When people develop insulin resistance, a condition where
the body does not use insulin properly, their doctor may recommend following an
insulin resistance diet. This can help reduce or reverse insulin resistance,
which can also lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While researchers have not identified an optimal diet that
can reverse insulin resistance, several specific dietary measures can help.
These dietary measures include eating a calorie-restricted diet, losing weight
and eating a variety of foods.
When people want to lose weight, nutritionists create diet
programs to help them eat less calories than are needed to sustain their
weight. This is called calorie restriction. People gain weight when they eat
too many calories, which creates excess fat, so to lose it, they need to eat fewer
A 2001 report by the American Family Physician shows that
eating a calorie-restricted diet can reduce insulin resistance -- even before
people lose any significant weight. People who are obese or overweight can
further reduce insulin resistance by losing a small amount of weight. Some
studies have identified significant improvements in insulin sensitivity after
people lose 15 percent of their total body weight.
So how many calories should you eat? To lose weight, the
National Institutes of Health recommends eating 500 to 1,000 less calories per
day. People should expect to lose between 1 to 2 pounds per week, which is
considered a safe amount of weight loss.
While any sort of weight loss can reduce insulin resistance,
many health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet to lose weight safely.
Although many diet plans -- such as the Cabbage Soup Diet or The Master Cleanse
-- can help you lose a lot of weight, they do not teach you how to sustain your
weight loss, which can make it hard to keep the weight off. You are most likely
to be successful if you make changes to your diet that are reasonable and
So how do you eat
Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. These
foods also contain fiber, which can lower insulin resistance.
Add more whole grains to your diet, which are
also rich in fiber.
Eat more foods that are low in trans fat,
saturated fat, salt and sugar. These foods are usually less nutritious and
contain more calories.
Cook smart. Instead of cooking food by deep
frying it or covering it in breading, try baking or grilling your food. Instead
of using a lot of oil, use low-calorie oil sprays instead.
Eat your comfort foods in moderation. Instead of
indulging in a huge slice of cheesecake after supper, try eating it once a week
or cutting the serving size in half. Eating healthfully doesn't mean you have
to give up your comfort foods -- you just have to eat them in moderation.
It's important to note that although eating a healthy,
calorie-controlled diet can reduce insulin resistance, there are other ways you
can improve it. Exercise -- even something simple like walking -- has been
shown to be very effective at improving insulin sensitivity. If you wish to go
the medicinal route, drugs such as metformin can also improve insulin
sensitivity. The best way method, however, is combining a healthy diet with a
healthy exercise plan.