Insulin Resistance and Plant Based Diets

Calorie-dense diets combined with sedentary lifestyles have skyrocketed the rates of overweight and obesity. Carrying extra weight, especially around midsection, greatly increases the risk of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, this is the exact position a large percentage of modern populations find themselves in. 

As many as 40% of adults in the US are insulin-resistant. Most do not know it. Insulin resistance is a silent metabolic condition that may fly under the radar for years while quietly damaging cellular health. 

In good news, insulin resistance is treatable and, in many cases, reversible. Let’s take a close look at ways to improve insulin sensitivity and protect you from the risks associated with insulin resistance. 

We’ll explore:

  • What insulin resistance is and how it develops.
  • The benefit of plant-based diets for insulin resistance.
  • Easy ways to move towards a plant-based diet.
  • How Juvenon Cellular Health supports the repair of cells damaged by insulin resistance. 

What Causes Insulin Resistance?

Insulin is a vital hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to the presence of elevated levels of blood sugar (known as glucose) in the bloodstream. It’s normal for blood glucose to change throughout the day, increasing after you eat and then returning to baseline with the aid of insulin, usually within a few hours of eating. (1)

Insulin is like a key that unlocks a door in your cells to allow glucose, a major source of cellular energy, to enter. Without insulin, the door stays locked, and your cells can’t access the fuel they need. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells stop responding well to insulin, making it difficult for glucose to move from the bloodstream into the cell. In response, the pancreas produces more insulin, trying to boost the insulin signal to unlock the door and get glucose in. For a time, this can work. But eventually, as cells become more resistant and the pancreas is overtaxed, more glucose may be stuck in the bloodstream, lacking the key to get them in the door. It’s not glucose’s fault. The cells are resisting insulin’s signal to unlock. There are two major reasons this can happen.

  • Excess weight: Being overweight or obese greatly increases the risk of insulin resistance. (2) The effect of excess weight on insulin sensitivity is even more pronounced when the weight is predominantly carried around the waist.
    While the exact mechanism is still being studied, systemic inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, increased circulating fatty acids, and oxidative stress are a few culprits contributing to the development of insulin resistance. (
    3) Fat deposits around and within the organs of the midsection may release compounds that interfere with insulins signals. (4)
  • Lack of physical activity: Sedentary lifestyles are closely associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance. (5) Conversely, physical activity supports the insulin-secreting cells of the pancreas, enhances mitochondrial health, and reduces inflammation. (6)  Exercise (using skeletal muscles) also enables a protein in the body called Glut 4 to regulate glucose balance. After you eat a meal, over 75% of the glucose is removed from circulation by this mechanism. In this way, exercise and increased lean body mass permits greater glucose metabolism and function.
    However, without enough activity, cells gradually become less responsive to insulin. While we won’t talk too much about exercise and the importance of staying active for metabolic health in this article, it should go without saying that getting more movement is essential for cellular health.

Left untreated, insulin resistance leads to prediabetes, where the level of glucose in the blood is elevated but not yet high enough to be classified as diabetes. Eventually, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes, making treatment more difficult and increasing the risk of other chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. (7)

Insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes are progressive conditions in which the level of glucose circulating in the blood remains higher than normal. This excess glucose causes microscopic damage to cells and overtime, this damage accumulates, leading to increased cellular dysfunction and chronic disease. 

Insulin Resistance and Plant-Based Diets

Insulin resistance and prediabetes can be reversed with appropriate diet and exercise. (5) Specifically, moving towards a plant-based diet has been shown to aid fat loss, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. (8) The sooner insulin resistance is addressed, the more likely it can be reversed before negative effects occur. 

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

A plant-based diet is one that incorporates mainly whole, unprocessed plant foods. While a plant-based diet can be vegan, excluding all animal products, it is possible to eat a plant-based diet that includes small amounts of animal foods. However, the foundation of a quality plant-based diet is always, you guessed it, plants!

These foods should make up all or most of a plant-based diet:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole grain bread and pasta
  • Legumes, including beans, peas, and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Plant fats such as avocados and olive oil

How Can a Plant-Based Diet Help Improve Insulin Resistance?

Eating more plants is so good for you. It improves your health in almost every way, many of which address the issue of insulin resistance. 

  • Weight loss: Moving from a diet containing more animal foods to a predominantly plant food diet is associated with beneficial weight loss, one of the primary ways to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. (9)Burning excess fat, especially fat around the midsection and within the liver, reduces inflammation and fatty acid mobilization, among other benefits that allow cells to better respond to insulin. (10
  • Diet quality: Plant-based diets tend to be higher in beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Higher diet quality is linked with a decreased risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. (11) We covered a few specific plant foods with extra benefits in our9 Weight Loss Boosters article. It should be noted that it is possible to consume an unhealthful plant-based diet if a large proportion of the plant foods are processed instead of whole, unprocessed plants. To get the benefits of a plant-based diet, processed foods should be limited. 
  • Fiber: Eating more whole, unprocessed plant foods can dramatically increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Higher intakes of fiber have been shown to decrease inflammation in the body and reduce insulin resistance. (12) Fiber is also beneficial for weight loss as it improves satiety and prevents overeating. (13
  • Increased health of the microbiome: A more diverse, healthy microbiome in the gut is associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance. (14) Diets high in whole-unprocessed plant foods make your microbiome happy by providing the ideal nutrients to support a diverse, balanced community of microbes. 

If you’re looking to prevent or treat insulin resistance, there is no better way to get started than with a plant-based diet and quality nutrients to improve cellular health. 

Getting Started With a Plant-Based Diet

Switching to a higher-quality plant-based diet isn’t complicated. It may be different than what you are currently used to, but with time and practice, eating more plants will be your new normal. Here are a few easy ways to get started.

  • Make breakfast meatless. Choose whole-grain cereal, plant-based yogurt, or whole-grain toast with nut butter as easy, plant-based breakfast options.
  • Start lunch with a salad. Regardless of what else you eat for lunch, beginning with a salad packed with veggies will immediately improve your diet quality and increase your fiber and overall plant intake. 
  • Snack on whole fruits or vegetables with hummus or nut butter. 
  • Add beans to your dinner menu. Beans are great in soups and salads, and they can be used in place of meat in many recipes, such as burgers or tacos.  
  • Switch from cow milk to plant milk like soy or almond.
  • Choose one day a week to eat zero animal products. You might be surprised how easy and satisfying it is!
  • Switch from white bread, rice, and flour to whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole wheat flour. 

Support Cellular Health

Eating more plant foods is a great step on the path to preventing or reversing insulin resistance. Adding targeted supplements is an additional way to support your efforts. 

Juvenon Cellular Health contains powerful nutrients that repair oxidative damage to your cells and boost mitochondrial function. Using a unique combination of alpha lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant, and acetyl l-carnitine for cellular health and fat burning, along with other important nutrients, Juvenon Cellular Health works at the cellular level to improve function and insulin sensitivity. 

Eating a plant-based diet and exercising are so critical for weight loss and reversing insulin resistance. Juvenon Cellular Health is designed to come alongside you and help you find success. 


Your cells are designed to respond to insulin signals. But being overweight, eating a poor-quality diet, and lack of exercise degrade cellular health and contribute to insulin resistance.

A plant-based diet is a powerful tool against insulin resistance. Eating predominantly plant-foods helps you lose weight, lower inflammation, improve diet quality, and balance your microbiome, all factors in making your cells more sensitive to insulin. 

AddingJuvenon Cellular Health can provide an extra boost to your healthy habits and restore optimal cell function. 

Insulin resistance is your cell's way of calling out for help. With a plant-based diet and the right quality supplements, you have the answer.  


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