Insulin Levels and Weight Loss
So, what does insulin have to do with weight loss? Everything, actually! In fact, if you’ve found yourself at one of those weight-loss plateaus, insulin might be to blame.
What is insulin and what does it do?
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas. Insulin helps your body absorb the nutrients found in your food. Every time you eat, your pancreas releases insulin. Once your cells have absorbed all of the nutrients from your food, your insulin levels stabilize until your next meal. Insulin also plays a vital role in telling your body to absorb fat, and thus can have a negative effect on your body’s ability to burn fat.
Insulin and carbs.
Insulin is highly sensitive to carbohydrates, as it dictates how much sugar (glucose) your cells absorb. When you eat a diet high in carbs, you release more insulin throughout the day. This means your body is regularly burning glucose instead of fat. Over time, your body gets used to the ease of using glucose and becomes resistant to the insulin released by the pancreas. This insulin resistance will cause higher levels of fat storage and lower levels of fat burning, as your cells only have room for limited amounts of glucose...everything else gets stored as fat.
Why not cut carbs out completely?
This process is why many low carb/no carb diets exist; people want to optimize their fat burning. The problem is that there are some vital systems that rely on carbs, including your brain! So, cutting out carbs long term is not a good idea.
How can you maximize insulin usage for fat loss?
In short, carb cycling and intermittent fasting give you incredible fat loss benefits because they help regulate your insulin levels. Cycling your carbs keeps your brain and other vital systems running optimally, while not forcing your pancreas to work overtime releasing insulin (causing your cells to get annoyed and stop listening). Intermittent fasting allows your insulin levels to remain at a lower, more stable level every day. That why there’s less of a chance your body will become insulin resistant and more of a chance your body will reach into its fat stores for energy.
Insulin is an incredibly vital hormone the body uses to function optimally. A diet heavy in processed carbs can really do damage to your body’s ability to use insulin well. However, total carb restriction has its own side effects. The most effective way to optimize insulin for the purposes of both weight loss and energy levels is to live a carb cycling/intermittent fasting lifestyle.
I would love for you to learn more about this lifestyle in my FASTer Way to Fat Loss virtual bootcamp!