Insulin Resistance is when your body becomes insensitive to the hormone insulin which is secreted by your pancreas in response to glucose. If your intake of refined carbohydrates is high over a period of time along with stress, hormones, weight gain and other risk factors your organs and tissues remain unresponsive or resistant to the effect of insulin. In response your body secretes more and more insulin to overcome this resistance. Because the glucose is not being directed into the cells it remains high in the blood and can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure all measures of the Metabolic Syndrome.
This puts you at high risk for cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other chronic inflammatory diseases.
High levels of insulin also suppress the action of your fat burning hormone glucagon, leading to further weight gain around the abdominal area where insulin has a stronger effect. This type of fat is more dangerous as it is metabolically active releasing inflammatory chemicals and it accumulates around the liver, kidney, pancreas, intestine and heart.
WHAT IS LEPTIN RESISTANCE?
Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells and communicates to the brain to regulate appetite, reduce sugar cravings, signals to the liver to burn fat and the thyroid to speed up metabolism.
Leptin sensitive people are less hungry, feel full quicker, have less sugar cravings, faster metabolism, more energy and burn fat efficiently
Some causes of both insulin and leptin resistance are high glycemic carbohydrate diets, high triglycerides which bind to leptin preventing it from crossing the blood-brain barrier, chronically elevated cortisol, which is your stress hormone, lack of exercise, poor sleep habits and inflammation from chronic infection.
GENERAL DIETARY GUIDELINES:
1. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup found in soft drinks, sweets, pastries etc. Fructose bypasses the body’s normal means of metabolising sugar and so is more “lipogenic” or likely to be converted to fat. It also increases triglycerides and LDL levels, increases blood pressure and decreases leptin.
2. Eat low Glycemic carbohydrates- non starchy- refer below
3. Eat plenty of Fibre- which will lower cholesterol, reduce toxic chemicals and lower Glycemic Index of a meal eg: apples, oats, legumes, psyllium, flax seed, figs
4. Eat Anti-inflammatory fatty essential fatty acids such as cold pressed virgin olive oil, fresh flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, avocado
5. Avoid Trans-fats- found in margarine, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, rancid oils, deep fried foods and takeaways, any processed, packaged foods.
6. Reduce saturated fats- consume only lean meats, small amounts of dairy such as yogurt, feta, and fresh unsalted butter. Reduce or avoid red meat if have high homocysteine levels or cardiovascular disease.
7. Eat Quality Protein- limit grass fed organic meat once per week, fish 2 X per week, free range poultry once week, fermented soy protein such as tempeh, miso, once or twice per week, legumes, nuts and seeds and up to 4-6 free range eggs per week.
8. Eat an abundance of low Glycemic vegetables and multi-coloured low glycemic fruits and vegetables preferably organic or washed thoroughly with vinegar water solution- 9 servings per day
9. At least one serving per day of cruciferous and allium vegetables- broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy garlic, onion
10. Consume foods with an abundant Omega 3 content- ground flaxseed, walnuts, legumes, oily fish like sardines, wild salmon, tuna.
11. Drink 2-3 cups green tea per day
In simple terms to reduce insulin resistance and belly fat:
Limit your fructose to 20-25 grams per day. You consume too much fructose if you eat any amount of processed foods or sweetened beverages. Have mainly low glycemic fruits. Lemons, oranges, grapefruit, berries, peach, plum, pear, kiwi
Increase the amount of fresh vegetables in your diet. Juicing vegetables is a good way to get concentrated amounts
Avoid or limit all processed foods and any foods with trans fats
Eat at least one-third of your food uncooked (raw)- always have a raw vegetable salad with lunch and dinner.
Eliminate all gluten, and any allergenic foods from your diet
Avoid any artificial sweetners except stevia
WHAT IS THE GLYCEMIC INDEX?
Glycemic index is a measure of carbohydrate quality, in other words how much effect the carbohydrate will have on blood glucose levels. Foods containing carbs that break down quickly during digestion have high GI values- this will increase blood glucose levels rapidly
Foods containing carbs that break down slowly and release glucose gradually into the bloodstream have low GI values. These foods keep you feeling full longer.
Low GI foods control blood glucose levels by reducing secretion of the hormone insulin over the course of the day.
What influences GI values is the rate of digestion. Foods less gelatinized have a slower rate such as wholegrain pasta and oatmeal. Foods high in Amylopectin such as wheat, corn and most rice except basmati are broken down rapidly and so have a high GI rating. Foods high in Amylase such as rye, barley, oats and quinoa have a slower rate of release and so are considered low GI
Fibre slows access of enzymes to starch and slows the digestion, therefore, can lower the GI of a meal.
Acidity also lowers GI so having lemon juice, vinegar or pickled vegetables with meals can alter the speed of glucose absorption.
ZERO GI FOODS
PROTEINS- Primary- almonds, brazils, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecan, walnuts
PROTEINS-secondary- fish, shellfish, poultry, fresh meats, eggs, cheese- Eat these foods with non-starchy vegetables, a tsp of essential fatty acids and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to assist digestion
The essential fatty acids help the body to digest and utilize the protein and also offer a protective cholesterol lowering effect. Store cold pressed oils away from heat and light.
BASIC ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID DRESSING- 1 part lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar to 3/5 parts of cold pressed olive oil or flax oil. Season with fresh herbs.
VEGETABLES- Non starchy- alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, aubergine, avocado, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, courgette, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower, celery, chives, cucumber, dandelion greens, endive, green beans, green leafy vegetables, lettuce, parsley, radish, spinach, silverbeet, spring onion, tomato, watercress
refer Glycemic Index Chart