Some Basic Facts About Insulin
When we consume foods high in carbohydrate:
- The carbohydrate is broken down into simple sugars
- These sugars are absorbed into our blood stream raising blood glucose levels
- This spike in blood glucose increases production of our fat storing hormone insulin
- Insulin removes excess glucose from the blood, but prevents fat burning by storing surplus nutrients in fat cells
- The resulting shortage of nutrients in the blood stream creates feelings of hunger and cravings for sweet foods. And so the sugar craving cycle and over-eating continues
The good news is that when we reduce our carbohydrate intake, less insulin is produced. This releases fat from storage and increases fat burning, usually resulting in fat loss. A diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat allows the body to use its fat reserves.
In the above bullet points, the scenario I have described is a condition known as insulin resistance. As we age we become more insulin resistant, putting us at risk of excessive weight gain, around our stomachs in particular. For women the decrease in production of estrogen as we approach menopause causes us to become more insulin resistant, increasing fat above the waist, around the stomach area in particular. If this isn’t bad enough, associated metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels put us at greater risk of heart disease stroke and diabetes, just to name a few.