories
Tuna sandwich – 440 calories
1 bowl of Chicken soup – 168 calories
1 piece of low-fat cheese- 113 calories
Avocado toast – 189 calories
2 pieces of cantaloupe – 24 calories
5 cashews – 45 calories
Total calories of the day: 1591 calories
1 cup of rolled Cereal with almond milk and 1 sliced peach with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon – 183 calories
50 grams of pumpkin seeds – 223 calories
10 Strawberries – 58 calories
100 grams of Veggie salad – asparagus, carrot, cucumber, mashed avocado, spinach, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, green bell pepper
4 Low carb cabbage rolls – 914 calories
1 slice of low-fat cheese gouda – 113 calories
Peanut butter with apple and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Total calories of the day: 1894
1 cup of Cottage cheese with granola, 10 strawberries, a teaspoon of cinnamon- 253 calories
1 whole Grapefruit -103 calories
Boiled eggs with 4 florets broccoli, and cauliflower – 174 calories
Quinoa bowl with vegetables (250 grams) – 303 calories
Seafood soup -380 calories
1 slice of white bread – 70 calories
1 slice of low-fat cheese- 113 calories
50-gram flaxseeds – 267 calories
Total calories of the day: 1663
1 cup of Oatmeal with raspberry and banana- 313 calories
1 cup of kale smoothie – 123 calories
5 Ham and cheese roll-ups – 302 calories
1 cup of blueberry smoothie – 188 calories
1 cup of Greek salad – 179 calories
2 falafels – 166 calories
Chicken fillet with curry, asparagus, onion, olive oil – 413 calories
1 slice of white bread – 70 calories
10 pistachios – 40 calories
5 Apricots – 84 calories
Total calories of the day: 1878 calories
100 grams of Chia pudding with almond milk, ginger, sliced pear, and a pinch of cinnamon
10 pecans – 100 calories
1 whole small orange – 47 calories
100 grams of Hummus with 1 sliced cucumber and 1 carrot – 203 calories
1 low-carb muffin – 312 calories
10 almonds – 77 calories
2 Shrimp tacos with low-fat cheese – 478 calories
100 grams of Zucchini chips – 87 calories
12 olives – 52 calories
10 small-sized plums – 121 calories
Total calories of the day: 1630
Fluids: You can drink fluids like water, tea, and coffee in unlimited amounts; just make sure they are sugar-free. For the reasons above, sprinkling cinnamon into your coffee or tea can help increase insulin sensitivity.
Avoid juices, lemonades, and alcohol – since they contain carbohydrates in significant amounts and have a relatively high glycemic index.
Let’s sum up our insulin resistance diet recommendations with a very crucial tip which is – exercise!
Resistance training utilizes glucose stores for energy and makes all the newly consumed carbs enter muscle cells to be stored as glycogen. Besides, that multiple studies demonstrate that even light-weight exercises affect insulin sensitivity positively.
Low Cholesterol Meal Plan with Grocery List