Posted by: molander | September 11, 2009

Introducing: Insulin

Great stuff, insulin. This guy is the linchpin of our metabolic hormone organization. It affects almost every cell in the body so if we can get a handle on this one, we’ll take a major step toward balance.

How does it work?

Most important function: to lower the concentration of glucose in your blood. Like this:

xxxa) Eat

xxxb) Digestion breaks food down into simple sugars

xxxc) Simple sugars released into bloodstream

xxxd) Within MINUTES, pancreas pumps out series of insulin surges

xxxe) Insulin takes sugars directly to liver

xxxf) Liver converts sugars into glycogen for use by the muscles OR

xxxg) If muscles have enough… guess what the excess sugar gets turned into? FAT. The idea is to be stored for later use. (That’s the IDEA, anyway.) Either way, it gets the sugar out of the blood which is good.

The Bad News:

Elementary view of insulin!

Elementary view of insulin resistance!

1. The body produces no insulin = Type 1 Diabetes

2. The body produces some insulin but not enough = Type 2 Diabetes

3. A common choice that can cause the body produces too much insulin:

xxx1. Eating the wrong carbs (refined carbs: white bread or pasta, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc)

xxx2. These foods increase insulin production more dramatically/quickly – it’s sort of like Mr. Insulin goes into panic mode rushing around to capture all the excess, fast-loading blood sugar.

xxx3. Repeating this cycle will cause your cells to eventually IGNORE the insulin. It’s called insulin resistance and is the precursor of Type 2 diabetes.

4. Other things can throw insulin off balance: Certain food additives, Certain pesticides, Certain plastics, Certain prescription drugs, High-glycemic carbs, Infections, Lack of exercise, Liver or kidney dysfunction, Not eating breakfast, Obesity, Pregnancy, Skipping meals, Smoking, Steroids (chronic use), Stress, Too few calories, Too many calories.

5. The more body fat you have, the more insulin you have in your brain. This makes us more likely to have cognitive decline, vascular dementia, or Alzheimer’s.

The Good News

1. Just look at the list above in. How many of those are within your control?

2. Most of us have an unbalanced diet. Try to get equal amounts of macronutrients (protein, good fats, good carbs). I love dailyburn.com for tracking my foods and it gives you a pie chart so you can see your macronutrient ratio at a glance.

xxx1. We can get picky here… people metabolize food differently and would benefit from a different ratio but no beneficial ratio is loaded with bad carbs! (Fodder for another post.)

xxx2. Exercise

xxxxxx1. Muscles becomes more efficient at using glucose-turned-glycogen for fuel.

xxxxxx2. You’ll burn more fat.

xxxxxxxxx1. When muscles use all the glycogen up, it then turns to the fat for fuel. (Good.) BUT, if there’s extra sugar/ insulin in the blood, you won’t burn the fat because there’s a constant supply for the muscles to use. Why would the body need to tap into fat storage?

Observations

1. This is one reason why experts say, “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn… even at rest.” It’s thanks to an efficient metabolism…beginning with a ready, willing and able Mr. Insulin.

2. If insulin affects almost all your cells in one way or another, why wouldn’t you want to learn to control it? (Simple questions deserve simple answers. However, it’s only simple for some people. For others, it’s complicated. Again, fodder for another post!)

References: Master Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels, The American Diabetes Association , Life Clinic

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Responses

  1. […] Need a reminder about what insulin does? Read my post Introducing: Insulin. […]

  2. […] slow your metabolism with chemicals! (See my previous posts: Living in Ignorant Bliss and Introducing Insulin for a brief […]

  3. […] 4. Sugar can make you fat. Everybody knows this but it’s not just because it’s high in calories. It sets off a chain reaction of hormonal imbalances as your body tries to compensate for the increased blood sugar levels. I explain it better here. […]


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