by Joel Marion, CISSN
Hey, it’s Joel, and you’ve probably heard over and over again that carbohydrates are perhaps the WORST thing you could eat when trying to lose fat or transform your body, and for most people, that’s 100% true.
Fact is, due to years of consuming a diet full of processed carbs and sugars, most people have grown quite insensitive to one of the most important hormones in our body—a hormone that can either be a huge asset to your body transformation goals, or a total fat-loss and health-derailing nightmare.
The name of this hormone is insulin.
And insulin’s function is to help your body keep blood sugar at bay, clear it quickly from your bloodstream after a carbohydrate meal, and (hopefully) shuttle that blood sugar to muscle tissue for energy instead of into fat cells (driving up your weight).
I say “hopefully” because that’s actually the exact opposite of what occurs when most people eat carbs. Going back to insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance, due to a diet full of processed, insulin- and blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates, most folks are suffering from some level of insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin is no longer able to efficiently remove blood sugar from the blood stream.
The result? Dramatically reduced fat burning, increased blood sugar levels, and increased fat storage.
Even worse, insulin resistance can and often does lead to type II diabetes and an array of other health problems over time, such as an increased risk for Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders, premature aging, heart disease, and even stroke…and it all leads back to insulin sensitivity.
Ideally, when you consume carbohydrates, here is what you want to happen:
1. Minimum insulin release. This occurs when your body is highly sensitive to insulin. When it is, only a small amount of insulin is necessary to effectively and efficiently clear glucose from your blood to its storage sites. This is great news because your body has an incredibly difficult time burning fat in the presence of insulin. The less insulin you have floating around, the better.
2. Quick and efficient blood sugar clearance. Again, this will occur when your body is highly sensitive to insulin.
3. Maximum glycogen uptake. Glycogen is the term used for stored carbohydrate in muscle tissue and the liver. When these tissues are highly sensitive to insulin, the vast majority of blood glucose will be stored within them as an energy reserve, instead of being converted to fat.
4. Minimum fat storage. When you increase insulin sensitivity, your body will choose to store your carbohydrate intake as energy, again in lean muscle tissue and the liver, instead of body fat.
Simply put, your body’s ability to process the carbohydrates you eat all comes down to your insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to quickly and efficiently clear sugar from your blood.
Knowing that, and also knowing that you yourself are very likely suffering from too much blood sugar and some degree of insulin resistance due to the previously mentioned dietary and lifestyle factors, you’re probably wondering what you can do to improve your insulin sensitivity and make your body responsive once again to this critically important hormone.