Insulin Resistance Diet: What to Eat & What to Avoid

Medically Reviewed By DR. HARDIK BAMBHANIA, MBBS, MD December 28, 2023

Last updated on September 14th, 2023

Insulin resistance is an onset of diabetes if left unattended. Insulin resistance is the body’s resistance to using insulin hormones properly.

According to the data of the World Health Organisation, around 77 million people are suffering from diabetes, and millions are on the brink of getting it. This metabolic disorder is ruining the future health of the world as youth are becoming the prey of this lifestyle disorder.

We are confined to chairs and mobiles, and that is worsening the situation. Insulin resistance can be treated and prevented with an active lifestyle that includes the right food and exercises. Insulin resistance is greatly affected by a healthy diet.

A good insulin resistance diet can bring someone back from the one-way road of diabetes. How an insulin resistance diet works and what an insulin resistance diet plan is; let’s read this blog.

Before discussing insulin resistance and diet, let’s understand what insulin resistance is.

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin Resistance Diet: What to Eat & What to Avoid

Resisting the function of insulin hormone by the cells of the body is called insulin resistance. It leads to increased sugar levels.

According to the Endocrine Society website, insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. Because glucose cannot enter cells as easily, it accumulates in the blood. This can progress to type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance is usually asymptomatic.

Insulin resistance diet, exercise, and weight loss can help reverse insulin resistance.

Also Read: 6 Sugar-Free Fruits For a Healthy Living

Insulin Resistance and Diet

Food play an important role in your overall well-being. It goes the same with insulin resistance. A good insulin resistance diet enables your body to process excess glucose in the body and keep sugar levels in check.

A healthy insulin diet plan does not include big changes in your daily diet but just some healthy modifications.

According to the WebMD website, the insulin-resistant diet doesn’t contain any fancy foods. It just consists of fruits, vegetables, low-carb food, high-fiber diet, low-fat food, and a nutrient-rich diet. It can also be termed as a less unhealthy diet with less sugar, carbs, fat, starches, processed food, and meat.

Also Read: Do you know the biggest health mistakes women make in their 30s?

Insulin Resistance Diet Plan

An insulin resistance diet plan is considered to be the best way to avoid the problem of insulin resistance and diabetes.

A perfect insulin-resistance diet plan is an amalgamation of various healthy portions of food. It reduces the risk of sugar spikes and helps to maintain healthy sugar levels.

A healthy diet is not just boiled vegetables and salads. It is adequate nutrients that serve the objective. Insulin resistance diet should include various components and properties like:

1) Make slow yet steady changes

Shedding kilograms in one go is not a healthy practice. Therefore, adopt a lifestyle that includes healthy eating habits. Going on a diet or stuffing yourself with vegetables only won’t work. Instead, start with baby steps and quit junk foods, sugary drinks, and food that elevate sugar levels.

 2) Don’t push yourself hard

A healthy diet is not necessarily a tasteless diet. Your insulin resistance diet plan should include food that can treat your palate well.

Try to modify your food or substitute it with a healthy option instead of going for bland and tasteless food. To understand this, you need proper knowledge of “good food” and “bad food” for you so take expert advice. 

3) Fasting doesn’t help

Many people with insulin resistance feel that shedding weight and eating one meal a day is good for health which can be fatal. The frequency is not the issue. The food you are consuming is the issue, so focus on that.

Eat healthy food without staying on an empty stomach. This irregular practice fluctuates your sugar levels which leads to more insulin resistance.

4) Go for a diverse yet healthy food

Sticking to one kind of food can be boring, so try to expand the dimensions of your food plate. Add foods that are healthy, low in carbohydrates, and rich in essential nutrients.

The diet chart for insulin resistance should increase your appetite with the inclusion of tasty and healthy food. 

Read More: Can your metabolism slow down?

What to eat in Insulin Resistance? 

What to eat in Insulin Resistance? 

Everyone’s body is different, and your body’s dietary rating is different from that of other members of your family. Before starting the insulin resistance diet plan, you must consult both your doctor and the dietitian.

A dietitian will help you create a proper diet plan for insulin resistance to meet your dietary needs daily. It helps maintain your healthy blood sugar level and supplies nutrients to nourish your body. 

The diet plan for insulin resistance must include fiber-rich food, healthy proteins, and good carbs.

A healthy diet for insulin resistance must include:

1) Healthy Fats

Individuals with insulin resistance should include healthy fats in their insulin resistance diet chart. These fats will replace the carbohydrates and saturated fats. According to the studies published by the National Institute of Health, healthy fats like polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) help regulate insulin levels in your body.

It helps in lowering your blood sugar level. However, you should focus on consuming healthy fats in the right amounts to control your blood sugar levels.

