Since so many people worldwide are insulin resistent and suffering various ailments due to it, I thought I’d share this informative article by Franziska Spritzler, that I came across. If we understand and know how to keep insulin levels lower, perhaps we would be better able to improve our health and lose weight effectively.
Insulin is an extremely important hormone that’s produced by your pancreas. It has many functions, such as allowing your cells to take in sugar from your blood for energy. However, too much insulin can lead to serious health problems. Having high levels, also known as hyperinsulinemia, has been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer. High blood insulin levels also cause your cells to become resistant to the hormone’s effects. When you become insulin resistant, your pancreas produces even more insulin, creating a vicious cycle.
Here are 14 things you can do to lower your insulin levels.
PART ONE: (6 Tips of 14)
1. Follow a Low-Carb Diet
Of the three macronutrients — carbs, protein and fat — carbs raise blood sugar and insulin levels the most. For this and other reasons, low-carb diets can be very effective for losing weight and controlling diabetes. Many studies have confirmed their ability to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity, compared to other diets. People with health conditions characterized by insulin resistance, such as metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may experience a dramatic lowering of insulin with carb restriction. In one study, individuals with metabolic syndrome were randomized to receive either a low-fat or low-carb diet containing 1,500 calories. Insulin levels dropped by an average of 50% in the low-carb group, compared to 19% in the low-fat group. In another study, when women with PCOS ate a lower-carb diet containing enough calories to maintain their weight, they experienced greater reductions in insulin levels than when they ate a higher-carb diet.
Bottom Line: Low-carb diets have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels in people with obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and PCOS.
2. Take Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been credited with preventing insulin and blood sugar spikes after eating. This has been shown to mainly occur when vinegar is taken with high-carb foods. A small study found that people who took about 2 tablespoons (28 ml) of vinegar with a high-carb meal experienced lower insulin levels and greater feelings of fullness 30 minutes after the meal. Researchers believed this effect was partly due to vinegar’s ability to delay stomach emptying, leading to a more gradual absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
Bottom Line: Vinegar may help prevent high insulin levels after you consume meals or foods high in carbs.
3. Watch Portion Sizes
Although the pancreas releases different amounts of insulin depending on the type of food you eat, eating too much of any food at one time can lead to hyperinsulinemia. This is especially a concern in obese people with insulin resistance. In one study, insulin-resistant obese people who consumed a 1,300-calorie meal had twice the increase in insulin as lean people who consumed the same meal. They also experienced nearly twice the increase in insulin as obese people who were considered “metabolically healthy”. Consuming fewer calories has consistently been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels.
Bottom Line: Reducing calorie intake by portion control or counting calories can lead to lower insulin levels in overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
4. Avoid All Forms of Sugar
Sugar may very well be the most important food to stay away from if you’re trying to lower your insulin levels. In one study where people over-ate either candy or peanuts, the candy group experienced a 31% increase in fasting insulin levels, compared to a 12% increase in the peanut group. In another study, when people consumed jams containing high amounts of sugar, their insulin levels rose significantly more than after consuming low-sugar jams. Fructose is found in table sugar, honey, high-fructose corn syrup, agave and syrup. Consuming large quantities of it promotes insulin resistance, which ultimately drives insulin levels higher. One study found that people had similar insulin responses after consuming 50 grams of table sugar, honey or high-fructose corn syrup every day for 14 days. In another study, overweight people who added high-sugar foods to their usual diet experienced a 22% increase in fasting insulin levels. In contrast, the group who added artificially sweetened foods to their usual diet experienced a 3% decrease in fasting insulin levels.
Bottom Line: A high intake of sugar in any form has been shown to increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance.
5. Exercise Regularly
Engaging in regular physical activity can have powerful insulin-lowering effects. Aerobic exercise appears to be very effective at increasing insulin sensitivity in people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes. One study compared two groups. One performed sustained aerobic exercise, and the other performed high-intensity interval training. The study found that although both groups experienced improvements in fitness, only the group that performed sustained aerobic activity experienced significantly lower insulin levels . There’s also research showing that resistance training can help decrease insulin levels in older and sedentary adults. Combining aerobic and resistance exercise seems to be the most effective and has been shown to most greatly affect insulin sensitivity and levels.
Bottom Line: Aerobic exercise, strength training or a combination of both may help increase insulin sensitivity and lower your levels.
6. Add Cinnamon to Foods and Beverages
Cinnamon is a delicious spice loaded with health-promoting antioxidants. Studies in healthy people and those with insulin resistance suggest that taking cinnamon may enhance insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels. In one study, healthy people who consumed about 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon in rice pudding had significantly lower insulin responses than when they ate rice pudding without cinnamon. In another small study, young men who consumed a high-sugar drink after taking cinnamon for 14 days experienced lower insulin levels than when they consumed the drink after taking a placebo for 14 days. It’s important to note that not all studies have found that cinnamon lowers your levels or increases insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon’s effects may vary from person to person. However, including up to one teaspoon (2 grams) per day may provide other health benefits, even if it doesn’t reduce your levels significantly.
Bottom Line: Some studies have found that adding cinnamon to foods or beverages lowers insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity.
(Tips 7 till 14 to follow in next post soon.)