We hear a lot of zero/low carb diets such as the Ketogenic Diet and Atkins Diet and the potential of their health benefits. But is cutting down drastically on a macronutrient for the sake of your insulin ideal for you?
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose that enters our blood steam.
Insulin resistance is when our cells don’t respond to insulin as efficiently, giving our body a false signal to produce more insulin in order metabolize the glucose in your body. The problem with this is that excess insulin usually deposits around our midsection and forms belly fat, which further exacerbates insulin resistance and our body’s efficiency at metabolizing sugar.
Insulin Resistance Myths
When it comes to insulin resistance, the common connection is people assume this is only reserved for people with type II diabetes. This is far from true as being mindful of keeping your insulin sensitivity high and blood sugar steady can benefit anybody.
Insulin resistance doesn’t just apply to people with diabetes seeing as insulin resistance is more on a spectrum as a metabolic disorder as opposed to crossing a hard line of whether you’re insulin resistant or not. Other people who are likely to have insulin resistance are people with a chronic sedentary lifestyle, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, Polycystic Ovaries, and obesity, particularly around the belly area. This is where an insulin lowering diet can be highly beneficial for these types of people.
What is an insulin lowering diet?
An insulin lowering diet in its most basic sense is a low-carb diet. Keep in mind that if you’re insulin resistant, following a low carb diet will likely need to be a dedicated lifestyle change.
Unlike other diets that perpetuate zero carbs, a low carb diet allows quality carbs in the form of wholefoods that are low in glycemic load. Glycemic load, not to be confused with glycemic index, refers to how much a specific food will spike your blood sugar in the context of a normal serving.
Carbohydrates cover anything that your body metabolizes into glucose so beans, bread, grains, and fruit all count as sources of sugar. The trick to following an insulin lowering diet is not only drastically cutting down on carbohydrates, but to always combine them with a source of healthy fat and/or protein in order to further slow down how quickly it absorbs into your bloodstream.
Combining carbs with protein and fat still isn’t a free pass to eat a lot of carbs on an insulin lowering diet. The fat and protein are there to slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, but it doesn’t stop all that sugar from entering your bloodstream eventually. This is significant for people with insulin resistance because you want your body to produce as little insulin as possible. Essentially, the more sugar you consume, the more insulin you’ll need.
Follow these simple rules to keep your insulin levels in check:
- Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient, keep in mind that an insulin lowering diet calls for low carb consumption, not zero carb consumption.
- Eat carbohydrates in the low glycemic index such as quinoa, steel cut oats, berries.
- Always pair carbohydrate consumption with a fat and/or protein to slow the release of sugar into your blood stream.
- Read the label on packaged foods. Low carb foods can be overly processed or contain artificial sweeteners, which aren’t good for any diet.
Benefits of an insulin lowering diet
If you suspect you are insulin resistant, the best way is to get checked with a doctor. If you want to try an insulin lowering diet, know that with dedication, consistency, and consuming healthy wholefoods low in glycemic load, it can bring on a host of benefits such as:
- Decreased belly fat as lowered levels of insulin cause less deposits in the midsection as belly fat.
- Weight loss due to lowered levels of belly fat.
- Lowered levels of LDL cholesterol due to decreased belly fat.
- Higher sensitivity to insulin due to lowered levels of sugar in the body.
- Balanced hormones, especially for females with Polycystic Ovaries as increased insulin sensitivity promotes better balance of reproductive hormones.
- Increased mental clarity as your body no longer experiences spikes and falls in blood sugar.
Keep your blood sugar levels stable with help of Omega 3 Fish Oil which provides essential fatty acids that help slow the absorption of sugar in our body as well as reduce cravings for food. Paired with our insulin-sensitizing Ceylon Cinnamon, following a low carb lifestyle and reaping its benefits is doable.