Breaking the insulin resistance cycle involves a number of things, including reducing simple carbohydrate-rich foods, like grains, juices, processed foods, etc, in our diet. Below are 5 guidelines that will help slash insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control overall. This is useful advice with people who have diabetes, PCOS, metabolic syndrome and for those who just need assistance to lose weight.
- No naked carbs. What? Since carb-rich foods (legumes, fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and sugar) give us quick energy and have the greatest effect on raising blood sugar levels, it is ideal to have a source of protein or fat with this food to buffer the absorption of sugar going into the bloodstream. For example, an apple (carb) with peanut butter is far more favorable than eating an apple alone.
- Reduce snacking and eliminate grazing. Be sure to eat enough at each meal (review plate visual) by cueing into your satiety and hunger levels, so you do not need to eat more than three-four times a day. When we have smaller, more frequent meals, we cause our body to produce more insulin, creating higher circulating levels of insulin. High insulin levels cause insulin resistance. Transition to 3 meals and an optional snack each day.
- Hydrate. Drink 20 ounces of water first thing in morning. I play a game by making myself drink my water before I am allowed to enjoy my coffee. Do what motivates you. Overall, aim to drink half of your weight in ounces every day. For example, if I weigh 200 pounds, I need 100 ounces of water or herbal tea per day. Drinking water is one of the simplest ways to improve your hormone (including insulin) functionality, hunger, and fat-loss.
- Forecast meals. No need to make a formal meal plan, but spend five minutes a week reviewing which meals you will be eating out or at home. Sketch out at least 3 meals (doubling some of the recipes can save you time) and reflect these meals onto a grocery list. This can help you get in front of your health by making healthy food the obvious choice. It can also help reduce food waste. Win-win.
- Eat with the sun. Eating during daylight hours supports our natural body clock, and therefore our hormone functioning. The more in sync we are with our circadian rhythm by eating with the sun, we support hormone balance, improving insulin resistance. Doing this also improves sleep and high-quality sleep is the “secret sauce” for health. Additional motives to eat earlier? Data suggests when we eat past 7 PM we increase our insulin secretion by 50 to 70%. High insulin leads to insulin resistance. If you find yourself eating late, make it a smaller, lighter meal.