Reverse Insulin Resistance: Use These 8 Simple Steps
Do you want to make yourself immune to chronic disease?
If so, you need to prevent and reverse insulin resistance.
Good news and bad news. Which first? Okay bad news…
Insulin resistance is related to almost every chronic disease:
It may not cause them all. But at the very least, persistently high insulin levels exacerbates them.
Good news: you can reverse insulin resistance. And reversing it is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
Learn more below about why insulin resistance is bad and the 8 simple steps to reversing it.
Table of Contents
What is Insulin?
Our cells generate energy from three different sources: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Protein is a minor player. Most of our energy comes from carbohydrates and fat.
When Ancel Keys brainwashed us into fearing saturated fats, we needed to replace fat with carbohydrates. According to the CDC, from 1971 to 2000 American’s increased carbohydrate consumption by 25%. Fat was also reduced to less than 30% of calories.
Today animal products only constitute ~10% of calories in a standard American’s diet.
Despite both being macronutrients, carbohydrates and fats produce very different chemical reactions when consumed. When we eat a carbohydrate, this leads to a complex chain reaction, which can take a toll on us.
At any given time, your body only has a very small amount of sugar in your blood — around one teaspoon in your entire circulatory system.
When you digest carbs, you break them down into glucose. For example, when you drink soda, your body will quickly break that down into glucose, and dump 5-10 teaspoons of sugar into your bloodstream. Five times more than the existing amount.
Your body, rightfully so, freaks out.
Your body (specifically your pancreas) responds by secreting insulin, which drives glucose into cells to ensure blood glucose levels stay constant. If this process doesn’t work, you’d have an instant case of diabetes.
How responsive blood glucose is to insulin is your insulin sensitivity. The more effective insulin is, the more insulin sensitive. The less effective, the more insulin resistant.
However, most people don’t need all the energy they just consumed. At rest, your body burns at most 50 kcal of glucose per hour, so a lot of the new glucose goes into storage as glycogen [*].
Your body can only store so much glycogen, and when it exceeds these levels, the glucose is turned into fat. This process is called lipogenesis [*].
The glycemic index, which you have probably heard of, measures how much blood sugar rises and lowers after certain foods.
What is Insulin Resistance?
Over time your body can become less responsive to insulin’s signal.
How does it happen? Insulin resistance is an energy overload problem.
It’s a result of maxing out all your fat cells. The simplest way to put it is that you’ve exceeded your ability to store energy, but there’s still abundant energy in your blood that your pancreas is trying to force into the fat cells.
Think of it like a packed elevator and somebody is running for the door. You, the fat cell, don’t want to let them in even though you make eye contact. It’s an awkward situation…
Your cells don’t want more energy and are giving the middle finger to the rest of your body. They refuse to let energy in and start fighting with your pancreas.
Your pancreas pumps out insulin, but your cells become less and less responsive to it. This is insulin resistance.
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
The biggest cause of insulin resistance is consuming too much carbohydrates and fat together.
Because excess glucose gets stored as fat it doesn’t make sense to simultaneously burn fat. So glucose and fat are burned reciprocally.
Our bodies are too efficient to both burn and create fat at the same time.
Instead, your body physically blocks fat from entering the cell to be converted to energy when insulin is present.
If carbohydrates are eaten occasionally and they are lower glycemic, your insulin levels will normalize and your body will burn fat as fuel. But, as we all know too well, most people eating carbs aren’t doing so occasionally.
According to a new research by Dr. David Ludwig, when insulin is present:
“Our rapidly growing fat cells take up too many calories, leaving too few for the rest of the body. That’s why we get hungry. And that’s why metabolism slows down if we force ourselves to eat less.” [*]
So, to summarize, when you eat carbs, a chain reaction occurs:
- Blood sugar spikes
- Pancreas secretes insulin
- Insulin secretion shuts off fat burning
- Excess sugar gets turned into glycogen and fat for storing
Because you’re not burning fats, your cells get more and more packed. But you simultaneously have new energy in your bloodstream – the carbs and newly synthesized fats – that need to get in.
In response to the elevated glucose levels in your bloodstream, your pancreas pumps out more and more insulin to push the energy into your cells.
