Saturday, July 18, 2009

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How Insulin Resistance Makes Us Fat

How is insulin related to gaining fat? There is a complex and important relationship between food, blood sugar, insulin, and fat. Insulin helps the body transform food into energy. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It also helps to store fat. Insulin is a powerful yet hidden fat-building hormone, which is the answer to why we keep getting fatter on low-fat, high carbohydrate diets.

High insulin levels inhibit the use of body fat for energy in the body. The researchers found in their studies that high levels of insulin can block stress hormones known as catecholamines, which normally cause the release of cellular energy. Adrenaline is the best known example of a catecholamine.

Insulin and Fat Storage
After you eat, digest, and absorb carbohydrate foods, your blood glucose (blood sugar) level normally rises. The pancreas responds by releasing insulin, which then transports glucose into your body cells where it can be used as energy. If you have more glucose in your body than your cells need, insulin takes extra blood glucose and transports it into fat storage. Blood sugar then returns to normal. This step is important because having abnormally high levels of blood glucose is called diabetes.

High Level of Insulin = High Level of Storage
Eat lots of food all day long and you will insure high insulin levels. Another way to insure high insulin levels is to eat foods like candy and simple carbs. This increases your blood sugar level quickly and as a response, you body releases a large volume of insulin. Then it is time to store that food as body fat.

So, insulin’s main job is to regulate blood glucose and insulin also signals fat storage. This creates some pros and cons when it comes to insulin levels: not enough insulin to regulate high blood sugar levels would result in diabetes, but high insulin levels on a frequent basis will make you fat.

In seeking the real weight-loss solution, the question we asked was simple: “If high insulin levels make you fat, then would lower insulin levels make you thin?” The answer is yes. Overweight and obesity is seen in the vast majority of those with insulin resistance and Type II diabetes due to the chronic storage of fat in the body.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body does not efficiently use insulin, so your pancreas has to make a lot more insulin to regulate blood glucose. If you have insulin resistance and eat foods high in carbohydrates, up to five times more insulin than normal is needed to bring your blood glucose back down to healthy levels. In fact, some people with insulin resistance produce so much insulin that their blood sugar levels dive way below normal. This low blood sugar condition is called hypoglycemia.
Insulin resistance can lead to diabetes later in life. More about Insulin Resistance in our next post.

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