If you want to lose 10 or even 100 pounds, this article will show you how insulin affects weight loss and how to improve insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. It’s produced by the pancreas.
Its function is to convert the sugar from carbohydrates, protein, and fats into energy and store the excess as glycogen for future use.
Sometimes the cells become resistant to insulin. This means they need higher amounts of insulin to absorb blood sugar.
Common causes of insulin resistance include obesity, stress, a high-sugar diet, and so on.
Insulin resistance hinders the conversion of sugar into energy leading to hyperglycemia.
This is a state where there is excess sugar in your body leading to complications like diabetes or obesity.
Excess sugar means more fat storage in blood vessels and organs.
What can you do to ensure your blood sugar levels are in check? Improve your insulin sensitivity.
Here are a few ways you can improve your insulin sensitivity.
How to Improve Insulin Sensitivity
1. Watch Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is not your friend. Even diet drinks or foods that claim to be sugar-free may be deceiving.
Sugar or added sugar spikes your glucose levels, which consequently raises your insulin levels.
The blood sugar spike also boosts your energy and makes you feel good.
However, after a few minutes, your blood sugar drops, leaving you in a slump, which makes you crave more sugar in order to boost your energy levels.
As this cycle continues, your pancreas produces more and more insulin.
With time, your cells stop responding to insulin as they did before due to frequent blood sugar spikes.
Cutting back of table sugar and sugar-containing foods and drinks will reduce blood sugar spikes, and as a result, improve your insulin sensitivity.
Here are strategies you can use to quit sugar cold turkey.
2. Restrict Processed Carbs Intake
Diet experts and fanatics have demonized carbs as the leading cause of obesity and diabetes but carbs are your friend.
The body needs those carbs to provide energy for digestion and brain function.
Carbs also fuel the strength training and cardio workouts you do.
Now, some carbs are definitely bad for you. Stay away from processed and simple carbs.
Things like cakes, potato crisps, and other foods with added sugar will spike your blood sugar levels.
Instead, eat complex carbs like sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, corn, and so on.
3. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, flavonoids, and nutrients that help lower the risk of numerous disease conditions.
The catechins found in green tea help reduce blood sugar levels and improving overall insulin sensitivity.
A meta-analysis that was conducted to see the effect of green tea showed that there were favorable results in improving insulin sensitivity.
It also assisted in reducing plasma insulin concentrations. This means better regulation of blood sugar.
Drinking 3-5 cups of green tea every day after meals can assist in weight loss.
Matcha green tea has been found to be the most effective for weight loss.
4. Eat More Protein
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates.
That means the production of insulin will be gradual as opposed to high-sugar foods that lead to spikes.
That’s why high-protein diets are successful in weight loss. They keep you full for longer and they don’t trigger cravings.
Make sure you eat more protein from fish and chicken, organic eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans.
5. Do Fasted Workouts
Before you go for a workout, you probably grab a pre-workout snack like a protein bar or a banana to give you some energy that can help you tap into your beast mode.
Insulin will convert that snack into fuel that you need, that means it won’t tap into the fat stores because of the available fuel.
A study investigating how potent fed state training versus fasted state training is, found that fasted training improves the glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity even on high-fat, low-carb diets.
Therefore, try working out when fasted, preferably in the morning.
6. Try Fermented Foods
A study was done to investigate how the Japanese are known to live for over 100 years, without ailing from the debilitating lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.
What was their secret? Eating fermented foods.
There’s evidence that eating foods like kimchi, fermented tofu, miso, and buttermilk can improve your insulin sensitivity.
A study done in Japan showed eating a fermented breakfast made of vegetables regulated impaired glucose tolerance and lipid profile levels in overweight people and at the same time improved insulin sensitivity.
7. Do High-Intensity Exercises
High-intensity workouts are the best for regulating insulin levels.
Most of these exercises are demanding. They not only use up all the energy from your food but also tap into glycogen stores.
Full body workouts that incorporate high-intensity exercises build muscles that are constantly using fuel. These muscles continuously burn up fat even post workout.
For every 1 pound of muscle you build, you burn 50 calories while resting. Now, imagine how much you can burn!
Combine strength training with high-intensity exercises at least three times per week.
8. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and provide nutrition that we don’t get from other food groups.
Vegetables contain polyphenols, which improve insulin sensitivity.
A study investigating an apple polyphenol extract effect on insulin found that insulin sensitivity was increased therefore leading to increased glucose uptake in the muscles.
Incorporate at least 2-3 servings of fruit per day.
Eat 1-2 cups of veggies in every meal. Here’s how you can lose weight if you hate vegetables.
9. Add Turmeric to your Meals
Turmeric is a root that’s classified as a superfood.
It helps fight diabetes, metabolic syndromes, obesity, and even cancers.
Plus, it has a compound called curcumin that helps control blood sugar.
In a review study on Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, curcumin played a role in elevating plasma insulin levels and increased the enzymes responsible for fat burn.
Make sure to add some turmeric to your stews and curries.
A pinch of black pepper increases the potency and bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2,000%.
Alternatively, you can buy this turmeric supplement, which contains black pepper.
Acceptable dietary intake set by WHO/FAO state 245mg for a person weighing 176 pounds or 1.4mg for your body weight in pounds per day.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Most people don’t realize how important sleep is for weight loss.
It has a very big impact on your metabolism and insulin levels.
Even after accounting for diet and physical exercise, all your efforts will be undone if you don’t sleep, research shows.
During sleep, the body recovers and repairs itself.
The digestion process is a very taxing process for your body, so during sleep, the body works well without interference from your daily activities.
No skimping on sleep, get the recommended 7-8 hours. It’s important.
As you can see, improving your insulin plays a vital role in weight loss. Therefore, use the strategies above to improve your insulin sensitivity.
In fact, insulin resistance is one of the many weight loss challenges addressed in the VFX program. A program designed to help women lose fat going on a diet or exercising for hours.
Do you know other ways to improve insulin sensitivity?