Insulin Resistance Diet: Meal Planning & Exercise Tips

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Published: February 9, 2023

Being diagnosed with insulin resistance has become quite common in recent years. Although it is not a severe condition, it can be problematic. However, the good news is that anyone suffering from this condition can significantly benefit from proper nutrition and exercise. You can find numerous information online, but it can sometimes get overwhelming to research it extensively. This is why any personal trainer in Dubai would recommend working with professionals when it comes to your nutrition and exercise plan. They will help you understand this condition and create an insulin resistance diet plan accompanied by a good workout program. We will help you get on the right track with some helpful information.

What is insulin resistance?

This condition occurs when cells in your body stop adequately responding to insulin – a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. This condition on its own isn’t dangerous if regulated appropriately, but it can, over time, lead to conditions such as prediabetes, type two diabetes, and obesity. Nevertheless, you’d be happy to find out that if you have a proper meal plan for impaired insulin sensitivity and an excellent exercise routine, you can keep your blood sugar in check and reduce insulin resistance. You just need to be disciplined about your workout and diet and be committed to changing your lifestyle for the better.

a woman preparing a meal for her insulin resistance diet
Although insulin resistance can eventually lead to conditions like type 2 diabetes or obesity, having a proper diet and exercise routine can significantly benefit and even reduce this condition.

However, you must know that one size doesn’t fit all regarding insulin-resistant diets. Everyone can respond differently to different foods. Some people who have this condition can have a blood sugar spike after eating a particular food, while another can have no reaction at all or at least a moderate reaction. However, foods with a high-glycemic index, also known as high-GI foods, can trigger a release of insulin in large amounts.

What should you eat on an insulin resistance diet?

Those diagnosed with insulin resistance will benefit most from eating food that has a regulating effect on their blood sugar levels. Many meal plans for diabetics in Dubai are rich in fat and protein since they can both blunt the response to sugar after eating food packed with carbs. Therefore, having fewer carbohydrates in your diet can be quite beneficial since it helps with stabilizing blood sugar. Extensive research has shown that low-carb diets reverse health conditions associated with insulin resistance – type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.

Best types of diets

This is why so many experts recommend a low-carb, ketogenic, and paleo diet meal plan in Dubai in order to combat insulin resistance. Furthermore, as we mentioned that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to food, so it’s pretty crucial to incorporate foods that help with avoiding insulin spikes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) agrees with this. They state that the best way to regulate your nutrition is to work with a professional who will generate a personalized meal plan for you. But know that these plans will have a sure thing in common. Therefore, what you may want to focus on the most are the following:

  • Eating whole grains – They boost the fiber intake and are an excellent contribution to your insulin resistance diet.
  • Fats – There are different kinds of fats, but you want to focus on the food that provides the good fats, that is, polyunsaturated fats.
  • Vegetables – although all vegetables are excellent, you may want to pick non-starchy ones and substitute potatoes with more leafy greens.
  • Avoid processed foods – Choose whole foods instead of processed ones.
a plate of vegetables
The best type of an insulin resistance diet will contain a lot of fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fats and, at the same time, be very low in carbohydrates.

Eating fruits while on an insulin resistance diet

Those struggling with insulin resistance might be surprised that we are putting fruits on this list. You might think: Fruit has sugar, isn’t that bad for me? Well, yes and no. Fruit does have sugar, but this is natural sugar, which is quite different from processed sugar. Although this kind of sugar isn’t bad, it can still spike your sugar levels, so you will still need to be careful when consuming fruit. You may want to know that bananas, mangoes, and apples are the fruit with the most carbohydrates. However, there is fruit with fewer carbs and more fiber.

a pile of fruit as a part of your insulin resistance diet
Although you must be careful while consuming fruit since it contains sugar, there are many delicious fruits with low carbs and high fiber that you can enjoy even on an insulin resistance diet.

Fruit that contains low carbohydrate levels

If you love fruit, know that you can enjoy it with one of the monthly meal plans in Dubai that are made for those diagnosed with insulin resistance. Just make sure you choose lower-carb fruits that are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, such as:

  • Tomato
  • Coconut
  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries)
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons and limes
  • Avocado
  • Cranberries

Furthermore, ensure you choose either fresh or frozen fruits. Canned fruit tends to have a lot of added sugar and less fiber, which is certainly not the best choice.

Vegetables are always an excellent choice

Generally, vegetables are very beneficial if you are insulin resistant. However, there are some vegetables you should avoid since they are rich in carbohydrates. Those are mainly carrots and root vegetables like yams and potatoes. The best option would be to opt for dark or leafy greens and others from the following list:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok Choy
  • Asparagus
  • Snow peas
  • Peppers (yellow, red, and green)
  • Collard greens
  • Garlic
  • Onion
vegetables on a table as a part of your insulin resistance diet
Vegetables are an excellent choice for insulin resistance. However, ensure you choose more dark and leafy greens and fewer potatoes and yams, which are high in carbs.

