Tackling Insulin Resistance Through Diet: A Practical Guide

Tackling Insulin Resistance Through Diet: A Practical Guide

My efforts at improving my insulin resistance - the root cause of almost all evil - through my food habits. There is massive amounts of scientific and medical literature that shows how insulin resistance leads to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, PCOS, and is now implicated even in Alzheimer’s and many other diseases.

Insulin resistance is a complex phenomenon which a short post like this will not do justice to. Instead, I will use this post to discuss practical ways to avoid becoming insulin resistant by specifically focusing on diet. Within that, I will focus on protein intake and leave carbohydrate and fat intake for subsequent posts. Protein seems like an odd choice to begin with, given that excessive carb consumption is the primary culprit of insulin resistance. However, while there is more awareness in general about carbs, better protein management can help with insulin resistance.

Protein consumption has a minimal impact on blood glucose levels compared to carbohydrates, thereby stabilizing blood sugar. It promotes muscle growth, increased calorie expenditure and potentially improved insulin sensitivity. Protein consumption stimulates the release of glucagon, a hormone that opposes insulin's effects. Finally, foods rich in protein promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which can prevent overeating and help control body weight, and therefore insulin resistance.

The most difficult thing for most Indians and almost all vegetarians is that we almost never consume as much protein as our bodies need. The rule of thumb is that the number of grams of protein you need is between 0.8 to 2 times your weight in kg (depending on our level of daily activity); at 1.5 times your weight, most people need 100 grams of protein. To put this in perspective, eating 2 eggs gives you 13 grams of protein, 40 grams of cheese is worth 8 grams of protein, a single serving of any of the Indian dals (lentils) contains about 7 - 10 grams of protein, while a serving of chicken curry contains about 30 grams.

Being a vegetarian primarily but who also eats chicken, here is how I have gotten better at meeting my protein requirements:
1) I start with a breakfast consisting of a bowl of salad, a slice of toast with avocado, two eggs, a small bowl of mixed nuts, cheese, a bowl of mixed berries and a small bowl of yogurt or corn salsa (~35 grams of protein).
2) After my strength training, I have a protein shake using a low-sugar, whey protein powder (30 grams).  
3) My dinner could be a Chipotle chicken burrito bowl (54 grams), a chicken crepe with veggies (35 grams), Counter Mediterranean bowl (35 grams) or a homemade rice / roti, dal, veggies (20 - 25 grams).

I use my trusted GeneClinicX app to track my protein consumption for me. Don’t worry if you aren’t tracking it perfectly; at least get a sense for how close you get to your goal (anything within 10%-15% of the goal is good enough). Hope this helps.
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Good article! Had a question. I am an ovo-pescatarian. Not easy to access fish regularly, though I eat the occasional salmon and tuna and very occasionally, surmai or pomfret. I’m working with a dietician at GeneClinix, who’s advised me to eating eggs daily. Getting a bit tired of eating eggs day in and out, so could you suggest alternative vegetarian protein options? Thanks!


Aditya Godse: Thanks Nickhil for this wonderful article and for sharing your diet plan. Along with intermittent fasting, I have read that skipping 1 meal can also help with managing insulin, blood sugar and other related areas. Any thoughts? I have personally tried intermittent fasting (8:16 schedule) and was not able to handle it. Essentially my body response to 16 hours of no food intake resulted in over eating. However skipping 1 meal won’t potentially equate to a 16 hour food intake break. Would love to get your perspective on this.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Thanks Aditya. Fasting and intermittent fasting are important topics that deserve a post of their own. I’ll do that one next. Meanwhile I would say that intermittent fasting needs to be done right; specifically how you break your fast. More salads and proteins and less carbs in that first meal post the 16 hours. In our program we have a dietitian who guides you through the IF protocol so that it is more manageable. Whenever you are up to trying it out, let Sawita or me know. I think you will find it insightful and practical.

Aditya Godse

Rahul Khairnar: Great insight Nickhil Jakatdar. Your posts are an awesome summary of vital information. Thanks. What is your opinion on the contribution of intermittent fasting/fasting to improved insulin resistance?

Nickhil Jakatdar: Thanks Rahul! Intermittent fasting is a very effective approach to improving insulin resistance. Given its effectiveness I’ll do a whole post just on that and my experience with different forms of it.

Rahul Khairnar

Moses Gomes: Wow, Nickhil! Your knowledge and practical approach towards improving insulin resistance through diet is extremely insightful. Your breakdown of protein consumption and its impact on blood sugar stability truly resonates with me as a vegetarian. Thank you for sharing your protein intake tips and recommending the GeneClinicX app for tracking. This post is a game-changer for anyone looking to tackle insulin resistance head-on.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Thanks Moses! That is very kind of you.

Moses Gomes

Ed DeSanto: Thank you for sharing Nickhil Jakatdar. This is powerful information!

Nickhil Jakatdar: Glad you liked it Ed! I need more of the protein to not make silly mistakes on the soccer field 😀 BTW excellent goal and assists today!!

Ed DeSanto: I guess we both need more of that magic protein 😃

Ed DeSanto

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