The efficacy of the insulin drops over time until your cells become resistant to its secretion.
Basically, to summarize: so many carbs are around that you can’t ever burn fat.
Carbs and Fat Together Make You As Fat As Possible
And because sugar and fat are burned reciprocally, if you combine them it makes you as fat as possible. All the fat just goes straight to storage.
Nutritional scientists have discovered this and actually use this methodology to fatten up rats. Researchers created an “obesogenic rat chow” made up of 14% protein, 45% fat and 40% carbohydrates.
Well, thanks to the USDA, our basic dietary recommendations are basically the same obesogenic rat chow.
The fat and sugar accumulate in your bloodstream, causing more futile insulin secretion. When your insulin levels are chronically elevated, this is called hyperinsulinemia.
Unsubstantiated evidence led experts to substitute saturated fats for poisonous carbohydrates. Now hundreds of millions of people around the globe are insulin resistant today.
Every time you eat carbohydrates — especially refined, high glycemic carbs — your body goes to war with itself. And you lose.
Ancel Keys’ Junk science has destroyed your health.
Hyperinsulinemia & Insulin Resistance Causes More Death Than WW1 and WW2 Combined
When you’re more insulin resistant, your body requires MORE insulin from your pancreas to push glucose and energy into cells.
High insulin may not cause all chronic disease. But at the very least it exacerbates them. Having persistently high fasting insulin levels is called hyperinsulinemia. It usually goes hand in hand with insulin resistance.
If you have insulin resistance, you’re at risk for chronic disease. There’s no chronic disease that’s not related to insulin resistance:
- Heart disease [*]
- 62% higher cancer mortality [*]
- 160% higher gastrointestinal cancer mortality [*]
- Prostate cancer [*]
- Alzheimer’s disease [*]
- Aging [*]
- Inflammation: Elevated CRP and IL-6
- Acne [*]
Think of chronic diseases like a tree. The fertilizers and starch, grain and sugars. And insulin resistance is one of the strongest roots.
Signs That You May Have Insulin Resistance
Below are some signs that you may have insulin resistance.
- Sugar & carbohydrate cravings
- Persistent belly fat
- Fatty liver disease
- Skin tags
- Trouble concentrating
- Elevated blood sugar
- Getting “hangry” when you don’t eat for 2 or 3 hours
- Anxiety & Moodiness: Insulin is master hormone controller and leads to a glucose roller coaster
- Gum disease [*]
- A waist larger than 35” for women or 40” for men
- A fasting insulin level above 5
8 Actionable Steps to Reverse Insulin Resistance
The opposite of insulin resistance is insulin sensitivity. You want your body to only release small amounts of insulin and for it to be very effective.
How can you become more insulin sensitive?
If you have insulin resistance, your body is at war with yourself. Your pancreas is willing to blow up everything to win. And your cells are extremely stubborn, have shut the door and are not giving up. They can’t give up because they’re full!
The loser of the battle: your health.
You’re calling for the white flag. Below are some ways to reverse it and end this futile war.
1. Cut Out Highly Glycemic Carbs
Shocker: the best way to reduce high insulin levels is to stop eating the crap that raises it!
The amount of times I’ve seen someone with type 2 diabetes continue to eat carbohydrates is sickening. You’d think that this would be the obvious first step, but unfortunately it isn’t because it can open doctors to lawsuits.
According to diabetes Dr. Bernstein, MDs prescribe a high-carb diet to their diabetic patients just so that they don’t get sued.
Even though this leads to blindness & amputation, it prevents hypoglycemia, the 1 thing they can be sued for [*].
Carbohydrates are one of the main reasons why insulin exists. Most are highly insulinogenic. And they’re non essential (i.e. you don’t need ’em).
They’re providing nothing for you other than satisfying your carb addiction. If you’re insulin resistant you need to cut out carbs and fuel yourself from fat ASAP.
In this study, participants on Keto:
- Ate 30% fewer calories
- Lost 4 lbs in 14 days
- Decreased hemoglobin A1c levels from 7.3% to 6.8%
- And most importantly….improved insulin sensitivity by 75%
This is in just 14 days!
