Applying basic nutrition advice for insulin resistance has been shown to work an effective tool in the prevention and treatment of this situation. Without a doubt, it is important to take this into account, as the incidence of this condition is on the rise globally.
Medical treatment is often accompanied by lifestyle changes, such as an exercise program, good nutrition, and rest. These habits are considered essential, as they can change some risk factors for this condition. So what to consider from a nutritional point of view? Here we detail it!
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone with very important functions in the body. These include blood sugar control and lipid and protein metabolism. Specific, it is secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood sugar levels.
The hormone tells the cells that glucose is available; they capture it and use it to perform their certain functions. As a result, the presence of sugar in the bloodstream decreases.
In general, this system works normally in the population. However, sometimes cells stop recognizing insulin and don’t react properly. What is known as “insulin resistance” or “loss of insulin sensitivity” arises.
In this situation, glucose continues to circulate in the blood and the pancreas secretes even more insulin to bring these levels down. Because of this, a spiral reaction occurs in which insulin and sugar are constantly elevated.
THE long-term consequences They can be pancreatic damage, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or type 2 diabetes.
Causes of loss of insulin sensitivity
The exact reasons why insulin resistance develops are unknown to this day. However, some triggers stand out. Among them, those that cannot be changed are the following:
- Family history of diabetes mellitus.
- Pre-existing diseases.
In the meantime, some factors can be improved by lifestyle. Among these the following should be mentioned:
- Sedentary life.
- Overweight and excess abdominal fat.
- Meals in excessive quantities.
- Diets with a high presence of lipids (especially saturated).
As you can see, many of these factors are related to diet. As, some nutrition tips for insulin resistance are worth putting into practice.
8 nutritional tips against insulin resistance
Applying dietary changes is one of the first steps in dealing with this situation. To obtain positive results, it must be balanced, with healthy foods low in simple carbohydrates. Let’s see in detail what changes can be applied.
1. Prevent and treat overweight and obesity
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the first considerations in preventing this health issue. AS in case of overweight or obesity it is necessary to follow an adequate diet.
But total weight is not the only factor to take into consideration, as the way fat is stored is also decisive. THE abdominal fat is related with an increased risk of insulin resistance and subsequent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
2. Avoid overfeeding
THE results of several studies with people subjected to an increase in caloric intake showing greater insulin resistance. This appears in varying degrees, both in the short and long term. For this reason, it is recommended to adjust the energy intake to individual needs.
3. Follow a low-carb diet
One of the triggers of insulin resistance is the sudden and continuous increase in blood sugar. In this regard it is necessary to know that carbohydrates are the macronutrient that is converted fastest into glucose after digestion.
Therefore, limiting its presence in the diet can be beneficial. Sure, It’s important to know that not all carbohydrates behave the same. The most suitable choice are whole grains, fruit, legumes and vegetables.
The ketogenic or low-carb diet shows positive results in the management of type 2 diabetes. This disease is usually preceded by the onset of insulin resistance. Therefore, it may be logical to think that this type of diet could be good for reversing the condition.
4. Increase your vegetable intake
It’s convenient to fill half your plate of main meals with greens and low-starch greens. These can be raw, boiled, roasted or in the form of a cream. There are a wide range of possibilities, such as the following:
- Green leafy vegetables.
5. Consume fresh fruit
Its convenience is often questioned due to the presence of sugars in its composition, but fruit is important in any type of diet. They are light, filling, and provide a good amount of fiber and nutrients. In this case, it is important to opt for fresh fruit, and if you can eat it with the peel much better. Canned syrups or fruit juices are not suitable.
6. Choose the right fats and lean proteins
Along with whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, fats and lean proteins are the other food groups relevant to a good daily diet. The ideal is to include them in main meals and snacks. Some options are as follows:
- Low-fat meat.
- Soy derivatives.
- Dairy products (no added sugar).
- Extra virgin olive oil.
7. Avoid ultra-processed
This type of food products are poor in nutrients, they contain significant amounts of saturated and hydrogenated fats and an excess of added sugars. Therefore, they are not recommended.
They are also usually very palatable, digested quickly and eaten in large quantities. This has an impact on blood glucose spikes, total calorie contribution and the risk of suffering from obesity.
8. Practice intermittent fasting
This practice is a dietary tool that showed good results against insulin resistance, such as food restriction favors the decrease of glucose in the blood.
Even the simple fact of changing times (avoiding late meals) and concentrating intakes in reduced time windows is beneficial for the metabolism.
Beyond nutritional advice in insulin resistance: lifestyle
Diet is one of the pillars to reverse this situation, as it provides specific nutrients and improves some of its triggers (such as being overweight or eating too much sugar). However, implementing other changes is essential to maintain these positive results in the long term.
Long-term, sedentary lifestyle it is related with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and prediabetes. To counter it, all types of activity are valid, even if the practice of high intensity exercises stands out.
Before the onset of the feeling of stress, the body secretes two hormones; adrenaline and cortisol. These are necessary to deal with any situation that causes concern. However, as a counterpart, they prevent the normal functioning of insulin.
Also, as authors of this study published in Journal of Epidemiology, elevated cortisol promotes the accumulation of abdominal fat and stimulates the production of glucose from lipids. Therefore, if stress does not improve, blood glucose levels remain permanently high.
Get the right hours of sleep
In the last few years, lack of sleep has been identified as a new risk factor loss of insulin sensitivity. In fact, a partial deprivation in one night can have an impact. Although this situation is observed, the exact mechanisms that allow it are not yet known.
Healthy habits and nutritional advice are key to insulin resistance
Insulin is an important hormone with many functions in the body. Low sensitivity to it affects the normal functioning of the pancreas and blood sugar levels. Therefore, over time, it leads to other health problems.
There are many routines that can be implemented on a daily basis, both to prevent insulin resistance and to treat it once it is established. The basis of the diet is found in vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins.
Carbohydrate intake must be moderate and it is essential to avoid foods with added sugars, hydrogenated fats and refined flours. A good place to start is to follow the Mediterranean diet, as it meets all of these requirements.
In addition, it provides a number of specific nutrients which have proved to be very positive both in blood sugar control and in body weight. Anyway, each person has their own starting point. Therefore, these tips must be adapted to each particular case.
In this sense, the ideal is to seek professional help with your nutritionist and doctor. They will assess individual characteristics and determine the best plan to get this condition under control.
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