Insulin resistance occurs when the muscle and fat cells in the body become resistant to the insulin hormone. Nutrition and insulin resistance have a strong connection.

Insulin resistance is a form of diabetes mellitus known as type II diabetes. This condition is also known as non insulin dependent or adult onset diabetes. However, the affects of poor nutrition and insulin resistance are becoming extremely evident in our children. More and more children are being diagnosed with insulin resistance each year due to poor diets, limited activity, and increased body mass index.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The insulin hormone is used by the fat and muscle cells to absorb and metabolize blood sugar. When the cells become resistant to the insulin hormone, this process cannot occur as it should. Thus, blood sugar levels rise and type II diabetes is born. A diet high in sugar and processed foods can lead to insulin resistance.


How Poor Nutrition Affects Insulin Resistance


A diet high in sugar and processed foods is extremely unhealthy for the body. In this case, nutrition and insulin resistance are connected because the increased sugar causes the cells to become resistant to the hormone. This happens to limit the amount of sugar being absorbed into the cells.

The body needs some sugar and it is converted and used as energy inside the cells. However, the amount of sugar needed every day is less than 25 grams (1 spoonful of table sugar). According to Brian Williams from MSNBC, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day. That is 21 more teaspoonfuls than our body needs. As with anything, too much is not a good thing and it can lead to serious problems.

Almost everything that comes in a box has some sort of added sugar in it. It is important to read food labels and try to limit the daily amount of added sugar to 25 grams per pay or less.

Here are just a few “healthier” examples of where we are getting all the excess sugar from.  Most kid’s cereals have at least 19 grams of sugar per serving. Most fruit juices (even 100% juice) have between 20 and 28 grams of sugar per serving. Flavored low fat yogurt has between 16 and 26 grams of sugar per container. Just one of these items provides enough sugar for the entire day. Most Americans consume several of these types of items per day.

There are several ways to make simple changes to help improve insulin resistance.


How Good Nutrition Affects Insulin Resistance


As people become more aware of the connection between nutrition and insulin resistance, it is easier to make changes for the better. Following a nutrition plan that limits processed foods automatically helps decrease the daily intake of sugar. It is best to eat foods that do not come in a box.

Diets that are rich in veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, and whole fruits can really help improve insulin resistance. The United States Department of Agriculture has developed a new plan called “Choose My Plate.” This system recommends that ½ the plate be filled with veggies and fruit (¾ of this section veggies and ¼ fruit). The other ½ of the plate should be whole grains and lean protein (¾ of this section whole grain and ¼ lean protein).

Combining this type of diet with limited and healthy snack options can really help positively affect nutrition and insulin resistance.