Fix Insulin Resistance

June 26, 2023

Find out what foods to avoid and embrace in this article where we continue covering how insulin resistance impacts fertility. A quick recap: Insulin resistance is a condition where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels and potential health issues, including infertility. While the exact cause of insulin resistance is not fully understood, there is evidence suggesting a link to the gut microbiome. By making dietary changes, we are in a better position to fix insulin resistance and improve our overall health.

Understanding Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, causing elevated blood sugar levels. This condition can have significant implications for fertility and overall health. One potential culprit behind insulin resistance is an imbalance in the gut microbiome, which can be influenced by our food choices.

Fix Insulin Resistance: Foods to Avoid

Certain food groups can exacerbate insulin resistance. While singling out one specific food may not have a substantial impact, reducing the consumption of certain food groups can yield positive results. Here are some food groups to be cautious of:

  1. Processed Foods: Highly processed foods, such as those found in boxes or fast-food meals, tend to be high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat, and low in fiber. Consuming these foods regularly can contribute to insulin resistance. While complete avoidance is not necessary, reducing their intake can be beneficial.
  2. Sugar: Both natural and artificial sugars can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels. Even natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar can affect insulin levels. Artificial sweeteners may not impact blood sugar directly, but they can still trigger insulin release and disrupt the diversity of gut bacteria, potentially contributing to insulin resistance.
  3. Fats: Saturated and trans fats, commonly found in butter, cream, lard, shortening, and palm oil, can worsen insulin resistance. On the other hand, unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil, may help reduce insulin resistance. However, it is essential to moderate overall fat intake, as excessive fat consumption can worsen insulin resistance.

Embrace Plant-Based Foods

Eating a plant-based diet can significantly improve insulin resistance and overall health. Plants are rich in fiber, which is beneficial for gut health and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SCFAs strengthen cell barriers, reduce inflammation, promote gut healing, and improve insulin utilization. Including the following plant-based foods in your diet can provide substantial benefits:

  1. Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats, and whole wheat bread. These provide essential nutrients and fiber that support gut health.
  2. Veggies and Fruits: Include a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits in your diet. Aim for at least five handfuls of vegetables every day, focusing on diverse types. Variety is key to nurturing a healthy gut microbiome.
  3. Nuts and Seeds: Incorporate nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. They offer healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients.
  4. Legumes: Include legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, which are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fiber.

Will Probiotics Help With Insulin Resistance?

Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Clostridium, and Akkermansia, have shown promise in improving insulin resistance in animal studies. Human studies have yielded mixed results, with some showing benefits and others showing no effect. While more research is needed, incorporating probiotics into a healthy lifestyle may be beneficial. Probiotics are unlikely to cause harm and can be combined with other dietary changes for potential benefits.

Fix Insulin Resistance Through Food: Your Challenge

To improve insulin resistance and overall health, consider the following challenges:

  1. Increase Vegetable Intake: Aim to consume at least five handfuls of vegetables every day, including weekends. Incorporate vegetables into brunches, meals when eating out, or as snacks instead of fruits.
  2. Embrace Variety: Strive to consume a wide range of plant-based foods. Aim for approximately 30 different types of plants each week. Focus on diversity, as it promotes a healthy gut microbiome.

All that to say…

Fixing insulin resistance through food is possible by making strategic dietary choices. By avoiding processed foods, limiting sugar consumption, and selecting healthy fats, we can positively impact insulin resistance. Additionally, embracing a plant-based diet rich in fiber and incorporating probiotics may offer further benefits. Remember to focus on variety and experiment with different plant-based foods to support a diverse gut microbiome. By taking these steps, you can enhance your fertility, overall health, and well-being.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us via email at or on Instagram at @ohgoodness_nutrition. Stay tuned for our next post, where we will explore how leotards and lycra can help beat insulin resistance. Read on!

Written by Hannah Eriksen

Oh Goodness Nutrition Logo

Have You Heard?

Eating more food can increase your fertility by as much as 69%. Ridiculous! Also, awesome. Find out how we help you do that. 

Hannah Eriksen Erickson Ericson Erikson

Are you a podcast fangirl?

A rando mix of true life fertility woes, interviews with really smart people, and bite-sized nutrition tips to get closer to your dream fam.

Howdy, have we met?

Hannah Eriksen Erickson Ericson Erikson Dietitian Dietician

Hey future mama, I’m Hannah. I’m terrified of guns and board games. So as long as you’re not going to hold me at gunpoint to play Settlers of Catan, I think we’ll get on just fine.

Let me give you a bit of background: my husband and I struggled to get pregnant for what felt like an eternity. I cried every bloody time Aunt Flo showed up. I became a fertility nutcase, researching everything I could to (try) control the emotional rollercoaster.

Some really smart people have studied how food & lifestyle impact fertility. It occurred to me I knew a thing or two about nutrition (on the DL – I studied it for eight years in both the USA and NZ, with a masters degree to boot).

Hit fast-forward and I am a mama, with a business of registered dietitians saving women the waiting, disappointment and confusion about getting pregnant. Alongside your doctor, fertility dietitians help you regulate your hormones, get your cycle on track, and get in shape…while eating!

So next time you’re tempted to unfollow that friend for unsolicited baby photos, or punch Aunt Rosa for asking when you’ll have kids, invite us on your fertility journey instead. We’ll help you become a mum with fewer tissues, tampons and torment.

GP Checklist

If planning, pursuing, or praying for a pregnancy have you covered these things with your doctor?