Have you ever pointed your finger in blame at something without really knowing all the facts?
Created by Satan himself, insulin is manufactured in your pancreas to wreak metabolic havoc every time you get within 6 feet of a piece of bread or a forkful of mashed potato. Insulin is the reason people are fat, diseased, and inflamed.
At least that’s what countless authors, bloggers, and weirdos on twitter would have you believe. The fingers have been firmly pointed for years, but what if we’ve got insulin all wrong?
The idea that eating carbs leads to insulin being released, which leads to fat gain and poor health, is repeated daily all over the Internet. The problem is, these people don’t understand what insulin does, or why the idea that you’d be better off without it is utterly wrong.
Before we can let go of the“carbs = insulin = fat gain” idea once and for all, however, we need to clear up a couple of myths about insulin.
One often repeated fallacy, is that insulin must be high for fat to be stored. The belief that insulin is the bad guy, has led people to believe that keeping it low is all you need to do. Some unfortunate people, or idiots, then assumed they could live off a diet of deep-fried avocados and tubs of coconut oil whilst simultaneously getting shredded. The reasoning being that if fat can’t make you fat, there’s no reason to skimp on the stuff.
The problem is that this is total bollocks.
- Fat cells contain an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase (HSP), which helps break down fat
- Insulin suppresses this hormone, which stops fat from being broken down
- However, fat also suppresses HSP, even when insulin is low
- Body fat can still be gained long term even on a low-carb, high-fat diet
- So, stop adding butter to your coffee
Storage of fat after a meal is completely normal. Fat gets stored at first, only to be released later when it’s needed. It’s the long-term balance of energy in, to energy out that dictates if body fat is gained or lost, and that brings us back to calories in, calories out…again
It should now be obvious that a Calorie deficit will lead to fat loss even if insulin is high. That, however, is not what sells diet books. The myth that zero weight loss will occur if insulin has the audacity to be in your bloodstream is as strong as ever. Unless you’re not seeing the theme here yet, this is completely untrue too.
- People lose the same amount of weight on a low-carb, or high-carb diet, regardless of if they are insulin sensitive or insulin resistant
- What happens if people eat a high-carb diet for 4 weeks, and then a very-low-carb diet for the next 4 weeks? If they’re in a Calorie deficit, they lose fat, despite a marked difference in insulin levels, that’s what.
The same people who parrot the “keep insulin low to lose fat” mantra, are often the very same people who promote higher protein diets. Unfortunately for them, the idea that insulin is released only when carbs are eaten is also false. Protein itself is a potent stimulator of insulin release.
- 239 Kcals of beef result in the same amount of insulin release as 239kcals of brown rice
- Meals containing higher protein produce a greater insulin response
To actually keep insulin low all the time, you’d basically have to mainline fat into your veins, and it still wouldn’t stop you getting fat because scientists have already tried it.
Insulin is not the reason you gain fat
You now know that:
- Insulin doesn’t have to be high for fat to be stored
- That fat can be lost if a Calorie deficit is in place even if insulin levels are high
- That carbohydrate isn’t the only thing that stimulates the release of insulin
I realise that facts aren’t sexy, and that avocado fries are fucking delicious, it’s just not reality. Whilst some of you may know this already, some of you may know this already, for others, it might be a revelation. Regardless, this information is meant to give you options. Feel like going on a low carb diet? Cool. Prefer higher-carbs? Fill your boots. The possibilities are endless when you know the truth. A diet you can stick to is a diet that will work. A diet that is built on lies fear-mongering or bad information is a diet to avoid the fuck out of.
Losing weight isn’t always easy. Managing hunger, looking at the scale every morning, and avoiding ordering Dominos every time you’ve got nothing in the fridge are all hard enough. You’ve got better things to think about than insulin. The good news is, you don’t need to give it a second thought.
If fat loss is your goal, dismiss the ramblings of low-carb zealots and internet ketards, get in a Calorie deficit and eat enough protein and you will win.
Want a way to fit pizza and dessert into your diet each week while still losing fat? Download the Ultimate Flexible Fasting System to lose fat easier than ever before.