People with health conditions like type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome may have been advised about the value of an insulin-resistance diet.
But this way of eating can benefit most people interested in balancing blood sugars, whether that’s to help treat or prevent chronic conditions, or just to gain more energy and better mood control.
“An ‘insulin-resistant diet’ is a diet or eating plan that supports balanced blood sugars in the body,” explains Rahaf Al Bochi, a registered dietitian and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition in Duluth, Ga.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream enter into cells, explains Al Bochi, who is also a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“When cells don’t respond to insulin anymore, they are ‘insulin resistant’ and blood sugars can rise,” she shares.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains it this way: Some people build up a tolerance to insulin, requiring more to get muscle, fat and liver cells to take up glucose. It can be chronic or temporary, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Why this develops is not clear, but reasons can include genes, age, inflammation, other physiological stress and some medications. Lifestyle, too, such as being inactive or overweight can play a role.
A recent study of hibernating bears may eventually improve understanding about human diabetes, especially type 2, which is the most common form in people. Insulin resistance is a precursor to that disease and is affected by obesity and inactivity.
But a person doesn’t have to be overweight to have insulin resistance, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
RELATED: What Is Insulin?
What is a diet for insulin resistance?
The best diet for insulin resistance aims to pair carbohydrate foods with protein and fat, Al Bochi says.
Protein and fat foods might include meat, chicken, fish, cheese, avocado, oil, beans, nuts and seeds. Carbohydrates could include