Insulin is an extremely important hormone that’s produced by your pancreas and helps the cells in your body absorb the glucose in your blood, which turns into energy that helps your cells function properly.
However, too much insulin can lead to serious health problems.
When you don’t have enough insulin, you may experience high blood sugar or type 1 diabetes. When you have too much, known as hyperinsulinemia, it can be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and cancer. The symptoms of hyperinsulinemia aren’t always noticeable because they could easily be attributed to other things.
They include sugar cravings, unusual weight gain, feeling hungry all the time, difficulty concentrating, feelings of anxiety and panic, a lack of focus, and low blood sugar.
Lowering your insulin levels is a great way to encourage fat loss as well as lower the risk of heart disease. There are many things you can do to lower your insulin levels for fat loss, pick the ones that work best for your life style and be as consistent as possible.
Follow a Low-Carb Diet
Of the three macro nutrients — carbs, protein and fat — carbs raise blood sugar and insulin levels the most.
There are several types of low-carbohydrate diets a person can choose from to lower insulin levels, depending on how many carbs they are allowed to consume. Examples include the Atkins, South Beach, the Carb Nite Solution and the Mediterranean diet, which favors carbohydrates that come from healthful, fiber-rich sources, such as wheat and beans. It also includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fish.
Engaging in regular physical activity can have powerful results including lowering insulin levels.
Fitting in 60 minutes of exercise on a daily basis or several 15- or 30-minute sessions can be very helpful. The exercise can include walking, taking an exercise class, riding a bicycle, or taking part in another physical activity that gets the heart beating faster.
Engaging in resistance training has many more health benefits to go along with lowering insulin levels. Increasing lean muscle mass with resistance training will move more of the insulin in your body in to your muscles. If you’re looking for a place to start your resistance training check out my post on weight training tips for beginners.
Cinnamon is an aromatic spice derived from the bark of several species of Cinnamomum trees and it is loaded with health-promoting antioxidants.
Studies in healthy people and those with insulin resistance suggest that taking cinnamon may enhance insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels.
One study of seven men showed taking cinnamon increased insulin sensitivity immediately after consumption, with the effect lasting at least 12 hours. (1)
Avoid Sedentary Behavior
In order to lower insulin levels, it’s important to live an active lifestyle.
One study of over 1,600 people found that those who were the most sedentary were nearly twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome as those who performed moderate activity at least 150 minutes per week (2)
Avoiding prolonged sitting and increasing the amount of time you spend walking or doing other moderate activities can lower insulin levels. If you have a job where you are required to sit at a desk for extended periods of the day you could try setting an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to get up and walk around. Go to the water cooler or cut a lap around the building, just as long as you are getting up throughout the day to move around.
Soluble fiber provides a number of health benefits, including helping with weight loss and reducing blood sugar levels. When fiber is digested, your body handles it differently than the way in which refined carbohydrates, such as white flour, are digested. A portion of the fiber simply passes through your digestive system intact. This difference means that eating foods rich in fiber is less likely to cause a spike in high blood sugar.
It also absorbs water and forms a gel, which slows down the movement of food through the digestive tract. This promotes feelings of fullness and keeps blood sugar and insulin from rising too quickly after a meal.
There are additional benefits of eating high-fiber foods:
- Antioxidants. Many of the foods that contain fiber also contain antioxidants, which are generally good for your cells and your overall health.
- Hunger control. Foods rich in fiber can help you feel full longer, staving off the hunger pangs that might lead to snacking on foods that will spike high blood sugar.
- Portion control. Because fiber fills you up, it’s easier to stick to the proper portions. In contrast, refined foods that lack fiber tend to make you crave more — making it easier to eat in excess.
The most common form of intermittent fasting is to abstain from food for 16 hours of the day and eat within an 8-hour time period. The theory is that longer fasting periods increase the body’s ability to deal with larger volumes of food. The smaller eating window has also been shown to decrease the amount of calories ingested in a 24 hour period.
Ordinary calorie restriction through any diet can lead to weight loss and make it easier to manage blood sugar. Intermittent fasting is thought to go a step further by lowering serum insulin, which triggers the body to burn stored sugar, called glycogen, along with fat, in the absence of glucose from food.
If you are looking for other resistance training and weight loss tips check out my blog where I give a fact over feelings approach to all types of fitness topics. My aim is to help people, so if you have any questions or comments you can leave them below or hit me up in one of the contact or social media links below.