Some people are considered insulin resistant and are at risk of developing high blood sugar and diabetes. One way to combat the onset of these health problems is to go on an insulin resistance diet. Similar to a diabetic diet, an insulin resistance diet incorporates a low number of carbohydrates and moderate levels of protein, fiber and fat. This combination of different types of foods works to slow the digestion process and prevent a rise in blood sugar levels.
Created by the pancreas, insulin plays a critical role in processing glucose in the bloodstream and turning it into energy for the body. In someone who is insulin resistant, the body does not respond to the insulin production, and the pancreas continues to make insulin, causing high levels of it in the blood. Insulin resistance can cause type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels or ovarian cysts. The insulin resistance diet was created to use food to prevent the pancreas from producing too much insulin and creating risky health conditions.
The most common insulin resistance diet incorporates an exchange system that is customized to fit an individual’s caloric needs. A doctor, dietitian or nutritionist typically considers a person’s weight, height, age, gender and activity level to create an insulin resistance diet plan. After the individual’s current status and needs are determined, he or she is given a strict meal plan that allows a specific number of starches, fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats per day. Each person has different needs and different meal plans. However, most meal plans eliminate refined carbohydrates such as potatoes or sugars and replace them with whole grains and legumes.
There are many benefits of an insulin resistance diet. Most people have higher energy levels because they have eliminated blood sugar spikes. Others learn how to make healthier choices and begin to incorporate regular exercise into their daily routines. Many people actually eat more than they did before the diet, but they lose weight and feel more full after meals because of the balanced food plans.
Some people try to alter their insulin resistance without an insulin resistance diet. They begin to exercise regularly or lose weight on other types of diets. Weight loss alone might alter the body’s overproduction of insulin. Others take prescription drugs, such as metformin, which is a diabetes-prevention medication. This prescription can be effective for young, heavy patients but might have unknown, risky side effects.