Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Insulin Controls Your Fat

I'd like to point out a great post by Peter over at hyperlipid (keep in mind when you read it he has a sarcastic style). He dug up a bizarre paper published in 1998 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In the study, they put 24 overweight subjects on a low-calorie diet composed almost entirely of meal replacement shakes and "nutrition bars". Half of the participants got the drug diazoxide, which reduces the secretion of insulin by the pancreas. The other half took a placebo.

The bottom line is that the diazoxide-treated group lost much more weight over time than the placebo group, and they continued to lose after the placebo group's weight had stabilized at around 8 weeks. Yes, these poor people drank meal replacement shakes and ate nutrition bars for 9 weeks.

This result makes a lot of sense. Insulin is the hormone that keeps your fat cells from releasing fat. It's also the hormone that tells them to grab fat and sugar out of the blood and store it. Overweight people tend to have elevated insulin.
Low blood insulin is a signal to fat cells to release their contents into the bloodstream to be burned by other tissues. This is one of the reasons why I emphasize keeping insulin low. If you need some motivation, here it is. Here's how to normalize insulin without taking a toxic drug:
  1. Avoid grains (especially wheat and its derivatives), and keep carbohydrate intake low for weight loss.
  2. Avoid all sugar in any form except occasional fruit.
  3. Exercise.
  4. Intermittent fasting. A 24-hour fast once a week is a good way to start.

1 comment:

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