Insulin Resistance (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Robert Ferry Jr., MD
Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
In this Article
- Insulin resistance definition and facts
- What is insulin resistance?
- What are the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance?
- What causes insulin resistance?
- What is the relationship between insulin resistance and diabetes?
- What are normal insulin levels?
- What medical conditions are associated with insulin resistance?
- Who is at risk for insulin resistance?
- Which specialties of doctors treat insulin resistance?
- Is there a test for insulin resistance?
- Can insulin resistance be cured?
- Is there a special diet plan for treating insulin resistance?
- What foods help prevent type 2 diabetes?
- What about exercise to treat insulin resistance?
- What medications treat insulin resistance?
- Can insulin resistance be prevented?
- What is the prognosis for a person with insulin resistance?
- What's new in insulin resistance?
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
Is there a special diet plan for treating insulin resistance?
The need for insulin can be reduced by altering the diet, particularly the carbohydrates in the diet. Carbohydrates are absorbed into the body as they are broken up into their component sugars. Some carbohydrates break and absorb faster than others; these are referred to having a high glycemic index. These carbohydrates increase the blood glucose level more rapidly and require the secretion of more insulin to control the level of glucose in the blood.
Examples of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index that rapidly raise blood glucose levels include:
- Unrefined sugars (such as fruit juice and table sugar)
- White bread
- Unrefined corn and potato products (such as bagels, mashed potatoes, doughnuts, corn chips, and French fries)
Examples of foods with a low glycemic index include:
- Foods with higher fiber content (such as whole grain breads and brown rice)
- Non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, green beans, asparagus, carrots, and greens). These are low in calories and in total carbohydrates, and contain vitamins and fiber.
Since foods are rarely eaten in isolation, it can be argued that the glycemic index of each food is less important than the overall profile of the whole meal and associated drinks.
What foods help prevent type 2 diabetes?
Foods that are particularly helpful for people trying to prevent type 2 diabetes and maintain a healthy weight are similar to the low glycemic index foods described above:
- Vegetables and fruits, which provide fiber and vitamins
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy products to provide calcium and strengthen bones. Full-fat dairy products should be avoided as high-fat foods can worsen insulin resistance.
- Whole-grain products, which have a lower glycemic index than refined grains and are rich in fiber
- Nuts, which contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats
- Fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, or sardines, is a source of "good" (heart-healthy) fats
- Lean meats or beans are an excellent source of protein
Several studies have confirmed that weight loss - and even aerobic exercise without weight loss - increases the rate at which glucose is taken from the blood by muscle cells as a result of improved sensitivity.
What about exercise to treat insulin resistance?
Two important studies have assessed ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Both assessed patients who could not control their blood glucose levels, which, for the purposes of this discussion, can be considered the same as patients with insulin resistance. One study, performed in Finland, showed that changes in diet and exercise reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58%. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study performed in the U.S., showed a similar reduction in type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise.
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