impact of insulin resistance on weight loss

Ideas, they say, rule the world but when it comes to the world of weight loss, a lot of individuals will take such a statement with a pinch of salt and the reasons for that will not be farfetched considering what has befallen this peculiar industry over the years. To say the least, there has been an inundation of all sort of "miracle" ideas and products to lose weight most which have been nothing more than hoaxes, while others were doubtful, impracticable, or deficient.

With that said there are certain ideas which have nonetheless proven effective in losing weight over the years despite the fact that their critics have labeled them non-sustainable and thus dismissed as unhealthy for weight loss notwithstanding that they have not been able to completely deny the efficacy of these ideas in drastically losing weight. This article takes a look at one very simple yet effective strategy which you can incorporate into your lifestyle to achieve tremendous weight loss results. This little-known secret to quick weight loss is: the impact of high insulin level reduction on weight loss.

Yea, you’d say but wait and get the facts and judge for yourself why this idea has awesome power to achieve its stated goal of being able to quickly cause weight loss. This article is however not oblivious of some of the stated opinions of nutritionists which include that it is the nutritional quality of a diet or the elimination of an entire food group from the diet that causes weight loss and not a particular metabolic change such as insulin secretion.

Having said that, what role then does insulin actually play in weight loss and how can this role make any difference in an individual’s ability to lose weight through its proper application?

The human body is awe-inspiring at creating systems of checks and balances to ensure its survival and one of its major tasks is to maintain a state of balance called homeostasis. Homeostasis is a complex set of biological regulatory systems of the body to maintain an optimal physiological and chemical equilibrium in order for cellular reactions to occur. Examples of homeostasis include the body’s self-regulation of hormone and acid-base levels, the composition of body fluids, as well as cell growth and body temperatures.

Insulin is a hormone that is made by specialized cells in the pancreas and that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the body. Insulin enables the cells of the body to take up glucose – the simple sugar that cells oxidize for energy. Thus, its major role is to control blood glucose (sugar) levels by removing excess blood glucose for storage in muscle and liver cells as glycogen, and as fat in adipose (fat-storing) tissues.

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When it comes to regulating blood sugar levels, it is important to note that apart from insulin, other hormones such as glucagon, cortisol, growth hormone, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, play significant roles. While insulin lowers blood glucose (sugar) levels, all the other hormones raise it with glucagon playing a more significant role by directly counteracting the effect of insulin as it increases blood sugar level when it is secreted into the bloodstream. The release of insulin, glucagon, and growth hormones can be blocked by a protein called somatostatin while another hormone, gastric inhibitory polypeptide, enhances insulin release in response to glucose absorption.

After eating, the level of glucose (the end product of the digestion of carbohydrate-containing foods) in the blood increases. How much it increases and thus the release of insulin and rate of glucose absorption into the body depends on a number of factors such as the glycemic index (GI) of the consumed carbohydrate-containing foods and the co-ingestion of fat and protein. Generally, foods with a low glycemic index (below 50) raise blood sugar less quickly than those with a high glycemic index (above 65).

The glycemic index is a rating system used to determine the speed at which a digested carbohydrate-containing food is absorbed into the bloodstream – the higher the rate, the faster the absorption. Combined with the glycemic index, the glymemic load (GL), another index for determining how quickly glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, which takes into account the amount of carbohydrates per serving, gives a more accurate picture.

The glycemic load became important because although generally all foods that are low on the glycemic index tend to be low on the glycemic load, there are however exceptions with certain pastas that have higher amounts of carbohydrate per gram. Also, there are certain carbohydrate-containing foods that have a high glycemic index rating such as watermelon, but which have a lower glycemic load rating. Thus, the amount of increase in blood glucose level from a consumed carbohydrate-containing food depends more on the glycemic load rating because it equally determines the carbohydrate per gram in the food product.

