Insulin resistance affects 40% of young Americans ages 18 to 44 according to a University of Alabama study. One of the biggest hurdles I see in clients is not knowing what to eat! So today I’ll be sharing the best low insulin foods to help you reverse insulin resistance this year.
What Insulin Resistance Is
Insulin resistance – what is this – if you already have seen this on my other videos, just skip ahead to the next chapter. Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar. Insulin does this by ushering glucose into your muscle, liver and fat cells to be used as energy. When you become insulin resistant, the insulin can no longer move glucose into the cells. So the glucose remains in your blood and keeps your blood sugar elevated. Some signs of insulin resistance include difficulty losing weight, gaining visceral fat and skin tags. You can learn more about the signs of insulin resistance in my previous video here.
Insulin resistance can go on for years before your A1C starts to go up. And many doctors don’t test for fasting insulin. So by the time your A1C goes up into the pre-diabetic or diabetic zone, you’ve already had insulin resistance for years. But this is reversible. When you keep insulin low this helps to reverse insulin resistance.
You may have heard of the glycemic index of foods. Glycemic index is the scale of foods that has influence over your blood sugar levels 2 hours after eating them.
Insulin index is similar to the glycemic index -The insulin index of a food represents the elevation of the insulin concentration in the blood during the 2-h period after the food is ingested.
The Insulin index has a lot of similarities with the glucose index. There are similarities but there are some foods that will spike insulin that don’t spike glucose quite as much. For instance whey protein is high on the insulin index but low on the glycemic index.
Note that the insulin index is about eating the food item by itself. But if you eat some foods with fat, fiber and sometimes protein, your insulin and glucose response will be different than if you were eating something by itself.
Best Fats for Insulin Resistance
Let’s start with Fats – Fats are very low on the insulin index. Butter, ghee, lard, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil all have very low insulin response. Avocados and olives also score low on the insulin index due to their fat content.
Best Dairy Products for Insulin Resistance
Dairy products can also rank low on the index – full fat dairy products including heavy cream, cream cheese, sour cream and high fat cheeses such as swiss, cheddar and brie all score lower on the insulin index than low or no fat dairy products. Cows milk scores higher than cheeses and the lower the fat content, the greater the insulin spike it causes. I recommend skipping cows milk. Note that dairy can be inflammatory for some people. Grass fed and pasture raised animals tend to make less inflammatory dairy products than commercially raised products. I also want to note that moldy cheeses like blue cheese should be avoided if you have any autoimmune conditions. And for many with autoimmune conditions, dairy is best avoided.
Best Animal Proteins for Insulin Resistance
Next are Animal proteins – Eggs are great because they are high in fat soluble vitamins including ADE and K, Selenium, Biotin and choline. Note that egg whites are higher than the yolk when it comes to the insulin index so ideally you would want to eat both together. Bacon, pork and duck score lowest on the insulin index. Chicken and turkey are a bit higher and then beef is actually at 50% so it’s kind of high. That said, if you do eat beef that has a higher fat content that will help reduce the insulin reaction, as will preceding this with higher fiber foods such as dark leafy greens.
Best Fatty Fish for Insulin Resistance
Next are fatty fish such as wild salmon, mackerel, cod and sardines. These are high in EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids which has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity. Note that due to contamination issues with many fish sources, I don’t recommend eating these more than twice per week.
Best Veggies for Insulin Resistance
Veggies that are non-starchy are also a good choice, such as cabbage, chard, cucumber, artichoke, asparagus, onions, garlic, cauliflower, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, broccoli and lettuce
Best Nuts and Seeds for Insulin Resistance
Nuts and seeds are also low on the insulin index, these include pecans, macadamia nuts, walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds and tahini, almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and pistachios. It can be easy to overeat nuts however, so if you’re trying to lose weight, consider having just a handful of these in a day.
I’d love to hear what your favorite low insulin foods are in the comments below. If you enjoyed this video, please be sure to subscribe, like and comment. This really helps my channel.
This video is for general informational purposes only. It must never be considered a substitute for the advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with questions you may have regarding your health or medical condition.