If you think that eating fat makes you fat, then you don’t understand how the body works.
Weight loss merely by calorie and fat restriction does not guarantee fat burning. After a while, you will reach a weight-loss plateau, beyond which you simply can’t lose any more weight.
Eating fat does not make you fat. A high carbohydrate diet is the reason for your weight gain, and insulin is the hormone ultimately responsible for body fat storage.
- When you eat a carb-rich meal, within a very short time, it is digested, absorbed, and converted to glucose in the bloodstream. Your pancreas rapidly produces a large amount of insulin to take the excess glucose out. It is converted first into glycogen, a form of starch, which is stored in the liver and muscles. But the body can only store a limited amount of glycogen, so all other excess glucose is stored as body fat – saturated fat. This is how you put on weight and this is why you have such a hard time losing fat.
- High insulin levels also suppress two important hormones – glucagon and growth hormone. Glucagon promotes the burning of fat and sugar. Growth hormone is essential for muscle development and building of new muscles. Both are vital for proper weight management.
If eating carbs trigger an insulin response, does it mean that we should not eat carbs at all?
First of all, some people have a higher tolerance for carbohydrates than others due to genetic differences in their ability to metabolize various foods into energy.
According to Metabolic Typing, there are three general classifications of body types: the Carb, Protein, and Mixed Types. Carb Types can tolerate and eat relatively more carbs than the Mixed and Protein Types. If you eat more carbs than your metabolism calls for, you will have a tendency to store fat and gain weight. Hence, it is advisable to find out more about your own unique body chemistry and learn how to eat according to your body type so that you can give your body the fuel it needs to run optimally.
Secondly, not all carbs are created equal.
What distinguishes between good and bad carbs is the fiber. Good carbs are fiber carbs and bad carbs are non-fiber carbs.
Non-fiber carbs are bad for you because they evoke a strong, rapid insulin reaction; they have a high glycemic index (GI). Non-fiber carbs are usually void of nutrients and act like a big lump of sugar in your system.
- Potatoes, corn, white, refined bread, pasta, and rice as well as many breakfast cereals and sugary foods and drinks have very high GI that rapidly increase your insulin levels and promote fat storage and weight gain.
- Fruit juice, due to the absence of fiber, is high in GI. It causes a sharp rise in blood sugar and is considered as a non-fiber carb.
- Alcohol is processed by the liver which metabolizes alcohol into acetate, and finally into carbon dioxide and water. Although alcohol is not metabolized into sugar, the problem with alcohol is that it is processed in the body before the proteins, fats, and carbs, hence, it slows down the fat burning process. Therefore, over consumption of alcohol can ultimately add pounds to the body. Moreover, alcohol itself has no nutrients and is high in calories (7 calories per gram), almost as much as fat (9 calories per gram) and much more than carbs or protein (4 calories per gram).
Fiber carbs are good for you because they do not result in a significant rise in insulin.
- Above-ground vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale, and spinach have the lowest GI and are nutrient-rich and low in starch. They are your first choice for carbohydrates.
- Beans, fruits, and root vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes, are higher in carbohydrate content and GI. However, because they are a good source of fiber and are full of nutrients, they are your second choice for carbohydrates.
- Whole grains, such as rye, barley, quinoa, oats, wheat, and brown rice, contain fiber and nutrients but are relatively high in GI. Therefore, it is best to limit the consumption of grains in your diet to prevent excessive fat storage. Whole grains are your third choice for carbohydrates.
Other Known Adverse Effects Of Insulin
- Persistently high insulin levels result in insulin resistance. The cells in the body become insensitive to the actions of insulin and blood glucose levels remain consistently elevated. Over time, you develop type II diabetes. Even worse, while insulin can’t do the glucose job, it still performs its other tasks, by converting carbs to fat and by inhibiting stored fat from being burned. You end up with diabetes and you are overweight.
- Studies show that there is an almost direct correlation between high triglyceride levels (linked to increased risk of heart disease and stroke) and high insulin levels. Therefore, by controlling insulin, triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol decrease.
- Insulin causes the blood to clot more readily and promotes accumulation of fatty deposits and plague, hence, a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease.
- Insulin stimulates cell proliferation and cell division. Research shows that there is a strong correlation between high levels of insulin and certain types of cancer, like breast and colon.
Insulin Control Is The Key To Weight Management
Insulin is essentially a storage hormone, to help you store the excess calories from carbohydrates in the form of fat in case of famine and starvation. The problem with modern day life is the extreme opposite situation. Not only do we don’t have famine and starvation, we have an overabundance of sweets, starches, and grains that are made endlessly available for our consumption.
Insulin, Exercise, And Weight Loss
When you exercise, you want the body to burn fat. However, if your insulin levels are high during exercise, your body will end up burning sugar rather than fat. That explains why many people see very little or no results in weight reduction even though they exercise.
Professional athletes go on a low-carbohydrate diet when they train – they are essentially burning fat. The night before their event, they load up on carbs. The rise in insulin instructs the body to store glycogen in the liver and muscles, so that they can go into a sugar burning mode for enhanced athletic performance.
Regular exercise plays an integral role in weight management. However, to get the most out of your exercise, it is best to be complemented with a diet that keeps your insulin levels on an even keel.
The Bottom Line
To lose weight, you want the body to burn fat – that means the insulin response must be moderated. Most importantly, eliminate the non-fiber carbs and the high glycemic foods. Instead, focus mostly on the fiber carbs – in particular, those with low and moderate glycemic levels.