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Saturday
Jun022012

Insulin and Fat Storage


We left off last week with the question, “What prevents fat from leaving the fat cell?” If you missed out on it, you may want to read The Futility of Low-Calorie Diets.

To quickly recap, we talked about the fact that your body has two main fuels: glucose (sugar) or fat. The preferred source of fuel is fat, but under certain circumstances, we can shift the body to using more sugar rather than fat. At times, such as being chased by a rabid dog, this is a good thing. However, it’s not a good thing if sugar remains the main fuel for most of the day. Relying on sugar means you’re not burning fat.

Many people make lifestyle choices and nutrition decisions that have basically locked up their extra stored fat in their fat cells, making it useless for energy. The only way you can lose fat is if you use fat. You’ll be unsuccessful at losing fat if you don’t burn fat, even if you eat fewer calories and burn more through exercise. You can lose weight, but most of the loss will come from lean body mass, or muscle tissue, not fat.

Fat Storage and Insulin

The most significant factor in fat storage is the level of insulin in the blood. Insulin has many effects on the body. With respect to fat storage, insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy. This is such a key point for people to understand that I’ll repeat it: Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents the cells from releasing it for energy.

Eight hormones stimulate fat utilization: epinephrine, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), glucagon, thyroid-stimulating hormone, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, vasopressin and growth hormone.

One hormone prevents fat utilization: insulin.

The pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise above normal. Optimal fasting blood sugar should be between 70 and 90 mg/dL. Following a meal, blood sugars rise in relation to the amount and type of carbohydrates consumed. Processed carbohydrates are absorbed faster, and tend to cause faster and greater rises in blood sugar. The pancreas releases insulin, which tells the muscle, liver and fat cells to take up the blood sugar (and fat if it’s available) and remove it from the blood. This is a normal process because elevated blood sugar is toxic for the body.

With a moderate amount of carbohydrates consumed each day, the pancreas can gently say to the muscles, liver and fat cells, “Please grab that sugar.” The pancreas is happy because it doesn’t have to work too hard to get its message across. The muscle cells, liver cells and fat cells are happy because they’ve got room to store the moderate amount of sugar. The individual is happy because energy levels throughout the day stay pretty consistent and he or she stays relatively lean.

Over time, when individuals eat excessive amounts of carbohydrates, especially processed carbohydrates, on a daily basis, the muscle and fat stop listening to the pancreas’ release of insulin, which is called insulin resistance. The liver and muscle cells have a limited capacity to store glucose. Once they’re full, they shut the door and it all gets sent to the fat cells.

Since blood sugar levels are not brought down to the level they should be, the pancreas “talks louder.” It releases more insulin than it should have to. It’s like when Mom and Dad need to raise their voices because their child hasn’t done what was asked the first time. With more insulin released, glucose levels can be brought down to a safe level again, at least for a while. Over time, fasting blood sugar levels start to creep up. Fasting blood sugar levels that start trending over 90 mg/dL can be a sign of early insulin resistance. Once they get above 100 mg/dL, most physicians will tell their patients they have insulin resistance.

As the years go by and excessive carbohydrate consumption continues, blood sugar levels get higher and higher. The pancreas has to yell at the fat cells by secreting even higher levels of insulin. Eventually the cells with receptors for insulin stop listening and/or the pancreas stops secreting insulin. Blood sugar levels rise, and when they get above 125 mg/dL, type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed. Unfortunately, people don’t get enough support during the time they’re heading toward diabetes; it’s only after their blood sugar hits disease-state levels that they get attention, often in the form of drug therapy.

For someone with insulin resistance or diabetes, he or she will have an exaggerated insulin response. Eating a small amount of carbohydrate will cause the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin. Those who are insulin resistant will have elevated insulin levels throughout the day, which means their fat cells won’t be able to release fat for fuel.

Blood sugar problems often show up long before other symptoms, or even weight gain, so it’s wise to regularly check your blood sugar, and even insulin levels with a lab package like the Energy & Metabolism test.

Insulin locks fat in the fat cell. Excessive carbohydrate consumption causes elevated insulin levels. Remember that the next time you start to take a bite of a low-fat bagel.

