Best Intermittent Fasting Schedules To Reduce Insulin Resistance
Popular intermittent fasting protocols range from fasting a few hours each day, fasting every other day, or doing a modified fast a few days of the week. So, theres not a single, best way to fast to improve your insulin sensitivity. Studies conducted on humans show the best type of IF schedule is the one that works for you.
One 2018 study showed a 18:6 fasting protocol , improved insulin sensitivity in men with prediabetes. Another smaller study of patients with diabetes showed that various schedules of 24-hour fasts were beneficial to reducing insulin resistance. This review of 12 studies of patients following some form of IF showed insulin sensitivity improved, regardless of the type of fasting protocol they followed.
IF is flexible. According to Jason Fung MD, founder of The Fasting Method, the most crucial factor of an IF diet is the fasted state will lower your insulin levels. The style of intermittent fasting that fits your lifestyle and is easiest to maintain will be your most effective way to fast for better insulin sensitivity.
How To Treat Insulin Resistance
This article was co-authored by Damaris Vega, MD and by wikiHow staff writer, Jessica Gibson. Dr. Damaris Vega is a board certified Endocrinologist. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico with a BS in General Science and subsequently earned an MD from the Ponce School of Medicine, Ponce, PR. During medical school, Dr. Vega served as president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and was selected as her school’s representative for the American Association of Medical Colleges. She then completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes, Mineral, and Metabolism at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Vega has been recognized for excellent patient care multiple times by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and received the Patients’ Choice Award in 2008, 2009, and 2015. She is a fellow of the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists and is an active member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Diabetes Association, and the Endocrine Society. Dr. Vega is also the founder and CEO of Houston Endocrinology Center as well as a principal investigator for multiple clinical trials at Juno Research, LLC.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 20,765 times.
What Is The Difference Between Insulin Resistance And Diabetes
Anyone can develop insulin resistance temporarily or chronically. Over time, chronic insulin resistance can lead to prediabetes and then Type 2 diabetes if its not treated or able to be treated.
Prediabetes happens when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes usually occurs in people who already have some insulin resistance.
Prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes , the most common type of diabetes. T2D happens when your pancreas doesnt make enough insulin or your body doesnt use insulin well , resulting in high blood glucose levels.
Type 1 diabetes happens when your bodys immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas for an unknown reason. T1D is an autoimmune and chronic disease, and people with T1D have to inject synthetic insulin to live and be healthy. While T1D is not caused by insulin resistance, people with T1D can experience levels of insulin resistance in which their cells dont respond well to the insulin they inject.
Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. Its caused by insulin resistance thats due to the hormones the placenta makes. Gestational diabetes goes away once you deliver your baby. Approximately 3% to 8% of all people who are pregnant people in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
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Can Insulin Resistance Be Reversed
The answer to this isnt as cut and dry as one would hope. It is possible to become more sensitive to insulin, but insulin resistance can really only be reversed in those who are overweight or obese. Insulin resistance in someone who is overweight or obese can be reversed with weight loss, says Dr. Lonier. She also says there is a genetic component, too. Meanwhile, Dr. Bendix agrees, stating that insulin resistance is usually secondary to obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits. Though he does say insulin resistance can occur due to some medications such as steroids and psychotropics use for psychiatric disorders. If you believe one of these medications might be causing insulin resistance, its best to discuss it with your medical team before stopping the use of any medications.
So for the most part, your best bet to combat insulin resistance is to strive to maintain a normal weight and lead an active lifestyle.
Ways To Naturally Reduce Insulin Resistance
*Editors Note: The content of this piece reflects the strategies that have worked for the author in her Type 1 diabetes management. Beyond Type 1 recognizes that this is advice based on experience rather than peer-reviewed science + that everyone is different when it comes to Type 1.
For Type 1 diabetics, we face what seems like millions of decisions a day that will have some kind of effect on our blood glucose levels. I know that when my BGs are stable or when my carb counting is on point, I feel like Ive won the T1D lotto. Ive spent the past four years since my diagnosis in 2012, experimenting with different methods to stabilizing my numbers without relying primarily on insulin. My motivation for aggressively seeking out new tips and tricks is simply as a means to avoid the way I feel after my numbers have been on a rollercoaster.
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Cook With Saturated Fats Instead Of Vegetable Oils
Removing vegetable oils is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Not only are they directly linked to cancer and Alzheimers, they also cause insulin resistance.