The Ketogenic diet will reduce your insulin needs. It also will increase your metabolic rate, which frees up your fat cells to burn energy like they’re supposed to.
Subjects of this study burned more energy just by having lower insulin levels. That’s the magic of reducing insulin.
Lastly, carbohydrates cause oxidative stress, which worsen insulin resistance and inflame your entire body [*].
If you want to optimize your health, cut out these inflammatory, unnecessary carbs.
2. Stop Eating Fructose
I know I rail out against carbs and glucose frequently. But somehow fructose is even worse. It’s like glucose’s evil twin.
Glucose and fructose metabolism are different. Almost every cell in the body can use glucose for energy. But only the liver can metabolize fructose.
Fructose is like a nuclear bomb headed straight for your liver every time you eat it. It is 20x more likely to cause fatty liver than glucose alone.
And fatty liver can lead directly to insulin resistance.
In this study, subjects were given 25% of their calories as kool-aid, sweetened with fructose or glucose for 8 weeks [*]. High school me would have been the first to sign up for this test….
It may seem like a lot, but actually this diet isn’t too different from an American’s diet today.
The fructose group was more insulin resistant and developed pre-diabetes after just 8 weeks.
3. Cut Out Vegetable Antinutrients
Vegetables aren’t here for human survival. They don’t want to be eaten.
Turns out those “innocent and healthy” veggies are quite devious after all. To prevent predators from eating them, vegetables all have chemical weapons and booby traps set.
They’re all like Kevin McAllister in Home Alone. Innocent looking, but destructive. Don’t judge a book by its cover…
One of those groups of anti nutrients are lectins. They’re found primarily in grains, nuts, legumes and nightshades.
And they wreak absolute havoc on your body, especially in high doses. This study found that when lectins they reach the bloodstream, they can bind insulin receptors and thereby interfere with insulin’s action [*]
Just one more reason to cut out vegetables and eat meat like we’re made to.
4. Cook With Saturated Fats Instead of Vegetable Oils
Removing vegetable oils is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Not only are they directly linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s, they also cause insulin resistance.
In this study, mice were placed on a high fat diet [*]. One group consumed olive oil and the other consumed vegetable oils.
The group of mice consuming vegetable oils developed insulin resistance.
Another study showed that vegetable oils damage the GLUT4 transporter, which ultimately reduces the efficacy of insulin [*]
Instead, cook with natural fats like beef tallow, butter and ghee.
5. Eat Protein and Highly Nutritious Meat
What are you supposed to eat now that I’ve attacked your sacred vegetables and carbohydrates?
The carnivore diet is the best way to reverse insulin resistance. Why? It maximizes nutrient density and cuts out all of the crap that causes insulin resistance in the first place.
To reverse insulin resistance and achieve optimal health, you need to center your diet around highly nutritious meat and animal products.
Animal products have the most nutrient density and in the context of a low carbohydrate diet, do not raise insulin.
Humans are carnivores. We’re made to eat meat. That’s why our body responds so well to it. And why we develop chronic disease when we avoid it in favor of all the nutritional sludge we’ve invented in the last 10k years.
This allows you to maximize nutrient intake, while minimizing energy. Remember, insulin resistance is an energy overload problem. So you want to give your cells a chance to expend energy, rather than take it in.
This study showed that patients on a high protein diet — 30% of their calories — completely reversed type 2 diabetes [*]. If this were a drug, doctors would be raving about it…
But it’s the only thing more magical. And that is red meat.
Protein also improves satiation and will reduce hunger. And protein tends to be correlated with low insulin foods.
Another study below showed that a high fat diet will reverse ALL coronary heart disease risk factors — including insulin — vs a low fat diet.
And if you want to eat the most nutrient dense animal food possible, you need to try beef liver.
6. Get Off Your Ass and Exercise
If you want to be healthy, you need to get off of your ass. You need to try to mimic your hunter gatherer ancestors as much as possible. But still continue to follow me on Twitter, even though they didn’t…
Unfortunately, most people today are sitting down and eating all day. Most people are cramped in a cubicle surrounded by snacks. You want to do the exact opposite. Move around as much as possible throughout the day.
