Understanding Insulin & Fat Loss

If you were to say optimising fat loss is a great skill you wouldn’t be wrong, there are so many factors which you need to consider. Hormone control, and more specifically insulin control is something which I feel is absolutely essential. Setting out to transform your physique is an amazing goal, but if you are going to get crazy results like those that you deserve then I suggest you swot up on insulin.

What is insulin?

Great question, very often you will read and hear about why you don’t want to eat foods which will cause the secretion of insulin throughout day but you never really learn what insulin IS! To keep it in digestible chunks, no pun intended, insulin is a hormone which is secreted from the pancreas. Generally speaking, carbohydrates are the food group which stimulate the secretion of insulin into the blood stream.

What is the function of insulin?

The primary function of insulin is simply to help the cells in your body convert glucose into energy. The cells in your body have two layers of lipid fats which the glucose is absorbed through. It is the insulin in your blood stream which helps this process run smoothly as it binds to the cells.

Relating insulin to body fat

People who follow a typical diet may find that they are very insulin resistant which is partly why their body fat levels are higher than they might like them to be. If you are insulin resistant this basically means that when the insulin is secreted into the blood stream it doesn’t bind effectively to the cells in your body which equates to higher insulin levels within your blood. As a result this can potentially cause an increase in cortisol levels which is the stress hormone, known for its catabolic properties and tendency to promote fat gains – in plain old English, NOT GOOD! To rub salt into the wound, due to the fact that you are insulin resistant the glucose in your blood stream is not going to be utilised very effectively as an energy source. This will in most cases lead to the body taking the easiest route and storing the excess glucose as body fat. Right, so now you can begin to see why understanding insulin is so relevant to your transformation goals!

Increasing insulin sensitivity

For want of a better word when you eat to increase insulin sensitivity you are effectively rebuilding your ability to utilise energy more effectively, and as a result promote more rapid fat loss. What should you be eating to heighten your insulin sensitivity?

Healthy fats are great at improving insulin sensitivity, more specifically omega 3s. When I write something I am not one to leave it at that, I like to explain why. As we touched on earlier the cells within our body have two layers of fat, and depending on what you eat will determine what kind of fats form these layers. To keep it simple, healthy fats allow for better absorption because they are more ‘liquid’ if you like. Omega 3s are in this instance the best form of healthy fats to improve insulin sensitivity.

Foods such as fresh salmon fillet, mackerel, oils and seeds are all good Omega 3 sources.
Considering that carbohydrates cause the secretion of insulin this means they are off limits, right? Not quite! To say ‘carbohydrates’ is an extremely broad term and it would be completely irresponsible to claim they all effect your insulin levels in the same way as one another. They don’t!

The glycemic index is a great guide to help judge how certain carbohydrates affect your insulin levels. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the GI score, the higher the volume of insulin secreted into the blood stream. Please remember, this is just a guide. To give you an example, a carbohydrate which is rich in fructose for example may have a high GI score yet fructose does not elevate insulin levels like complex carbohydrates for example. This doesn’t mean it is OK to eat fructose rich food because there will be a large influx in blood glucose levels yet there will be no insulin available to help force the absorption of the glucose. You got it; this means it is very likely it will be converted to body fat.
This is just one example of the effect of different carbohydrates can have on your insulin levels – hopefully this outlines the importance of appreciating the correct application of different carbohydrates.

Type 2 Diabetes

There are a number of things which can cause type 2 diabetes, but in some cases the best treatment is by eating a better diet. For those of you who are in this position I would recommend eating omega 3 rich foods, plenty of protein and sticking to low GI carbohydrates and limiting them depending on your current body fat levels. It goes without saying; anybody who suffers diabetes should make sure they are following the guidelines provided by their doctor.

Putting this into practise

Eating a high protein diet with healthy fats and being diligent with your carbohydrate intake are all things I have recommended so far. How does one apply this to their diet though? Before I advise any further, please remember that I am talking as though you are a beginner, your body fat is above 12-15%, and that you have found you are unable to shift the unwanted pounds from your physique.

Adam Gethin’s Eating Protocol for Maximal Insulin Sensitivity

-    Eat 3 good sources of Omega 3 each day such as salmon, flaxseeds and mackerel
-    Limit carbohydrate sources to low GI only
-    Avoid fructose rich food
-    Limit complex carbohydrate consumption to post-weight training
-    Eat every 3 hours to sustain constant blood sugar levels

It is my belief that applying these principles will improve your insulin sensitivity and as a result will help burn body fat from stubborn areas across your body.

Here is an example of a client I have used these very principles with to help achieve this great transformation in 8 short weeks!

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  • OneMoreRep
    March 18, 2012 OneMoreRep

    Very good article Adam, I have been following similar diet regimen and this seems to be working really well for me.


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