Less Insulin, More Energy

If carbohydrates raise insulin levels and insulin increases fat storage and decreases fat burning, is a low-carb diet the answer to fat loss?

For many people, simply decreasing their carbohydrate consumption results in a decreased appetite, lowered insulin levels, improved lipid profiles and almost effortless weight loss. Once insulin levels are brought under control, fat cells are allowed to let go of their stored fatty acids. They still need to be burned somewhere, though.

Think of the lazy river at your favorite water park. The water moves freely, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It just goes in circles. If you were to route the water somewhere else and use it in another pool, the water level in the lazy river would get lower.

If you open up the gates in the fat cells by lowering insulin levels, you now have an almost endless supply of energy available. It still needs to be used, though. Interestingly, many people proclaim how much more energy they have when they commit to a lower-carbohydrate diet. It’s especially common for those who are overweight. It makes a lot of sense, though.

When insulin levels are brought under control, it’s like getting a surprise inheritance of money after living paycheck to paycheck for years. After scraping by and keeping costs controlled from living off a meager salary, imagine how free one would feel being given a small fortune.

In Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories, he explains that people become sedentary because they are gaining fat, they don’t gain fat because they are sedentary. The opposite way to look at this is once people control their insulin levels, they have the energy to become much more active. They don’t get active and energetic and then lose body fat.

There are less significant factors that affect one’s ability to access fat. That’s why we stress the importance of comprehensive lab testing to ensure one has a healthy, functional metabolism. However, controlling insulin seems to be the most impactful thing one can do to open up the fat gates and give the body access to the fuel stored behind them. Fortunately, you have a significant amount of control over your insulin levels by what you put in your mouth every day. If you base your diet on vegetables and protein, like in our Healthy Way of Life Food Pyramid, you won’t have to worry about rising insulin levels, and you will be able to burn fat the way your body was designed to.

In case you haven’t realized it already, none of what is mentioned above requires calorie counting; only the wisdom to make the right choices about the foods you eat.

Share thoughts and comments below.

Written By Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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References (1)

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Reader Comments (36)

Really interesting. I get a fasting Glucose test due to a medication. The range on the labs for glucose specify 74 to 118 mg / dL as normal. My number was 96. I would not have looked at this number as meaning anything without the insight provided by this article. Thanks for giving me another compelling reason to make smart food choices.

June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTcad99

Great article! I love the "chicken or the egg" thought process. I like to see it as an HOV lane on the highway: it can't be open in both directions at the same time. If insulin levels are too high, glucagon will never be released, killing your functional metabolism. I would love to see more articles related to this topic (and type 2 diabetes) in the future. Food for thought, would a resting RQ value over a .92 be indicative of excessive insulin/blood sugar levels?

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSkip Gagnon

@Skip, there is a correlation between respiratory quotient and fasting blood glucose levels. Fasting RQ is highly sensitive to differences in energy balance and diet composition within the few days preceding the measurement.

So how many grams of carbs should one eat to lose weight? Ive been told different things by different people.Carbs are almost in everything so I want to make sure that low carb is not NO CARB like the atkins diet ect. I dont think I could do NO CARB forever.

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

@Brandi, out of curiosity, have you ever read any versions of the Atkin's diet? It is not a "NO CARB" diet, in fact I believe the approach is quite sensible as it instructs and answers your very question, "how many grams of carbs should one eat to lose weight"? The answer is not the same for everyone and is going to depend on your level of insulin resistance and other metabolic factors. The Atkin's approach is genius in my opinion, reduce carbs, switch your metabolism from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat and then add carbs incrementally to test your weight loss response.

Wow!!! This is the BEST explanation that I have read about how blood sugar and insulin level affect weight loss. Very clear cut and precise. Kudos to the author and LTF for sharing this informaiton with members. Knowlege is power! Thanks!!

