For the last week of April's challenge on fat, I am going to focus on insulin levels. Maybe seems crazy, but as I say, there is a method to my madness.
What is insulin? Insulin is a form of a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. Insulin plays many important roles in the body. It is vital to life. Without it we would die. Too high, too low and havoc is wreak throughout the body. If insulin is consistently elevated, our health begins to unravel at the cellular level and beyond. Insulin is kinda a big deal.
One of the roles of insulin to regulating blood sugar, glucose, in the blood. When you eat carbs and sugars, insulin is produced in response to the glucose. The body uses insulin to take the glucose out of the blood stream and push it into the cells to be used for energy, stored in the muscles or liver, if your stores are full, it is converted to fat and stored on the body as fat. Shuttling out the glucose from our blood stream is important because glucose left in the blood stream can become toxic. We need to flush it out, use it or store it.
Another role of insulin is regulation of fat storage or break down. Yup, insulin tells your body to either store fat or burn fat for energy. If glucose levels are high in the blood, the insulin being produced and released by the body, keeps fat safely locked away on your body to be burned later for fuel. When insulin levels come back to stable levels, the body can begin to use your fat stores as a source of energy. You have to use glucose first, if it is left in the blood stream it can become toxic to the body. If you continue inputting sugar laden foods, your insulin levels remain high and fat continues to be stored on the body.
There are many other roles insulin plays in the body, very important roles. We are going to stick with these two for today.
Remember, insulin is important in the body. We have to have it. It is about the levels we have it in. We need enough for all the roles insulin plays in the body, seamlessly rising and falling with in a narrow range for the vitality of life. We want to avoid the big waves, crashes, and consistently high levels. We want more of a whisper.
Insulin is triggered by the level of glucose in the blood stream. Eat a lot of carbs, insulin levels go up to shuttle this glucose out of the blood stream, then plummet. This triggers hunger. The more unstable and higher your insulin levels, the more hungry you are. Your body is trying to keep you alive here, too high or too low of insulin levels and we are in trouble. Mood swings, hangry, exhaustion, inability to think, focus, weight gain..... Getting the picture?
If carbs, increase the amount of insulin produced in the body, what do we eat? Protein and our good friend fat. The bulk of your nutrient intake should be coming from fat and protein. How much? An idea is a gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, ideal weight. More than you are eating. How much fat? Copious amounts of healthy fats that we have been talking about these last several posts. Protein has some impact on your insulin levels. For most, this impact is not a big deal, be sure to eat it with fat. Eat more protein. Fat on the other hand. well is basically is a free food. It doesn't impact our insulin levels. Keeps them nice and stable. Eat more fat.
One more important thing, stable insulin levels leads to effortless weight loss and maintenance. Go eat some fat and protein.
Dr. Cate Her book the "Fat Burn Fix" is fantastic.
Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.