Protein in insulin resistance diets

While protein is excellent for regulating blood sugar, consuming too much can result in a glucose rise. On the other hand, consuming too little protein can lead to severe problems. This is why balance is essential. The needs and tolerances of individual people may vary, but there is an easy way to calculate the amount of protein you need based on your body weight.  Ideally, you would want to consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram. Some excellent sources of protein that can be found in food are:

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Nuts
  • Full-fat cottage cheese
  • High protein tofu
  • Whole milk Greek yogurt

Healthy fats, or polyunsaturated fats

Food rich in good fats is excellent for those with insulin resistance. They can be fantastic for keeping your blood sugar in check. Furthermore, they can replace carbohydrates as a primary fuel source since they can keep you feeling full longer. Some great sources of these kinds of fats are:

  • Eggs
  • Coconut milk
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Full-fat cheeses and cottage cheese
  • Cooking oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
  • Fatty fish
  • Seeds such as hemp hearts and chia seeds,
  • Full-fat salad dressings
  • Butter or ghee
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt

What foods should you limit or avoid completely

We already mentioned that avoiding sugar is a must when you are diagnosed with insulin resistance. However, it would be best if you also were careful with other food that is naturally full of carbohydrates. Although food like oatmeal, potatoes, and brow rice are generally considered healthy, there is not the best choice for an insulin resistance diet. To be more specific, here is a list of food that you should avoid:

  • Candy
  • Desserts and sweets
  • Rice
  • Chips and pretzels
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Baked goods
  • Agave and honey
  • Fruit juice
  • Jellies and jams
  • Alcohol
  • Snack bars
  • Crackers and bagels
colorful doughnuts that should not be a part of your insulin resistance diet
Make sure you avoid foods with processed sugar, like candy and other sweets. Also, avoid sugars that are found in healthy food like rice and oats.

Exercising and insulin resistance

We are all aware that a proper diet will give the best result only when accompanied by an exercise plan. This is why it’s so crucial for those with insulin resistance to consider working with a fitness trainer in Dubai. Furthermore, research has shown that even those diagnosed with diabetes due to insulin resistance can reverse their condition with consistent physical activity. Excess fat around the waistline increases the chances of insulin resistance. So, maintaining your weight or even losing weight by exercising is beneficial for this condition.

women exercising
Having an adequate exercise plan and proper nutrition is vital for fighting insulin resistance and improving your overall physical and mental health.

How does exercise benefit your condition?

Some of the many benefits of exercising when diagnosed with IG include weight management, lowering LDL cholesterol which is considered harmful and raising HDL cholesterol, strengthening bones and muscles, reducing anxiety, and improving your overall physical and mental health. However, those with insulin resistance will benefit even more from exercise. Being physically active is one of the best ways to keep your blood sugar under control. Also, it boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which fights insulin resistance.

What are the best exercises for insulin resistance?

Studies have shown that all forms of exercising, cardio and resistance (or combining both), were equally suitable for people with insulin resistance. However, a slight advantage is given to aerobic exercises since it’s excellent for cardiovascular health. In a recently conducted research, people who had diabetes and went for walks at least two hours per week were less likely to die from heart disease than those who were not physically active. And walking for more hours a week reduced this risk even more.

If you enjoy more demanding exercising and training at the gym, know that a trainer can help you form a gym diet plan for muscle gain that is insulin-resistance friendly. But it’s crucial to consult your doctor to see whether higher-intensity training will be beneficial for you personally. If they approve, know that HIIT exercises are also an excellent option for insulin resistance.

a group of people exercising
Don’t worry if you like heavy gym sessions; you will still be able to do various intense cardio and HITT exercises after consulting with your doctor and personal trainer.

How is HIIT beneficial?

For the best results, you should incorporate HIIT into your existing exercise plan. These exercises don’t take long, but they are incredibly intense. It will be sufficient to perform HIIT exercises 2 or 3 times a week, for 20 to 25 minutes, to see excellent results. Not only will they help boost your cardiovascular health, but they are also great if you are on one of the weight loss diet plans for insulin resistance. By doing HIIT, you can achieve multiple goals at once. You can help fight your insulin resistance and achieve your fitness goals at the same time.

Final words

Even if you are diagnosed with insulin resistance, there is much you can do to manage this condition and eventually beat it. You just need to be consistent, disciplined, and patient. Nothing happens overnight. Remember that the critical factor is a proper insulin resistance diet plan, but the best results will come if you combine it with a good exercise plan. This is why we highly recommend working with professionals. A nutritionist and a personal trainer will help you not only fight your condition but achieve your fitness goals as well. You don’t need to quit the gym or stop running marathons. Just a few lifestyle modifications will be of great help. Avoiding certain high-carb foods and incorporating healthier ones will do wonders. Just keep calm and carry on. You’ve got this.


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