Today I'll be looking at a video for you by strength coach Steve Williams called "Fat Loss Made Easy - How To Control Insulin." Now the first thing you may be thinking is, what does a strength coach know about this stuff? Well right off the bat he lets us know that he got his information from Dr. Bryan Walsh, who is a bit known in internet health circles and does have a few videos out himself.
However this one by Williams is particularly good, especially in doing a good job of explaining some of the things that go on with this, so we'll have a look at it.
He does speak of the main role of insulin being to regulate blood sugar, that part isn't correct, and while it does do that, this is just the first step in a multifaceted process of storing fat, and the first step is of course to get glucose into cells where it can be later stored. So this is our storing hormone actually.
I bring this up because if we just think of insulin as a hormone that regulates blood sugar, then we can neglect the other parts, increase insulin, lower blood sugar, and then make people fat, and that's not such a good idea actually. When this happens we know for sure that we've elevated insulin too much. Insulin is actually the hormone that makes you fat, that's its main role.
Next he explains how insulin acts upon the liver, the muscle, and fat, and it's the fat part that we want to be concerned about. So it both increases fat storage and inhibits fat burning, and in increasing fat, this increases the hormone leptin, and when you have too much fat stored, the body secretes too much leptin and we become leptin resistant, just like too much insulin will make you insulin resistant, and among other things this leads to excessive appetite, so now you're fat and you're driven to continue eating too much.
Steve then talks a little about GLUT-4 receptors, the main glucose receptor of the body and how some of these receptors require insulin to be activated, and some don't, and how exercise can cause you to take up glucose even without insulin. The body actually takes up glucose surprisingly well without insulin actually, even without exercise, although insulin does definitely increase uptake and that's one of its jobs.
So when there is too much insulin in the bloodstream, insulin receptors downregulate to restrict blood glucose, he doesn't go into this much but often times this is caused by too much glucose in the blood needing to be taken up, and the cells have a healthy limit and when you exceed that, the response is to downregulate the insulin receptors. So this is fine for cells in general as you don't want to flood them with glucose, but other cells like liver cells and alpha cells in the pancreas suffer from this as being sensitive to insulin is the way they know how much to raise our blood sugar, and when they become rather deaf to it then this is where you get the excessive glucose dumping.
So next he goes into some of the things that high insulin causes, first of all it makes us fat, and it also messes up our blood fats due to its role in converting carbs to triglycerides. It also is pro inflammatory and increases IL-6, which increases inflammation. That, together with its effects on raising blood pressure, increases risk of heart disease, although he doesn't mention that insulin in itself causes inflammation, which makes this even worse.
By raising inflammation, this results in our bodies raising cortisol levels because cortisol is the body's main anti inflammatory, but high cortisol brings with it a host of problems, especially high blood sugar, and raising blood sugar is cortisol's main function actually. So this sets in motion a vicious circle, insulin goes up, cortisol goes up, which raises insulin more, and so on.
Insulin, being a growth factor, also increases the risk of cancer when it is in excess, which is certainly not a good thing either. Also, once again, it increases leptin and leptin resistance. He also points out that high insulin causes mood disorders and sex hormone dysfunction.
So how do we fix this? Well the main method is to keep from eating a diet that secretes too much insulin, and we know that eating too many carbs does this. This video isn't even about diabetes by the way, diabetes is what happens when you have too much insulin for far too long, where one's glucose metabolism gets wrecked enough that it simply breaks down to various degrees, and once you get diabetes it doesn't stop breaking down then either.
Eventually at the end of the road, if your diabetes is uncontrolled for a very long time, this can end up killing off beta cell function enough so that you finally aren't making too much insulin but now become like a type 1 diabetic, although it's worse as you have a great deal of insulin resistance to go with this, and you therefore require much higher amounts than a type 1 does to maintain blood sugar at a given level.
This is directed at not only diabetics but everyone really, everyone is at risk of this, I wish I would have watched this video many years ago, but people without diabetes don't take any of this seriously, and neither does the medical profession, and we set ourselves on an unhealthy road when we ignore the effects of high insulin.
So Steve gives us an example of what he eats, he's not a diabetic, he's just eating this way to be healthy, but this is a great diet for diabetics as well. Bacon, eggs fried in butter, and mushrooms for breakfast, eggs or a protein shake for a mid morning snack, ham salad for lunch, 2 slices of meat or a protein shake for an afternoon snack, steak and asparagus fried in butter for dinner, and scrambled eggs fried in butter for an evening snack.
So this is an outstanding way to eat by the way, this guy is once again a strength trainer and a lot of people who work out go crazy with the carbs, his diet is very low carb actually, with a good amount of both protein and fat, that's the perfect way to protect yourself against high insulin levels and stay lean, as well as prevent insulin resistance, whether you have diabetes or not.