WHEN YOU EAT CARBOHYDRATES, your body releases insulin into your blood stream. The insulin tells your cells what to do. It tells most cells to absorb the sugar out of the blood and tells your fat cells not to release any fat to burn (because there are carbs already in the blood to burn). One of insulin’s jobs is to take sugar out of the blood — the sooner the better, because sugar in the blood damages the body.
The reason diabetics have such bad health problems (blindness, circulation problems, etc.) is because of the damage sugar does when the person can’t make enough insulin. When you eat something with a lot of sugar in it, the body kind of panics and usually over does it. Too much insulin is released to mop up the sugar. It takes all the sugar out of your blood. Then your blood sugar is too low, so you crave more sweets. So insulin saved the day, keeping that sugar from damaging your body, but in the process, it makes your body store fat and prevents you from burning fat.
Low-insulin foods for good health, put an average of one hundred carbs a day. At that level, you don’t put very much insulin into your system, so your body burns any fat you eat as fuel, and if you need more, your fat cells freely release fat into your blood stream to be burned as fuel.
But when you eat a large amount of carbs — two hundred grams, or more (most people in the USA get about 300 – 400 grams a day) — your body releases insulin in huge amounts, which makes it almost impossible to burn fat. And makes it really easy to gain weight. Some people don’t gain weight, of course, even though they eat lots of carbs, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But first understand this basic process.
This is why people lose weight so easily and quickly when they cut carbs: Because carbs increase insulin, which leads to storing fat and preventing fat from being burned. Eating carbs, cause you to crave more carbs.
One of the reasons a low-insulin food works is that protein and fat satisfy your hunger. When you eat protein, you do not crave more protein. If you had a huge plate of chicken, you would not continue to eat it after you had enough. You would eat a certain amount and then you wouldn’t want to eat any more. You’re done. You’re satisfied.
Limiting your self to one hundred grams of carbs a day is much easier than eating really low calorie. Your tongue still wants carbs, but the rest of your body feels fine. And after awhile, even your tongue calms down — you aren’t craving anything at all. And your fat cells steadily release their fuel to be burned. Instead of getting more difficult over time, low-insulin eating actually gets easier as the lust for carbs subsides.
We shouldn’t really call low carb eating a “diet.” You want to find a way to eat that you can maintain for your lifetime, not for a little while. And ideally it would be something you can do without having to rely on a tremendous amount of self-discipline, because it is likely you will sometimes falter. You can almost count on it. Face it we’re human.
Let’s recap a little bit before we go on. Insulin has three effects you don’t want:
1. Converts sugar in the blood to fat in the cells — tells the body to store all the fat it can while the sugar is available
2. Tells the cells not to burn any fat, since there are plenty of sugar molecules to burn
3. Makes you crave more carbs
Fat doesn’t cause your body to make insulin. Protein doesn’t either. Only carbs do. When there is very little insulin, your body has to burn fat. That becomes its main fuel, and your body actually gets better at burning fat.
(Because your cells make more fat-burning enzymes and fewer sugar-burning enzymes) Just remember this, your body gets more efficient doing what it does best, so the fat get fatter, and the lean get leaner.
If you want to lose weight quickly and keep it off, and also not hurt your health but actually improve your health, low-insulin foods are the best way.
One of the most important factors about eating low-insulin foods is that you won’t lose muscle. As long as you’re getting enough protein, you could lose a hundred pounds, and you won’t lose muscle. In fact, if you’re exercising, this way of eating will make it easier to gain muscle.
Most people have been eating so many carbs for so long, they can’t imagine eating low-insulin foods. But it’s not as bad as you’d think and there are a lot of nice surprises. But the first couple days are difficult. Then it gets easier. At first you’ll crave carbs, of course. But if you eat all you want of low-insulin foods, after a few days, you’ll stop eating so much and your weight will start dropping. Every once in awhile you’ll miss carbs, but as you get used to the new way of eating, you’ll think about it less and less. Most of the time you’ll be really contented, and not nearly as obsessed with food as you used to be.
Why don’t some carb-eaters get fat?
If all I say is true, how come many people eat lots of sugar and don’t get fat? That’s a good question, and the answer is interesting. We start very young to feed our kids a carb-dominated diet. We crave carbs and carbs are cheap compared with protein. Our bodies do their best to keep up. So our pancreas works overtime, making insulin and we keep it busy with our 300-400 carbs a day.
And many of us remain slim throughout our twenties and well into our thirties. But then something happens, doesn’t it? People start to gain weight. Why? Because our cells start to become insulin resistant, our cells don’t respond as well as they used to. Insulin is telling the cells to take the sugar out of the blood, but the cell is overworked and underpaid and doesn’t respond. The body has no choice. There is no other way to get that sugar out of the blood. And you can’t leave it there. It would be too destructive. So the pancreas puts out even more insulin, forcing the cells to take the sugar.
Over time, the pancreas puts out more and more insulin, causing the person to gain weight eating exactly what they used to when they were slim. If this goes on long enough, in some people it will cause adult-onset diabetes. Normal diabetes is caused by, a pancreas that doesn’t make insulin. Adult-onset diabetes is caused by something different. The pancreas is still making insulin, but the cells have become so resistant to insulin, the insulin is no longer effective. But all the other effects of insulin continue: Forcing the body to store fat and not burn it.
One of the great things about low-insulin eating is, as long as you don’t stimulate insulin, your body will just burn fat. You don’t have the insulin in your system to tell your body to store fat.
By the way, when you’re looking at labels to find out how many carbs something has, don’t forget to subtract the fiber. Fiber doesn’t count. It is a carb, but you can’t digest it. That’s what fiber means: An un-digestible carb. So it doesn’t have any effect on your insulin. It puts no sugar into your blood stream. It just passes right through you.
We live in a culture obsessed with goodies, obsessed with food — especially obsessed with carbs. You go somewhere to hang out with your friends. You end up at an Italian restaurant. Eat a carb-filled menu if there ever was one. You go to work and someone has brought in cookies. You come home and someone has baked a cake. Now you have to spend psychological energy not eating something.
Although you can’t control your environment completely, you can control it somewhat. And whatever degree of control you have, you ought to exert it. Your choice of friends, your influence over what activities you do together. What is available in your house, and you can try to influence people rather than have them influence you.
If everybody in your household eats this way, they will be healthier, slimmer, happier, and it will be a lot easier for you to keep it up without having to constantly resist temptation. Be slim and be healthy.