Insulin resistance

Type 2 diabetes is a common form of diabetes and insulin resistance causes it. What is this resistance? Can an insulin resistance diet help in it? What constitutes this diet?

Table of Contents

Insulin and its resistance

Insulin is a hormone secreted from the islet of Langherhans situated in the pancreas. They increase the uptake of glucose by fat cells, and muscle and liver cells. And this helps to normalise blood glucose after a meal and prevent high spikes of them.

Rahaf Al Bochi, owner dietitian of the Olive Tree Nutrition in Duluth, Ga says:

“When cells don’t respond to insulin anymore, they are ‘insulin resistant’ and blood sugars can rise,”

Insulin resistance diet
Insulin and it’s resistance (Source: Everyday health)

The American Diabetes Association or ADA states:

Some people build up a tolerance to insulin, requiring more to get muscle, fat and liver cells to take up glucose.”

This resistance can be temporary or permanent. Genes, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, inflammation, age, some drugs and physiological stress can cause this resistance. And this is a precursor of type 2 diabetes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that even a person who is not overweight can have this resistance to insulin.

Insulin resistance diet

Rahaf who also is spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains:

An ‘insulin-resistant diet’ is a diet or eating plan that supports balanced blood sugars in the body,”

And this implies pairing carbohydrate foods with protein and fat rich foods. Carbs can be bread, pasta, fruits and dairy. While protein and fats sources can be fish, cheese eggs, chicken, meat, oil, avocado, beans, nuts and seeds. Rahaf elaborates that having carbs with protein and fats slows down the absorption. This prevents high blood sugar spikes.

Insulin resistance diet
The insulin resistance diet (Source: Dr. Axe)

In 2017, an article published in the reputed journal, Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine stressed on reducing simple sugars in form of fruit juices, sweet drinks and desserts to lessen the chances of resistance of cells to insulin. It read:

Many studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of consuming complex, low-glycemic-index carbohydrates that are rich in dietary fiber,”

“An insulin-resistant patient’s diet should be rich in whole grains and high amounts of non-starchy vegetables and raw fruit.”

Health benefits

One cannot diagnose this resistance to insulin by any simple test. If a person has high blood sugar with high triglycerides and bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol, he or she is likely to have insulin resistance. A simple way will be to determine how many people in a population have prediabetes. Cleveland Clinic states that this is 84 million adults of the USA. That is roughly one third of adults in the US.

Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance (Source: Endocrine web)

Healthy diet, exercise, and losing weight can correct the resistance. Also stress management and adequate proper sleep have a role in it.

Therefore, switching to a healthier lifestyle can over time reduce insulin resistance and correct high blood sugars and high triglycerides in blood. It can lower the bad cholesterol and bring down high blood pressure. Moreover, it can increase the good HDL cholesterol too.

Also, read Plant based low carbs diet better in lowering risk of type 2 diabetes!

All this can manage prediabetes and prevent its progress to type 2 diabetes. The latter has a lot of complications over time. It can lead to atherosclerosis, ischemic heart diseases, stroke, gangrene, infections, retinopathy, etc. It can also cause end stage kidney disease and stroke.

Therefore, an insulin resistance diet holds promise in preventing all these complications and health conditions.