Sources of healthy fats: Fish, fish liver oil, walnuts, and many types of seeds such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, and pumpkin seeds.

2) Healthy Protein

The inclusion of healthy proteins along with carbohydrates in your insulin resistance diet plan helps in improving the secretion of insulin in your body.

It helps in regulating the blood sugar level. Thus, consuming high-quality protein does not lead to an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal.

Healthy protein sources: kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, tofu, chicken, pumpkin seeds, and fish (rohu, magar, hilsa, singi, pomfret).

3) Vegetables

There is no doubt that vegetables are highly nutritious and healthy. They are rich sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

According to the Harvard School of Health, your body needs at least two servings or 2 plates of vegetables a day. That amount of veggies will boost your immunity, help you lose weight and control your blood sugar levels. A healthy insulin-resistance diet includes a variety of vegetables.

Vegetables for insulin resistance diet: Peas, cauliflower, spinach, beans, garlic, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, tomato, capsicum, sweet potato, brinjal, beetroot, and beans.

4) Fruits

A diet for insulin resistance includes a few fruits. There are many fruits that you can include in the diet plan for insulin resistance. Fruits satisfy your sweet cravings. You can eat amla, apple, black plum (jamun), raw papaya, raw guava, grapes, kiwi, and pineapple.

The amount of fructose in these fruits is much less. However, you can also eat high-fructose fruits like mango, litchi, and banana, but limit their quantity.

5) Dairy Protein

Dairy products are excellent sources of protein, vitamin D, and calcium. They play a beneficial role in increasing the secretion of insulin for diabetes management.

Some low-fat dairy protein sources are milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, unflavored soy milk, egg whites, and low-fat sour cream.

6) High-Fiber Food

According to studies published by NIH(National Institute of Health), fiber works magically to prevent insulin resistance. Fiber slows down the breakage of carbohydrates in the body and releases glucose slowly in the body, hence no sugar spikes.

Adding a high-fiber diet helps to reduce high sugar levels and prevents the development of type 2 diabetes from insulin resistance. High fiber diet includes whole vegetables, fruits, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or sweet potatoes, etc. 

7) Limited Carbohydrates

Carbs are the major component of your daily food, so adding them to your insulin resistance diet chart is a must.

It is the biggest source of glucose, and excess consumption can increase sugar levels in the body. So limit carbs in your diet as per your daily requirement to maintain healthy sugar levels. 

Also Read: Why is Fatty Liver Becoming An Increasingly Common Problem?

What to Avoid in Insulin Resistance? 

As mentioned above, insulin resistance is greatly affected by diet. Eating the right food can increase your insulin sensitivity and help manage blood glucose levels.

So here are a few things that you should avoid to prevent increased insulin resistance:

1) Sugary drinks or fruit juices

Do not drink sugary drinks and fruit juices that are artificially sweetened. 

2) Processed food

Avoid canned or boxed food items with lots of preservatives as they are high in sugar, salt, preservatives, and fats. 

3) Red meat

Instead of having red meat, add lean meat to your insulin resistance diet. According to studies by the National Institute of Health, red meat can cause various health issues. These include cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, or high sugar levels.

4) Junk food

Avoid foods with lots of fats and sugar, like pastries, cakes, donuts, pasta, muffins, potato chips, etc. 

Also Read: These 10 Habits are Linked to A Long Life!

Diet Tips for Insulin-Resistance

People with insulin resistance do not need to limit their diet. Instead, they have to control their glycemic intake. All you have to do is choose foods that don’t raise your blood sugar levels or impact your insulin resistance.

There are some diet tips for insulin resistance that can help you to manage sugar levels in the body. It also helps you to reduce insulin resistance which benefits your overall health. 

  • Avoid the consumption of fruit sauces and jams. They contain added preservatives and sweetening agents. Therefore, they will increase your blood sugar level.
  • Avoid eating junk food. Refined flour is used to make bread and buns. It has a high-calorie content. Apart from this, the sauce also contains some flavoring agents and preservatives, which are not good for your health.
  • Avoid drinking canned juices. They contain artificial flavoring agents, sugar, and preservatives.
  • Be sure to have breakfast. Not having breakfast can cause many diseases related to metabolism in your body. Along with increasing your weight, it also affects the function of insulin.
  • Control your food craving. Yoga and meditation make you physically strong. Some yoga asanas help you to ease your digestion.
  • Control your daily calorie intake. The main objective of an insulin resistance diet chart is to control your calorie intake. Thus, you need to calculate your daily calorie requirements and get your calorie intake right.
  • One insulin resistance diet plan does not fit all. Before starting any diet chart, you must first consult your dietician. A dietitian makes the best diet chart for you as per the requirements of your body.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.