The body’s extreme sensitivity to glucose levels in the bloodstream make it work vigorously to ensure its stability. Therefore, when blood glucose level increase above normal, the cells in the pancreas release insulin to help remove the excess amount from the bloodstream for storage. The excess glucose removed from the bloodstream is stored mostly as fat because the body can only store a certain amount of the excess glucose in the muscles and liver but once these options are filled, the body turns to storing the excess glucose in the fat cells around the body.

More so, continually high glucose levels can eventually break this delicate system and leave some amount of glucose in the bloodstream. This causes more and more insulin to be secreted to remove the excess glucose and eventually this can make body cells become insulin resistant making even higher levels of insulin ineffective. Insulin resistance is a generally regarded as precursor of type 2 diabetes. Thus excessive insulin secretion leads to insulin resistance which is considered to encourage the excessive storage of fat in major fat-storage areas such as the hips, thighs and stomach.

Also, while insulin stimulates the storage of excess glucose as fat in the body for future use, it also blocks the body from releasing and utilizing fat as an energy source. Thus insulin not only stores excess fat, it also stops the body from burning fat. Excess insulin levels practically make permanent weight loss almost impossible.

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The good news however is that, if there is a significant reduction in the amount of consumed carbohydrate leading to a lowered blood glucose level, the production and secretion of insulin can also be significantly reduced allowing the body to use its store of glycogen from the muscles and liver to sustain its energy level. However, once the body uses up its glycogen stores, it is left with only the option of burning its excess fat stores for energy fuel through the process of ketosis.

From the above facts about how insulin functions, it therefore becomes obvious that to be able to burn off significant amount of excess body fat, the best option would be to develop strategies or ideas that will help to first bring high insulin levels under control and to further reduce it to a desired level to achieve ones ideal weight loss goals. This can be achieved to a certain extent through a healthy dieting lifestyle incorporating proper foods such as lean protein, high-fiber carbohydrate options, and essential fats.

However, in order to achieve maximum effects from this secret, promoters of most low-carbohydrate diets have adopted this concept as the underlying principle behind the development of their various diet plans. Most of these diet plans promote weight loss by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrate consumed by dieters. To make up for the reduced energy levels occasioned by the reduced carbohydrate intake, low-carbohydrate diets advocate the increased consumption of either protein or fat.

Both high-fat and high-protein based low-carbohydrate diets essentially function by initially stimulating the pancreas to release glucagon into the bloodstream due to the low blood glucose levels. Glucagon stimulates the breakdown of stored glycogen back into glucose to meet the body’s energy needs. Thus glucagon functions by counteracting the effect of insulin – insulin lowers blood glucose levels while glucagon raises it.

The delicate interplay between the insulin and glucagon hormones, play a significant role in determining whether the body stores or burns calories. However, low-carbohydrate diets ultimately aim to move into a secondary state of the lipolysis (fat burning) process called ketosis. Ketosis is a state whereby the body is practically forced into burning its fat stores for energy supply.

Despite the effectiveness of most of these diets, they have a major drawback which most of their critics have been capitalizing on for years to paint these diets bad. This drawback is the fact that they cannot be sustained for long-term due to the elimination of some important macronutrient which are normally provided by carbohydrate-containing foods.

Notwithstanding their drawbacks, low-carbohydrate diets can still be used to achieve the most possible maximum weight loss benefits by embracing the sound underlying principle on which they are founded – reducing high insulin levels. This can be achieved by understanding the different stages or phases of most of these diet plans and adjusting them as necessary to suit your individual weight loss goal and to meet the body’s need for all essential macronutrients.

Therefore, it becomes very important to acknowledge the fact that our food choices have a dramatic effect on our hormones which are the body’s most powerful chemical messengers. Eating the wrong foods is therefore bound to trigger hormonal fluctuations which can affect moods and cause excessive increase in secretion of insulin which can lead to weight gain.

Conclusively, maintaining a healthy and stable blood glucose level throughout the day should therefore be of the utmost importance for weight loss, energy, and disease prevention.