Trying to lose weight is hard enough but many people who are on a diet do not realize that insulin production can affect how fast you lose weight and how easily. And the good news is that you can control your insulin levels and make the task of losing weight a little bit easier on yourself.
Insulin – What Is It?
While you do not need to understand the whole scientific knowledge of insulin, knowing what it is will help you to understand how insulin production can affect your weight loss. Basically, it is a hormone that your pancreas secretes to help you regulate your carb metabolism and the way that you use and store fat. When your blood sugar levels rise past the point that it is healthy for your body, insulin is sent into the blood stream for several reasons:
- Sends blood sugar to your muscles when you need to use them; when you work out and then eat glycogen stores in your muscles are refilled, but if they are already full…
- Blood sugar is stored as fat for later.
Most people eat food that causes spikes in the blood sugar, like ice cream and other high sugar treats. As a result, there are insulin spikes that lead to more calories being stored as fat.
Insulin Helps You Burn Fat
When you have high levels of insulin, your body does not use fat as a fuel source because you have too much sugar in your body so the fat does not need to be used. On the other hand, if your insulin levels are low, your body needs energy and will use the fat for energy.
If you want to maximize the burning of fat for energy you need to moderate your carbohydrate intakes because carbs make your body secrete insulin into the blood stream. Protein and fat also cause insulin to be released but in much lower doses. Controlling the amount of carbs that you eat will make it easier for you to lose weight and less necessary for your body to store fat.
Not all carbs are bad though. The carbohydrates that you have to watch out for are the ones with a high glycemic index. These include carbs like white bread and rice, white pasta, and sweets like cookies and pastries. Foods that are lower on the glycemic index, like whole wheat bread and pasta and brown or wild rice will result in less insulin being release and as a result, less fat being stored.
Exercise to Help Control Insulin Production
Intense exercise will help you control your insulin levels in two ways. First, it will increase the sensitivity of your muscles to insulin. The second thing it will do is empty the glycogen stores in your muscles so that any sugars you consume will be used to refill your glycogen stores, instead of being stored as fat.
Remember that whenever you eat carbs, you are allowing insulin to be released into your body. If your muscles do not need more glycogen, the blood sugar from the carbs will be stored as fat. The more you exercise though, the more sensitive your muscles will become to it and less insulin will be released and less blood sugar will be stored as fat.
When you control insulin production, your body will have lower blood sugar levels, which means that there will be less fat storage. Also, your body will use the fat that you do have stored for energy and you will lose fat easier.