In this study, mice were placed on a high fat diet . One group consumed olive oil and the other consumed vegetable oils.
The group of mice consuming vegetable oils developed insulin resistance.
Another study showed that vegetable oils damage the GLUT4 transporter, which ultimately reduces the efficacy of insulin
Instead, cook with natural fats like beef tallow, butter and ghee.
Insulin Resistance Diet Foods To Choose
Overall you want to focus on whole, unprocessed foods and avoid highly processed foods.
Highly processed foods like white bread, soda and white rice raise your blood sugar levels quickly. The pancreas makes more insulin and this adds stress to it.
The type of fat you intake is also important. Unsaturated fats are heart-healthy, whereas saturated fats may contribute to insulin resistance.
Foods high in fiber can also slow down your digestion, meaning your blog sugars dont spike so much.
Your diet should predominantly be made up of the following food categories:
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Dangers Of Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance causes an imbalance between the storage and uptake of glucose in your cells, and causes a high concentration of sugar in your blood. When your blood sugar levels rise above a healthy range, it puts you at risk of diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease classified by having chronically high blood sugar. If your blood sugar rises above normal levels, but isnt high enough to signify diabetes, your doctor will refer to it as prediabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , roughly one in three Americans are prediabetic.
Insulin Resistance Treatment And Prevention
You can take steps to reverse insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes:
- Exercise. Go for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity 5 or more days a week. If you’re not active now, work up to that.
- Get to a healthy weight. If you’re not sure what you should weigh or how to reach a weight loss goal, ask your doctor. You may also want to talk with a nutritionist and a certified personal trainer.
- Eat a healthy diet. Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, legumes, and other lean protein.
- Take medications. Your doctor may prescribe a medication called metformin to help keep your blood sugar in check.
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What Effect Does Alpha Lipoic Acid Have On The Body
Doctorsthink that alpha lipoic acid supplements play several different roles to support overall health, including:
-Antioxidant effects: As an antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid helps to scavenge free radicals that would otherwise damage cells in the body. Further, alpha lipoic acid appears to help the body create its own antioxidants.
-Chelating effects: Evidence suggests that alpha lipoic acid may bind metal ions that could damage cells
-Cell signaling: Alpha lipoic acid can change the way that cells communicate with each other. Expertsthink this is likely the main way it may help fight insulin resistance.
Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Safe to Use?
Severalstudies, including the ALADIN, SYDNEY and ORPIL clinical trials, have investigated the safety of alpha lipoic acid. The supplement has been used up to a high total daily dose of 2400 mg in those trials with no side effects when compared to a placebo. In addition, the supplement has been used internationally, including in Germany, for decades.
That said, because the supplement can lower your blood sugar levels, you should use it cautiously if you are already taking medication to control your blood sugar.
Insulin Resistance: Dealing With The Diagnosis
When my daughter was a pre-teen, her routine blood glucose test came back a little high. Her pediatrician had her undergo a special test called a fasting blood glucose test, which was followed by a series of other tests. The results prompted her doctor to come back with a chilling diagnosis: insulin resistance.
As a pediatric nurse, I was familiar with the topic of diabetes and insulin resistance, but this was a frightening diagnosis. My daughter was very upset, thinking she now had a terrible disease. And both my husband and daughter turned to me for ways to deal with this new diagnosis.
What is insulin resistance?
It’s a condition in which the hormone, insulin, becomes less effective at managing sugar levels in the blood glucose after eating or drinking anything that contains a simple sugar.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and acts to open the doors of the cells, taking glucose out of the bloodstream and putting it into the cells for energy. When cells don’t respond enough to insulin, blood glucose levels rise as a result.
How serious is insulin resistance?
The presence of insulin resistance typically precedes the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, previously known as adult onset diabetes. When an individual has diabetes, his or her pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood sugars level. This is a chronic disease which can result in a number of side effects and disabilities.
How do I know if my child has insulin resistance?
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Favorite Resource For Diabetes Education
If insulin resistance has led you to be diagnosed with diabetes or you want to be educated if that day comes, enroll in a program led by Joslin Diabetes Center experts. The 12-week Why Wait program is designed to help you meet your weight goals, which could improve your bodys sensitivity to insulin.
How Can Diet Affect Insulin Resistance
Your diet has a big impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels. Highly processed, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods require more insulin.