Also Read: Getting to the Heart of Your Heart

Insulin Resistance Diet Chart 

An insulin resistance diet chart should be divided into 6 meals that help to maintain your sugar levels.

Insulin Resistance Diet Chart
Time Meal Instructions
7:00 – 8:00 AM Before Breakfast Avoid tea/coffee at the beginning of your day. It increases cortisol levels and destabilizes blood sugar. You can start your day with a refreshing and detox drink, and also you can have warm water with soaked fenugreek first thing in the morning. You can also have a handful of soaked dry fruits along with this drink.
9:00 – 10:00 AM Breakfast It is the most important meal of the day. There are lots of delicious options for insulin resistance breakfast. You can have porridge (porridge), fresh smoothie, vegetable chapati without oil/butter or a bowl of fresh fruits. Boiled eggs are a good option for non-vegetarians. Whole grain rotis, upma, poha, ragi idlis and dosas are also healthy options for breakfast. You can also have a glass of milk for breakfast.
11:30 AM – 12:00 PM Mid Morning Meal Satisfy your mid-morning hunger pangs with foods that have a low glycemic index. You can eat healthy nuts and seeds early in the morning. With this, your hunger will be fulfilled, as well as your blood sugar level will also be under control.
1:00 PM Lunch Your insulin-resistant diet lunch plate should include a large serving of well-cooked and low-carb vegetables. Lentils are rich in nutrients. Moong Dal is a rich source of protein. Along with the vegetables and dal, you can have 1 or 2 whole wheat, ragi, barley, jowar or gram flour chapatis. For non-vegetarians, steamed or grilled meat/seafood is a good substitute for vegetables and pulses. Quinoa and brown rice are healthier alternatives to white rice.
4:00 PM Mid-Day Snacks/Tea-Time Snacks Roasted chickpeas, chivda, Greek yogurt, a bowl of fruit and jaggery are the best options for snacks. Avoid processed foods like chips, biscuits, packaged snacks and fried snacks. These can easily increase your blood sugar levels. You can also drink tea/coffee with low-fat milk. Also, green tea is a better option.
7:30 – 8:00 PM Dinner This is the last meal of the day. It is very important that it be light and healthy. Low-fat or low-carb foods are best for dinner. You can have soup, a bowl of salad, grilled cheese or tofu for dinner. Non-vegetarians can eat grilled fish or chicken. You can also keep your dinner like lunch but in less quantity.

However, the condition of each person is different from the other, so the diet plan for insulin resistance also varies from person to person. Although, for starters, any one standard diet plan can be followed.

Also Read: Foods That Burn Fat & Help You Lose Weight


Insulin resistance is becoming common among people in India. High blood sugar levels invite serious complications, including heart disease. Therefore, a resistance diet plan is very important for a healthy and long life.

Diet control is the easiest and best way to keep your sugar level under control. You can consult your dietician to design the best diet chart for insulin resistance. A well-planned diet chart contains all the essential nutrients to keep you healthy.

Being insulin resistant doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your favorite foods. You just need to eat right to control the amount and manage your blood sugar levels.

There are many fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food items available. Therefore, it is quite easy to follow a healthy and tasty diet to control your blood sugar levels.

Also Read: Range of Normal Blood Sugar

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions):

Does exercise help to cure insulin resistance?

Yes apart from food, exercise plays a very important role to improve insulin resistance. Physical activity for 30 minutes daily enables your cells to properly use the insulin and process glucose in the body. Weight loss also helps to manage insulin resistance which can be attained by exercising and workout.

What food should I avoid to control insulin resistance?

To control insulin resistance, one should avoid high-carb, high-fat food, packaged food, canned juices, processed food, food with added sugar, sugary drinks, etc. Such foods are commonly known as cakes, ice creams, soda drinks, sugary fruit juices, chips, cookies, full-fat cheese and milk, pasta, pizza, etc.

What is the best diet for insulin resistance?

A perfect diet plan for insulin resistance can improve insulin resistance. This diet includes lean protein, healthy fats, high fiber, vegetables, fruits, lean dairy products, whole grains, rich nutrients, etc.

What causes Insulin Resistance?

Many reasons can cause insulin resistance like inactive lifestyle, being overweight, family history, unhealthy food, conditions like high blood pressure, high triglyceride, low HDL, high-carb diet, age, ethnicity, sleep problems, etc.

What should be my carbohydrate intake in an insulin resistant diet?

People with insulin resistance should get half their calories from carbohydrates. If you are on an 1800-calorie diet plan for insulin resistance, then 800-900 calories should come from the carbs you eat. It will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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