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I have another question guys. What is the difference if anything between low carb and sugar free? For example. My father is diabetic and Ive noticed that he eats sugarfree treats like sugarfree oreos etc. I looked on the box and they contain 17g of carbs per serving, however they have 0 sugar. When dealing with sugarfree items; are the carbs calculated differently? So say I am allowed 100g of carbs a day and I eat a serving of sugarfree oreos do I count those as 17g or a different calculation? Thanks guys for your help in advance!

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

@Brandi: That's a really great question! Food packaging tends to be quite misleading. Often, foods labeled as "sugar free" still contain large amounts of processed carbohydrates, like the oreos you mention. There are other types of carbohydrates besides sugar, and though sugar is a major problem in the average American's diet, so are other processed carbohydrates. Low-carb means avoiding or reducing carb in general, including processed carbs. To answer your final question, you'd count the total 17 grams, unless there is fiber. The body doesn't use the carbs that come from fiber, so if a food has 10 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, the net carb count would be 7 grams, which is how most should look at their carbohydrate count. Of course, there are exceptions, but GENERALLY, that's a good way to look at carb counts.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Nikkola

@ Brandi: Carbohydrates are a class of macro-nutrients (food components which can supply us with calories). Carbohydrates include starches, fibers, AND sugars.

Food labeling requires companies to distinguish between sugars (naturally occurring and added sugars get lumped together, unfortunately) and other forms of carbohydrates such as starch (derived in most cases in snack foods from wheat, corn, or other grains). They're also required to label fiber content, which is a largely indigestible source of calories but overall helpful in keeping up bowel health (however, some fibers in certain cereal bars and other processed foods can be pretty upsetting).

The type of sugar free snacks you mentioned often sub out sugar for a combination of artificial sweeteners, but maintain the rest of their starch content from wheat flour. etc. This is why the carbohydrate content still seems to be noticeable. In a way, it's sort of like choosing filtered cigarettes vs. un-filtered. When trying to limit carbs to lower insulin, one would need to lower both starches AND sugars in total, while searching for only naturally occurring fibers like those found in non-starchy vegetables as the main source of dietary carbohydrates.

I hope this sheds some light on a tricky topic.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Kriegler, RD/LD

Very true! Thank you for continuing to inform readers and the general public on this very important issue.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd G

@Brandi sugar is a carbohydrate. Food labels list sugar separately so people can see how much "added sugar" is in the product. Sugar is included in the total carbohydrate if there is any in the product. sugar free oreos are sweetened with Maltitol, which is a sugar alcohol. This can raise blood sugar, but not as quickly as cane sugar. Sugar free oreos also contain flour, which is why they have carbohydrates, but not "sugar". so to answer your question directly, yes, you would count those 2 sugar free oreos as 17 grams of carbohydrate.
-Carly Grace, Registered Dietitian

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarly, RD, LD

@Tom, the fiber rule only applies if the food has >5g of fiber.
Carly Grace, Registered Dietitian

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarly, RD, LD

@Brandi, I used your question and made it into today's blog post. You can check it out: Confused by low-carb & sugar-free? Be sure to let me know your answers. :) Vanessa

@Carly Grace: That may be the case for labeling on packaged foods, but in the practice of counting net carbs in a day's worth of food, subtracting fiber from the total carb count to get net carbs is the practical way to count usable carbs. A serving of almonds has 5 grams of total carbs and 3 grams of fiber. To take the fiber off the total carb count, an individual wouldn't need to eat two servings to get the fiber amount over 5 grams. Individuals on a reduced carb diet can take the fiber count off the total carb count to arrive at net carbs, or the carbs that can really influence blood sugar levels. It's the total intake that matters in a day, not whether an individual food has more or less than 5 grams of fiber.

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Nikkola

@TOM & everyone who's contributed. Thanks for all of the amazing information. I tend to sway more with Tom here as I know a few WW members who always have to determine fiber etc. to come up with the points availability for the day. Im assuming that fiber plays a roll. Either way the answer remains the same that in order to lose weight and keep it off, carb watching for MOST is the best thing to do.

