Improving Insulin Sensitivity and Overcoming Insulin Resistance Through Nutrition

Make sure you read Carbology 101, 102, and 103

When it comes to addressing insulin sensitivity there are 5 areas to improve at

  • Nutrition – 104
  • Exercise – 105
  • Supplementation – 106
  • Detoxification -201
  • Lifestyle modification – 202

Course 104 is dedicated to improving insulin sensitivity through nutritional strategies.

Grass fed beef

Eat a High protein – Low Carb Diet with Healthy Fats

In the case of insulin resistance, the major source of the problem is the constant presence of insulin and the amount our cells are being exposed to.  The easiest way to make less insulin is to eat fewer carbohydrates.  Please not that low carbohydrate does not mean NO carbohydrate.  Carbs are still an essential nutrient and are vital for optimal metabolism.  This is why it’s important to pick the right carbs and eat them at the right times.  Not only have low carb diets shown superiority overtime to other diets for fat loss and weight loss, but they completely blow away other diet forms for those with diabetes or insulin resistance.


Picking the Right Carbohydrates

low carb foodThere are several ways to make carbohydrates more beneficial and less harmful to your health.

  • Try to eat all your carbohydrates in whole food form.  This means no processed foods or sugar added products.
  • View yogurt and milk as a high carb foods, even greek, because your body produces a lot of insulin when consuming yogurt and milk products.
  • Get most of your carbs from high fiber veggies.  Fiber slows down the rate of carbohydrate uptake in the gut, making it easier for your body to control your blood sugar with less insulin.  In this sense corn is not a veggie folks.
  • Eat high antioxidant fruits like berries.  These nutritional benefits of these fruits offsets the carb content and have additional health benefits.  Note I did not say juice, even high antioxidant juice like acai or pomegranate is too high in sugar.
  • Avoid grain carbs.  I said whole foods but really the only grain I think gets a pass is wild, purple, or brown rice.
  • Avoid foods high in Fructose.  While fructose is found in many fruits and veggies, it is much more abundant in processed foods in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, doesn’t trigger insulin in the way glucose does, but it does  mess with insulin health. Fructose itself does not increase insulin, but it does cause problems with insulin sensitivity, and fat gain during its metabolic process in the liver.  Lower fructose fruits and vegetables include most berries, nectarines, grapefruit, avocado, and tomatoes. High Fructose fruits are Bananas, apples, and pears for example.
  • “The best source of fibrous low-glycemic foods are strawberries, blueberries, bilberries, raspberries, cherries, kale, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, green beans, asparagus, cucumber, spinach, peppers, zucchini.” – Charles Poliquin


Eating Your Carbs at the Right Times.

  • Have carb meals on carb days.  If you are struggling with insulin resistance try saving most of your carbs for 2-3 meals over the weekend.  During the week you should stick to lots of veggies for your carbs.
  • Eat carbs later in the day, but not right before bed.  You should have your carb meal about 4-6 hours before bedtime.  This allows for optimal energy levels and optimal sleep
  • Eat your carbs with glycemic controlling foods.  “Research indicates some of the most effective foods for lowering glycemic response are nuts, fenugreek, cinnamon, strawberries, bilberries, and raspberries. Always try to eat one of these foods or herbs when you eat high-glycemic carbs.” – Charles Poliquin
  • Know when you are more carb sensitive.  You are the most carb sensitive after exercise because you have up-regulated your GLUT 4 transporters discussed in 102.  This means you can store more carbs in lean muscle at this time versus fat.  First thing in the morning you are also slightly more sensitive, but you a better off avoid carbs early in the day.
  • Eat carbs with high fiber meals, not high fat meals.  Fat and carbs can have a synergistic effect of increasing insulin.  This is also not a combination of nutrients are bodies are very adapt to dealing with.  The only fats that go well with carbs are omega 3’s.  Otherwise try and use more fats with your high protein meals and more fiber with your carbohydrate meals.