Often, doctors and patients focus on getting your blood sugar in their normal range. You should also consider your body’s insulin resistance, the root cause of diabetes. So what is insulin resistance? It’s when your body has an impaired response to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetics make too much insulin, as their bodies attempt to compensate for the insulin that’s not working. In other words, your pancreas is working overtime, making more insulin. That results in more insulin resistance, which then results in more insulin production. The cycle can make diabetes worse.
So how can you deal insulin resistance? Avoid these things that cause insulin spikes.
- Starchy carbohydrates and sugar. All fruit and veggies are carbohydrates, but the ones to avoid are those with higher carb counts.
- High protein diet. Excessive protein production results in gluconeogenesis, the conversion of protein to glucose in the liver.
- Proteins combined with sugar/starch. For example, chicken fried with flour, hot dogs combined with a bun, or ribs covered in barbecue sauce could cause a significant spike.
- Eating too much in general. Almost anything you eat will trigger insulin production because food stimulates gut hormones which trigger insulin production.
- Lack of sleep and stress: Both lead to cortisol production which causes glucose production in the liver resulting in insulin spikes.
In addition, you can try intermittent fasting. By resting your pancreas periodically from eating, you avoid excessive insulin spikes. This results in increasing the pancreas ability to rest from the hard work of continuing needing to produce insulin. Work with your doctor if you are considering this approach because a reduction in medication or change the timing of its consumption will be key to avoid hypoglycemia.
Controlling the symptoms of diabetes like blood sugar levels will continue to be a way for you to gauge if you are managing it well, but the primary focus should be reversing insulin resistance. Make sure to keep your healthcare team members aware of any lifestyle changes you are considering.
Want to learn more about your risk for diabetes? Take a free, quick online assessment by clicking here.
Dr. Tony Hampton is a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group.