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

While I do believe this article has some sound information,, I definitely don't agree with how it talks about carbohydrate and their effect on insulin response as if they were all created equal. I feel like a much more effective and beneficial approach would have been to discuss the glycemic response of foods and give more suggestions as to which types of carbohydrates can be consumed without  a need for large amounts of insulin. Simply saying "low-carb" doesn't help a thing, people don't understand what that means. They take it to extremes by trying to cut out carbohydrates all together, but soon find out it is not a way of life and end up going right back to where they started, gained weight, frustrated and all. We need to help people understand that nutrition is a way life and give them the information to make right choices especially in the case of carbohydrates and fats, not such vague information as "low-carb".

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

@Kelsey, this is a GREAT point! I am having this challenge. 3 years ago I had my first and only child. Prior to that I did not have a weight issue although 10+ years ago I had lost a significant amount of weight but have kept it off with no major fluctuations. Dont ask me how but this was without working out too. Any how while I was pregnant my thyroid started to do some weird things but my doctor just watched it.Fast forward after I had my son the 52lbs I gained started to fly off.By the time I went back to work 8 weeks later I only had 23lbs to lose.All of a sudden my weight halted and I started feeling fatigue,depressed, and I had serious mood changes.I wasnt suffering from post pardom depression as I thought.A year later (It took that long because my blood work got lost in the shuffle) I found that I had Hashimotos thyroiditis as well as hypothyroidism.For the last 2 years my levels have gone back and forth from hypo to hyper after starting synthroid. Ive steadily gained weight. I have now a total of 86 lbs to lose.Ive tried a few fad diets that have surely screwed up my body, one being the HCG diet. I did lose 30lbs but gained that back plus more when I stopped.Now Im left with the reality that ive let my body down.My endocrinilogist has stated that for me I should eat 120g of carbs per day to lose weight steadily.Im trying really hard but havent noticed a real difference.I just started LifeTime gym and for now am trying to just focus on cardio.Im confused about all of this carb stuff and really see your point.Ive cut out drinking sweet tea and I was drinking atleast 5 large chik-fil-A types a day.You would think Id notice some sort of drop from cutting that out alone.In the end I realize that now at 33 my body has changed.This will be a life long thing for me.I will learn how to do this but I wish there was a better clear cut answer.Thanks for listening!

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrandi

@Kelsey & @Brandi as well as other faithful & interested readers: The topic of carbohydrate demand for optimal human function and weight management has been debated for years. Your comments about the ambiguous nature of this particular article are valid given the purpose of this type of forum.

Please understand that nutrition is highly individualized, especially when it comes to carbohydrate "requirements". Stating an exact amount one should eat in this type of setting is risky and may be interpreted as a general recommendation for everyone. Because of the individual nature of nutrition for weight management, it's best to "be your own experiment" in a way. For example, many people I've worked with feel great when they eat several cups of non-starchy vegetables as their only source of carbs all day, balanced with proteins and naturally occurring fats like coconut oil, olive, oil, nuts, and seeds. Will it work for you? Maybe. This article merely suggests asking, "is what I currently consume producing the results I desire?" "Is my body having a favorable response to the foods I'm choosing to put in it?"

Please explore the concepts outlined in other resources we've referenced in the past such as Jeff Volek & Stephen Phinney's research and subsequent book "The Art & Science of Low Carb Living" or Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat & What to Do About it". You can find countless research commentaries on the topic of carbohydrates from physicians as well. Simply search 'Peter Attia' or Andreas Eenfeldt next time you have a few minutes to search for a new blog to follow.

Most of all, thank you for contributing to a very important discussion and not being complacent in your journey towards optimal health. Keep digging; we're with you:-).

