Insulin Resistance Part II: How to Manage/Regulate Blood Sugar
How to Manage/Regulate Blood Sugar
The primary goal of this meal plan is to focus on blood sugar regulation through better food choices, moderate exercise and stress management. Insulin resistance is clearly caused by poor food choices, namely, overconsumption of refined carbohydrates and poor quality fats, and lack of exercise leading to weight gain and other risk factors (see previous post on Insulin Resistance).
Insulin is a stress hormone and when under stress the body will produce more insulin to deal with the impending danger. Chronic stress will lead overtaxing of the pancreas as well as the adrenals which can contribute to blood sugar regulation issues including insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Eating a whole food, nutrient rich diet, high in lean protein and good quality fats and low in carbohydrates, especially refined or processed carbohydrates is the best plan for stabilizing blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance. There are several eating plans that follow the above criteria including Eating for Health, Mediterranean, culture-congruent cuisine, Paleolithic and the Zone Diet. And while all of these plans follow a low carb approach, the Eating for Health model allows for the most flexibility for the client as it does not remove entire food groups from the diet. The key is the elimination of refined carbohydrates and poor quality fats, while limiting the intake of gluten, soy, and corn, chocolate, dairy, caffeine, grains and starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets, and increasing the intake of non-starchy vegetables, leafy vegetables, low glycemic fruits and booster foods.
Following a building diet using the Eating for Health model will ensure the right combination of protein (25- 30%), fat (30-40%) and carbohydrates (30-45%). Increasing vitamin and mineral rich foods will not only provide clean, unrefined carbohydrates but also the co- factors necessary for insulin and energy production as well as much needed fiber.
The following guidelines will assist with blood sugar management:
1) Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily to keep blood sugar level
2) Each meal and snack should have protein, fat and carbohydrates
3) Eat within 1 hour of waking, never skip breakfast, have protein at breakfast
4) Make sure there is 1-2 Tbsps. of fat at each meal. Choose foods that naturally have fat instead of adding fat to foods.
5) Eat approximately 1 POUND of non-starchy vegetables DAILY
6) Eat before getting hungry. If you are hungry, you have already run out of fuel.
An analysis of one day of the sample meal plan revealed a macronutrient breakdown of 28% protein (132 grams), 37.6% fat (64 grams) and 34.4% carbohydrates (107 grams) and a micronutrient breakdown of 514mg of Vitamin C, 121 mg of Folate, 35 mg zinc, 77 mg Vitamin B6, 109 mg selenium and 96 mcg B12. While the macronutrients are right on track the amounts of micronutrients could be improved upon with additional supplementation.
Breakfast: Plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon, walnuts and cranberries and 1-2 hard-boiled eggs (351 calories, 18 g carbs, 20 g fat, 30 g protein)
Snack: Fresh berries and cottage cheese (170 cal, 17/1/25)
Lunch: Roasted chicken breast, steamed broccoli and roasted beets (307 cal,
Dinner: Grilled salmon salad with avocado and tomato slices and dill vinaigrette (474 cal, 20/31/32)
Snack: Quinoa or brown rice pudding (187 cal, 28/3/4)
Fat 64 37.6%
Carbohydrates: 107 34.4%
Protein: 132 28%
Foods to Increase
VITAMIN/MINERAL RICH FOODS-provide important nutrient co-factors for insulin and energy production.
Foods rich in B complex: Nutritional yeast, egg yolks, peanuts, mushrooms, oats, soybeans, split peas, whole grains, legumes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, organ meats
Foods rich in Vitamin C: Apples, citrus, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, strawberries, cantaloupe, kale, green powders.
Foods rich in potassium: celery, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, spinach, beets, asparagus, cabbage, barley, cherries, ginger, garlic, sea vegetables, green powders.
Foods rich in zinc: oysters, Crimini mushrooms, spinach, pumpkin seeds, beef, lamb
Foods rich in magnesium: Swiss chard, broccoli, raw pumpkin seeds, summer squash, black strap molasses, sea vegetables and green powders.
BENEFICIAL FATS – Monounsaturated and some saturated fatty acids appear to confer the greatest benefits for glucose stabilization. Excess Omega 6 fats from polyunsaturated oils appear to be very damaging to both glucose and lipid management.
Beneficial fats: Olives, avocado, nuts/seeds and their butters, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and coconut milk, wild cold-water fish, grass fed beef, pastured poultry, and organic raw butter.
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES such as broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, beet greens and dandelion greens provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
Foods to Decrease
Refined carbohydrates, Omega 6 fatty acids, Artificial Sweeteners
Supplemental and Herbal Support
Biotin enhances insulin sensitivity and increases production of glucokinase, the enzyme in the first step of glucose utilization is the liver. Recommended dose: 9-16 mg daily
Magnesium improves insulin response and action and glucose tolerance. Recommended dose: 500-1000 mg daily
Antioxidants quench inflammation especially Vitamin C and E Recommended dose: Vitamin C 500-1500 mg daily with bioflavonoids, Vitamin E 400-800 IU daily, Alpha lipoic acid 300-600 mg 3 times daily
Chromium is widely used by people with diabetes to improve their insulin sensitivity and better manage their blood sugar. Recommended dose: 50 to 200 mcg of elemental chromium. Chromium nicotinate and chromium picolinate may be more bioavailable than chromium chloride
Gymnema when applied to the tongue, it will temporarily suppress one’s ability to taste sugar. Recommended dose: 400-800 mg daily
Exercise, Sleep and Stress Management:
Regular exercise of 30 minutes or more per day, 3–5 times a week is also beneficial for regulating metabolic function and hormonal balance. Start with walking, and then add cardio burst and strength training.
Decreasing stress, thereby lessening strain on the adrenal glands will result in better overall health and contribute to keeping the body’s insulin levels in check.
Stopping smoking, moderating alcohol intake and proper sleeping habits will help to alleviate blood chemistry surges, which in turn will promote a thriving, well-balanced body. 8-9 hours of refreshing sleep is anabolic and can improve muscle growth and metabolic function.
Journaling, conscious chewing and deep breathing can be helpful in gaining insight and awareness into eating habits and behaviors.
If you believe you have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, please contact me for more information about diet, exercise, supplementation or diet.
American Diabetic Association (ADA). (2006). Total prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes- statistics/prevalence.jsp
Bauman, E. and Friedlander, J. (2011). Therapeutic Nutrition-Part One. Penngrove, CA Bauman College
Murray, M. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Roseville, CA Prima
Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., and Pizzorno, l. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria Books
WebMD (2010, copyright). Insulin resistance and diabetes. Retrieved fromhttp://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/insulin-resistance-syndrome