And most importantly for insulin resistance, conduct high intensity exercise.
Other than consuming red meat, exercise is the fastest way to reduce insulin resistance. Just one single bout of high intensity training can increase insulin sensitivity 40% [*]
This study below showed that just 6 weeks of training, with one set of 8 exercises improved insulin sensitivity. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon.
Just lift heavy weights.
Steak + deadlifts are a magical combination.
Obesity is also highly correlated to insulin resistance, which rises linearly with BMI [*]. If you’re insulin resistant and obese, you need to cut your BMI.
Lastly, lean muscle mass is associated with better insulin sensitivity [*]. Lean muscle is like a glucose sink. It sucks up any and all glucose available in your blood stream.
7. Start Intermittent Fasting.
Dietary recommendations have destroyed your health by changing both
(1) what we eat and
(2) when we eat.
If you want to restore your health, you need to restore both to your evolutionary ways.
We’ve already covered what to eat. What about when to eat?
In the early to mid 1900s, most people only ate 3 meals a day. But in the late 1900s, people started to eat 6-7 times a day. Doctors recommended many small meals to “speed up your metabolism”.
Guess what? The only thing that’s speeding up is how fast you give money to big cpg and big pharma companies. And how fast you develop insulin resistance.
You can only get energy from two sources: Food or body fat. But you can’t get energy from both at the same time. When you’re getting energy from food, this is called the fed state. When you’re getting your energy from body fat, this is called the fasted state. Insulin regulates this process.
When you eat insulin levels increase, which signals to your cells to suck in energy from your bloodstream. And when you sleep, insulin falls, telling your body to use stored energy to run your vital organs. This is why you don’t die when you sleep.
But most people are eating all day, and not giving their body enough time to lower these insulin levels and burn body fat. In fact, it takes ~12 hours to lower insulin far enough to actually burn body fat. But instead, most people shut this natural process off by eating a high carb meal first thing in the morning.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”
This is the biggest load of bull shit….Almost worse than the advice to avoid saturated fats.
When you first wake up in the morning, your insulin levels are low and you’re just about to enter the fasted state.
The worst thing to do is to eat a big meal and change that. And what makes it even worse is that most people are eating dessert for breakfast…
No, they’re not eating a cake. But I’d consider something like cheerios with 33g of sugar dessert. This shuts off fat burning, spikes insulin as high as possible and drives all of that additional fat right into storage.
And we all know what comes after a big spike….an even bigger fall. 3 hours later you’re going to be HANGRY, starving for another meal.
Instead, start intermittent fasting like the one meal a day diet. Leverage your 8 hours of sleep time fasting and skip breakfast. Eat in an 8 hour window and fast from dinner to lunch time.
Over time, you can work up to 18 to 24 hours of fasting. According to Ted Naiman, this is where the sweet spot is.
But after 12 hours, you’ll still get immense benefits.
There are also many other benefits of intermittent fasting you can look forward to, according to Ted Naiman.
(Check with your doctor before fasting. This is especially important if you’re on meds and are diabetic)
8. Get Sleep
Most people think insulin resistance is just a result of macro nutrient composition. But sleep plays a major role.
Researchers found that one single night of sleep deprivation decreased insulin sensitivity by 25% [*].
An additional study showed that just two nights of 4h of sleep reduced insulin response by 30% [*]
This is also in healthy individuals! No matter how healthy you eat, you can become insulin resistant if you’re not sleeping well.
What’s likely happening is that the beta cells in your pancreas become less responsive after you don’t sleep well [*]. They’re groggy, just like you are.
Make sure to get your shut eye.
Reversing insulin resistance is the most important thing you can do for your health. And frankly, it’s not even that hard.
Just 24hr of a fast makes insulin drop by half.
But instead, doctors tell patients to continue eating carbs throughout the day and pump themselves full of drugs.
Reverse this trend. The carnivore diet is the best way to reverse insulin resistance.
If you’re interested in the carnivore diet, join my Facebook group Carnivore Nation. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive guide, sign up for my weekly newsletter for FREE access to the 30 Day Guide to Mastering the Carnivore Diet below.