June 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Kriegler, RD/LD

Can I just say this is an answer to my prayers!! I will start tomorrow, today I will plan my meals for the week.
Thank You for your knowledge :)

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSilvia

Brandi,

I understand what you are going through as I just started a medically supervised diet with 40 pounds to lose and hypothyroidism. I don't think it's always easy, but I really believe that following a low glycemic diet works. You can google glycemic index chart and get printable information. The issue is, at least with me, that I have PSOS (which also contributes to insulin resistance) and a poor thyroid, and my hunger can be all -consuming at times. I've tried losing weight so many times and have failed, so I hope that being pared up with my doctor and getting medical support will make a difference. It's not easy to work out when you feel sluggish all the time and it can be really depressing when you think that you just don't have enough willpower, or aren't doing enough, etc... Before I started this new program, I was depressed and felt hopeless. I've lost 6 pounds in a week and a half, and am finally feeling like I can do this (for disclosure, my doctor did a full physical and put me on a prescription diet pill that has cut my appetite).
And just as an FYI, I gained weight on WW. I truly don't believe that people with hypothyroidism can eat carbs and lose weight. A calorie isn't just a calorie. Our bodies treat carbohydrate calories quite differently. Anyway, good luck to all of you out there! :)

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

The New Atkins For A New You is a great book that explains the process of beginning and maintaining a low-carb lifestyle. Also check out atkins.com.

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRich

I worked out for 1.5 years, and during that time only lost one (1) pound. It was pretty demoralizing, as the main reason why I began to work out and worked so hard at it was to lose some of my unsightly belly (8 people in one month asked if I was pregnant). Fortunately, about three months ago, I read a similar article in LifeTime's magazine and decided to reduce the amount of carbs I ate, especially grain-based carbs and processed sugar. Note that I had always assumed that I had a healthy diet, as I ate whole grains--and I had never been on a fad "diet" before. I compensated for the reduced carbs by eating more lean protein and vegetables. I eat plenty--I am never hungry. To my surprise, I lost one pound in the first week. My second week, I lost two pounds. I am now down a total of 12 pounds. I am still exercising and maintaining my lean muscle, but the weight just keeps melting off. I am now down 2 dress/pant sizes. If only I had known sooner!!!

June 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa G

No question this article is spot on. Starting my 14th month of switching my fuel supply to burning fat. I am consuming 20-30 carbs a day and I've now lost 64 pounds ( 278 to 214) off 4 of 5 meds as a type 2 diabetic. For those doubters...the Internet is loaded with similar success stories. Mine started with the 90 weight Loss challenge and morphed into "just the way I eat". Lifetime fitness and Tom Nikkola are in the cutting edge of the paradigm shift !!! Great job Tom. I will no question be on the cruise in 2013. Hope to see you there!

June 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I know this article is geared towards type 2. My son is diabetic and asthmatic.

My son has type 1 ( from age 6), he is now 12yrs old and we still struggle abit to keep a good balance. Last A1C was 7.9 (we hoover around 7.9 to 8.5 usually)... We are on a intense insulin management plan( the amount of insulin given is based on the amount of carbs he consumes, he gets 15 carbs per 30mins of exercise)
He is great at counting his carb but sometimes forgets to bolus . Now that we are going through puberty, I am getting a bit worried and I am trying to get ahead of the hormone changes. He is abit of a grazer in between meals. He would eat a snack and 20mins later he is hungry again.

I was wondering if a protein /w fiber shake with his snack would help decrease the extra grazer. Also, now that he is 12, he can workout at the Gym. Would a protein shake helps with stablizing the Blood sugar before and /or after excerise ( considering that BG will probably drop 1-2hr after workout) .

June 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkeisha

Yes, this is such important information for weight loss and is often overlooked when discussing weight loss and dieting. I really enjoy reading your blogs. Your topics are clearly thought out, easy to read and they make for interesting conversations.

Just want to add that insulin is also a risk factor for many health conditions as well, http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/novel-risks-for-diabetes-identified-or-novel-results-of-long-term-high-blood-sugar/.

Well written article! I have a question about sleep apnea, the use of a CPAP machine, and it's effect on blood sugar levels. What I'd like to know is, how would using a CPAP machine help lower blood sugar? Is there truth to that claim?

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDale

Thank you for a GREAT article and suggestions for sources of more information! I am a 46 year-old, post-menopausal female and have been struggling for FOUR YEARS to lose 80 pounds. This gives me something to test that at least sounds healthier than some of the fad diets I've read. The added bonus is that I LOVE vegetables and lean proteins! (Information is power...appropriately applied information is wisdom.)

