Do you know what insulin is? Well if you don't and you aer trying to lose weight then you need to read this...it could be a game changer.
Insulin's job is to transport sugar from the blood in to the cells of the body.
An increase in blood sugar stimulates the production and release of insulin to bring it back down to the correct level (this is the bit people with type 1 diabetes can't do).
If insulin levels and sensitivity (the body's ability to uptake insulin and sugar from blood to cells for energy) aren't managed it makes fat loss very difficult.
Issues in terms of fat loss are two fold:
Firstly, some of the excess sugar will be converted to fat which is not what we want, but more of an issue is that high levels of insulin in the blood means the body will just run on carbohydrates for energy and won't touch the fat stores making it very difficult to lose the excess, i.e. until the sugary stuff is dealt with and insulin levels come back down fat loss will stall to a degree, especially if someone develops insulin resistance (more details on that lower down)
Secondly, the simpler the carbohydrates we eat, the bigger the 'spike' in blood sugar.This is because sugary things like coke and chocolate are digested much faster than more complex carbs such as rice, potatoes etc.
Think of insulin transporting carbs as people in cars and your muscle cells as a car park.
If you get a steady stream of cars coming and going over a period of time, the car park might get 90% full, but it’s never filled to the point where no more cars can come in – the same as eating things that take a little time to digest.
However, if too many cars turn up at once they can’t all get in, so they start to park on the grass verge opposite – think of the grass verge as the body’s fat stores.
Unfortunately it’s further to walk so they hang around for longer and they sink and, getting a bit stuck making it hard for them to get away again leading to some being abandoned.
In addition, when the car park is filled and emptied very quickly with lots of heavy traffic all at once, it starts to wear out a bit as there isn’t the time or the ability to repair the bits of damage as all the spaces are needed.
Some spaces get big potholes so the cars can’t park there, reducing the capacity in the car park so more people use the grass verge. More people get stuck so more cars get abandoned.
This is similar to what happens when we have too much simple sugars too often – we need lots of insulin, but the body can’t uptake it all in muscle cells so some ends up as fat, if this happens often enough our cells’ ability to uptake the insulin reduces so more ends up stored as fat.
The other effect this has, is that the body’s response to there being excess insulin in the blood (as it takes a while to convert the carbs to fat) is to make you crave more sugar, making the whole problem worse. On top of this, while insulin levels remain high, it is very very difficult to burn off fat.
While exercise helps with insulin sensitivity to a degree, we can't out train a poor diet.
In my opinion exercise is much more about overall fitness and health and the ability to do the things we take for granted today well in to old age.
The BIG FACTOR is what we eat. This isn't to say never touch a dairy milk or lemonade again, it just means trying to keep a balance.
Get protein, fat and complex carbs in and don’t rely on the short bursts of energy from sugar to keep you going; if nothing else eating something balanced at the same time as something sugary slows down digestion and reduces the insulin spike and fat loss problems associated with the spike and crash blood sugar cycle.
Posted on 19/01/2017
by Adam White filed under