In general, eating foods that have a low to medium glycemic index and limiting foods that have a high glycemic index can help you reverse and/or manage insulin resistance. Eating foods with fiber also helps regulate blood sugar levels because it takes your body longer to digest fiber, meaning your blood sugar levels dont spike as much.
The glycemic index is a measurement that ranks foods containing carbohydrates according to how much they affect your blood sugar levels. The Glycemic Index Foundation classifies the GI of foods as either low, medium or high, with pure glucose generally as a reference at 100:
- Low GI: 55 or less.
- Medium GI: 5669.
- High GI: 70 or greater
High-GI foods generally have a lot of carbohydrates and/or sugar and low to no fiber content. Low-GI foods generally have low amounts of carbohydrates and higher amounts of fiber.
Examples of foods with a high GI include:
- White bread.
- Indigenous people from the continental United States.
- Indigenous people from the Pacific Islands.
Although you cant change certain risk factors for insulin resistance, such as family history or age, you can try lowering your chances of developing it by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
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Insulin Takes Sugar Out Of Your Blood And Stores It In Muscles Fat Cells And The Liver For Later Use
Even though its helpful for your cells to take in blood sugar for energy, they dont need immediate access to that sugar all the time. In fact, insulin will take any extra blood sugar that your cells cant use right away and send it to your muscle cells, fat cells, and liver to be stored for later use. When its stored, the original form of sugar, glucose, becomes another form of sugar known as glycogen.
What Are The Complications Of Insulin Resistance
High blood sugar levels can contribute to several complications associated with insulin resistance. One of the most severe complications is a condition called metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome. This chronic condition involves a combination of:
high blood sugar
excess body fat around the waist
Insulin resistance can also lead to each of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome individually.
Metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes are the most common complications of insulin resistance. Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes result from high blood sugar levels that may have to be controlled with medications if changing your diet and exercising arent enough. These complications are especially serious because they increase your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
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Eat More Resistant Starches
Reach for resistant starches, says Kara Landau, RD, of Uplift Food. These are carbohydrates that resist digestion in the small intestine. Sounds confusing, right? These foods actually ferment in the large intestine, acting as a prebiotic, thus increasing the growth of good bacteria in our gut.
So how does this help with insulin resistance? Foods filled with resistant starch are particularly valuable for those who suffer from insulin resistance due to the fact that resistant starches have been shown to help make our cells more responsive to insulin, says Landau.
These foods can aid in blood sugar regulation all while making you feel fuller faster which is particularly important for patients with diabetes, who may have constant cravings for food. To eat resistant starches, youll want to fill your kitchen with cassava, plantains, potatoes, oats, peas, and chickpeas.
Ways To Combat Menopausal Weight Gain Due To Insulin Resistance
Many women find that they gain weight sometimes a significant amount during menopause. And, to make matters worse, their old tried and true ways of getting the weight off simply dont work.
There are many theories regarding the causes of weight gain at menopause. Its a complex issue that includes a combination of poor diet sedentary lifestyle, stress, and many other factors. But, the truth is, whatever the underlying cause, insulin resistance is the primary driver of menopausal weight gain. And, the key to reversing it and achieving lasting weight loss is to keep insulin levels low.
Now, to be clear, menopause does not cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the result of overall poor hormonal health. If you are struggling with post-menopausal insulin resistance and weight gain here are some additional recommendations:
Have you ever been diagnosed with insulin resistance? What have you done to reverse it?
Additional Resources from Dr. Northrup
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What Does Insulin Do In The Body
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar and is made by an organ known as the pancreas that sits behind your stomach. Your pancreas sends insulin into your bloodstream after you eat or if it detects that your blood sugar levels are high.
Once insulin enters your blood, it has 2 major jobs:
Tip For Reversal #: Eat Fewer Carbohydrates
An unbalanced diet high in carbohydrates, especially if youre eating a lot of ultra-processed foods, can cause your blood sugar to spike, signaling for your body to release more insulin. When youre insulin resistant, your body doesnt respond to insulin effectively and sugars remain in your bloodstream rather than being released to cells for energy.
If youre currently eating an especially high-carbohydrate diet, substituting some of those carbs with healthy fats and lean proteins can improve insulin sensitivity. In a 2016 study, researchers found that a low-carbohydrate diet reduced evening insulin resistance by 37% without exercise compared to a high-carbohydrate diet.
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