Our bodies produce high levels of insulin, a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. It works to help regulate our blood glucose levels, which is the body’s primary source of energy.
For people who are insulin resistant, their bodies may produce the right amount of insulin, but it is not being distributed or used effectively. The glucose that is supposed to be absorbed actually builds up in the blood.
When the body’s cells are insulin resistant, there is more pressure put on the pancreas to produce more. This can lead to a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes actually mimics diabetes—you’ll have high blood sugar levels, but the levels aren’t high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis.
Why Losing Weight Matters
In a study conducted by the Diabetes Prevention Program, researchers discovered that for people who are considered overweight or obese, loosing approximately seven percent of their body weight might significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes by almost 50%.The easiest way to burn fat and lose weight is by eating a healthy diet and exercising daily. Make sure your workout plan is realistic. Start with small goals, build up your confidence and your routine, and gradually make strides toward accomplishing tougher workout goals.Moderate exercise can improve your blood sugar levels and help your cells become more sensitive to the insulin that is produced in the pancreas. You don’t need to run 20 miles each day to lose weight; just get your body moving! If you are pressed for time, try to incorporate exercise by conducting various practical activities throughout the day (i.e. if you always take the elevator at work, start taking the stairs.)
Insulin Resistance Foods to Eat
What you eat and how much you eat will not only benefit weight loss, but will also help you maintain your blood sugar level. The following are certain foods that can benefit individuals who are insulin resistant:
1. Vegetables: Because vegetables are low in calories and carbs, it makes them ideal for people who are trying to lower their blood sugar levels. For best results, opt for raw, fresh, low-sodium veggies, such as tomatoes, spinach, corn, and kale. Pure vegetable juice can be consumed (at times) as well, but keep in mind that the sodium content will be higher.
2. Fruit: Most fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Opt for fresh fruit, such as bananas, grapes, plums, and peaches—they are filling and raise the blood sugar more slowly than fruit juices. Some fruit juices contain added sugars, which can raise your blood glucose levels as quickly as canned soda.
3. Dairy: Opt for fat-free or low-fat dairy products, as insulin resistance can get worse when you consume foods high in saturated fats.
4. Whole grains: Whole grains are perfect for diabetics, as they contain vitamins, fiber, and minerals. If you want the maximum amount of nutrients, try to purchase foods that list “whole grains” as one of the primary ingredients on the label.
5. Nuts: Nuts contain high volumes of fiber, protein, and magnesium. They are extremely beneficial for those who are looking to lower their blood sugar levels as they are low in carbohydrates.
Many people are unaware that they are insulin resistant until it progresses into type 2 diabetes—don’t wait for something drastic to happen to your body to force you to take care of it. If you watch what you eat and are physically active, you might be able to prevent this disease from developing.
Feintuch, S., “Diet Tips for Insulin Resistance,” Healthline web site, August 26, 2014; http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/insulin-resistance-diet.