It was heartening to see the interest and views PART ONE of ’14 Ways To Reduce Insulin Levels’ received. Good to know people are becoming aware of the impact insulin has on cravings and fat loss or fat gain.
PART TWO: 14 WAYS TO REDUCE INSULIN:
7. STAY AWAY FROM REFINED CARBS
Refined carbs are a major part of many people’s diets. However, it is found that consuming them regularly can lead to several health problems. These include high insulin levels and weight gain . Furthermore, refined carbs have a high G.I. The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that measures a specific food’s capacity to raise blood sugar. Glycemic Load takes into account a food’s glycemic index, as well as the amount of digestible carbs contained in a serving. Studies have compared foods with different glycemic loads and found that eating a high-glycemic load food raises your insulin levels more than eating the same portion of a low-glycemic load food, even if the carb contents of the two foods are similar. In one study, overweight people followed one of two unrestricted-calorie diets for 10 weeks. After a test meal, the high-GI group had higher insulin levels than the low-GI group. Bottom Line: Replacing refined carbs, which are digested and absorbed quickly, with slower-digesting whole foods may help lower insulin levels.
8. AVOID SEDENTARY BEHAVIOUR
In order to reduce insulin levels, it’s important to live an active lifestyle. One study of over 1,600 people found that those who were the most sedentary were nearly twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome as those who performed moderate activity at least 150 minutes per week. Other studies show that getting up and walking around, rather than sitting for prolonged periods, can help keep insulin levels from spiking after a meal.
A 12-week study in middle-aged sedentary women found that women who walked for 20 minutes after a large meal had increased insulin sensitivity, compared to women who didn’t walk after a meal. In addition, the walking group became more fit and lost body fat. Bottom Line: Avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing the amount of time you spend walking or doing other moderate activities can reduce insulin levels.
9. TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent fasting has become very popular for weight loss. Research suggests it may help reduce insulin levels as effectively as daily calorie restriction. One study found that obese women lost weight and had other health improvements following calorie-restricted intermittent fasting with either liquid or solid meals. However, only the liquid diet significantly reduced fasting insulin levels. Alternate-day fasting involves fasting or dramatically reducing calories one day and eating normally the following day. Some studies have found it effectively lowers insulin levels. In one study, 26 people who fasted every other day for 22 days experienced an impressive 57% decrease in fasting insulin levels, on average. Although many people find intermittent fasting beneficial and enjoyable, it doesn’t work for everyone. Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting may help reduce insulin levels. However, this way of eating may not suit everyone.
10. INCREASE SOLUBLE FIBRE INTAKE
Soluble fiber provides a number of health benefits, including helping with weight loss and reducing blood sugar levels. It absorbs water and forms a gel, which slows down the movement of food through the digestive tract. This promotes feelings of fullness and keeps blood sugar and insulin from rising too quickly after a meal. One study found women who ate the highest amount of soluble fiber were half as likely to be insulin resistant as women who ate the least amount of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber also helps feed the friendly bacteria that live in your colon, which may improve gut health and reduce insulin resistance. In a six-week controlled study of obese older women, those who took flaxseed experienced greater increases in insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels than women who took a probiotic or placebo.
Overall, fiber from whole foods appears to be more effective at reducing insulin than fiber in supplement form. Another study found insulin decreased when people consumed black beans but not when they took a fiber supplement. Bottom Line: Soluble fiber, especially from whole foods, has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels, particularly in people with obesity or type 2 diabetes.
11. LOSE BELLY FAT
Belly fat, also known as visceral or abdominal fat, is linked to many health problems. Too much fat around your abdomen promotes inflammation and insulin resistance, which drives hyperinsulinemia. Studies show that decreasing belly fat leads to increased insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels. Another study found that people who lost abdominal fat retained the benefits for insulin sensitivity, even after regaining a portion of the belly fat back. Unfortunately, people with high insulin levels often find it very difficult to lose weight. Bottom Line: Losing belly fat can increase insulin sensitivity and help reduce your insulin levels.
12. DRINK GREEN TEA
Green tea is an incredibly healthy beverage. It contains high amounts of an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Several studies suggest it may help fight insulin resistance. In one study, people with high insulin levels who took green tea extract experienced a small decrease in insulin over 12 months, while those who took a placebo had an increase. Green tea was found to significantly lower fasting insulin levels in some studies however not all high-quality studies show that green tea reduces insulin levels or increases insulin sensitivity.
Bottom Line: Several studies have found that green tea may increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels.
13. EAT FATTY FISH
There are many reasons to consume fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and anchovies. They provide high-quality protein, and are by far the best sources of long-chain omega-3 fats, which have all sorts of benefits. They may also help reduce insulin resistance in people with obesity, gestational diabetes and PCOS. One study in women with PCOS found a significant 8.4% decrease in insulin levels in a group who took fish oil, compared to a group who took placebo. Another study in obese children and adolescents showed that taking fish oil supplements significantly reduced insulin resistance and triglyceride levels. Bottom Line: The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may help reduce insulin resistance and insulin levels
14. GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT AND TYPE OF PROTEIN
Consuming adequate protein at meals can be beneficial for controlling your weight and insulin levels. In one study, overweight older women had lower insulin levels after consuming a high-protein breakfast compared to a low-protein breakfast, also felt fuller and ate fewer calories at lunch. However, protein does stimulate insulin production so that your muscles can take up amino acids. Therefore, eating very high amounts will lead to higher insulin levels. Some types of protein also appear to cause greater insulin responses than others. One study found that whey and casein protein in dairy products raised insulin levels even higher than bread in healthy people. However, the insulin response to dairy proteins may be somewhat individual. Another study in obese adults showed a high-dairy diet led to higher fasting insulin levels than a high-beef diet. Bottom Line: Avoiding excessive amounts of protein, especially dairy protein, can help prevent insulin levels from rising too high after meals.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
High insulin levels can lead to many health problems. Taking steps to increase your insulin sensitivity and decrease your insulin levels may help you lose weight, lower your risk of disease and increase your quality of life.