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

@keisha: We'll be bringing on a new nutritional product called Generation UCAN next month. You'll be able to find it at LifeCafe or in our online store. Generation UCAN is a unique type of starch that has a minimal effect on blood sugar, and so causes a minimal demand for glucose while still providing a source of carbohydrates. It was actually created to support a children who are born with something called glycogen storage disease. I'd recommend working with a dietitian to explore the idea of using it. Protein certainly helps stabilize blood sugar as well.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Nikkola

Yes, as crazy as it sounds, the CPAP machine can help control blood sugar. Sleep studies have shown that lack of sleep may have negative impacts on hormones (leptin, ghrelin, cortisol) that can affect appetite and blood sugar. So, if you can control the hormone(s) that may increase blood sugar with a little shut eye. You will help control your blood sugar.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

Thanks for the great article and excellent comments/responses. I was wondering if there was a general rule for how long it takes to improve on the body's insulin resistance once a low carb diet is started. Is insulin resistance something that is slow to reverse? Does exercise change how effective the body's insulin response works or is it solely a matter if how much carbohydrate one consumes?

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

To all those who are suffering from hypothyroidism, please PLEASE find a doctor who doesn't just measure the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) as a gauge of how well your medicine is working. The doctor needs to look at both free and reverse levels of T3 and T4 to get the complete picture. For the majority of people, a T4 based medication (like Synthroid and Levoxyl) are not enough and a compounded or slow release T3 is also required in order for the patient to actually feel better (relief of hypothyroid symptoms). I don't normally recommend a particular website however www.stopthethyroidmadness.com is an extremely useful site that explains a lot about how your thyroid works along with the various methods of treating it. For those with PCOS and Type 2 diabetes, it is imperative that you stay away from processed food such as the sugar free desserts in order to keep insulin levels stable.

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargo

Good comments on the overall mechanism of insulin and its role in the development of fat. Would also add that the presence of protein is a key factor in limiting insulin production. From the cited article below " Protein slows digestion; eating protein and carbohydrates at the same time slows your body's ability to produce glucose. By keeping glucose and insulin production steady, you can avoid the dangerous cycle of high and low blood sugar that can lead to overeating, weight gain and insulin resistance."

In addition to focusing on a low carbohydrate diet, ensuring that one gets 10-15 grams of protein into their system at the first meal of the day (breakfast) can deliver very positive results.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/543778-does-protein-have-a-role-in-carbohydrate-digestion/#ixzz1ySBBzeAU

June 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRich

This is a great article and I agree with many of the posts answering Brandi, et al's questions concerning weight loss. Other than being sound science, I can state emphatically that the concepts in this article work. Over the past 6 months, I've lost 80 lbs and reversed my type 2 diabetes simply by watching my portions sizes, eating whole (read, non-processed) foods, and exercising... focusing on low GI vegetables, fruit, and protein. At my heaviest (267 lbs, % BF in the 40's), I just walked on a treadmill at LTF and varied my aerobic zones using the incline. Over time (and as I lost the weight), I could no longer get into my 'zones' by walking and had to start running. Now, I'm 182 lbs, 18% body fat, running 20-25 miles/week, and added a personal trainer to build muscle mass, to help sustain my weight loss. Folks, it can be done!

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternaperken

@naperken: Way to go!

June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom Nikkola

A very informative article, thanks for sharing. What is the normal insulin level of the average adult? I’m curious because diabetes runs in our family and although I haven’t experienced symptoms of the disease, I just want to make sure that it won’t have any bearing on my weight loss endeavour.

@ Stephani & others; Fasting insulin can be tested easily with a blood test and should be within the acceptable medical range at the very least - below 24.9 uIU/mL of serum. A smaller reference range of 2-8 uIU/mL is thought to be a much safer range to "live" in for adults. As you may have picked up on this article, the lower the insulin, the easier it may be to lose body fat and avoid some other undesirable conditions such as insulin resistance and diabetes later on.

How can you control or minimize your insulin? Do your best not to trigger it often or violently. Control stress, and more importantly, control sugar and carbohydrate intake to lessen the demand for possible excess insulin production.

August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Kriegler, RD/LD

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