Insulin Evil

When we are young and care free our bodies are able to handle carbs without any difficulty. Carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, starches (breads) and sugar. Yes, fruits and vegetables are carbs! Your body has to do very little work to use this form of fuel. Little to no energy is expended to use carbs; it is a quick energy fix. When you eat a carb, it enters your blood stream as glucose. Glucose is your body's gasoline; it is what drives our motor. Glucose in the bloodstream causes your pancreas to release Insulin. Insulin allows the glucose to leave the blood stream and enter into the individual cells which is necessary for the cells survival. When we are young it only takes a small release of Insulin to allow the glucose to enter the cell. As we age the body starts to resist Insulin. Higher Insulin levels are needed to get the glucose into the cells. The problem is that Insulin also has some significant detrimental effects on the body. Insulin is a type of hormone. It causes some of the glucose calories to be stored as fat, it slows down your metabolism and causes fatigue and hunger. The fatigue is caused by a drop in your blood sugar. You try to push through the fatigue by reaching for a sugary or starchy snack which will only spike your insulin level again. It becomes a vicious cycle. As you continue to eat a carb rich diet your Insulin levels remain increased and your weight starts creeping up. In one year you have gained 10 pounds, in three years, 30 lbs. Not only do you gain weight but it then becomes almost impossible to lose significant weight because Insulin inhibits the breakdown of fat. You try a couple of low fat diets; get 10 pounds off easily and then…..nothing! You try working out; get a personal trainer and sign up for a boot camp. You continue to sabotage your exhausted body with carbs and wonder why you have no results. Then you get absolutely frustrated and give up. So now what?

Now it's time! (Rocky I theme music in the background). The key to stopping the vicious cycle and get you on the right track is simple……STARVATION!!!! Just kidding, it is PROTIEN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN. When you eat protein your body has to work to convert it into a usable form of fuel. You actually expend energy to use protein for fuel. Just by eating protein you increase your energy expenditure. Protein does not spike Insulin levels, therefore it does not slow down metabolism, store fat, or make you feel tired or hungry. Of course, I am not suggesting you go out and start binging on rib eye, bacon and ground beef. I am referring to lean proteins such as poultry, fish, egg whites, low fat cheeses, pork and lean meats. If you were to simply start incorporating lean proteins into your diet while backing off carbs you could make a significant difference in your love handles(men), muffin tops(ladies ,you know) and getting your tennis shoes on won't be as suffocating. You can do this on your own (Rocky II Eye of the Tiger music in the background). Begin each day with a protein such as egg whites, cottage cheese, string cheese, or boiled eggs. For you "I travel all of the time and have a busy schedule" people, try protein shakes in the am, they are grab and go. For lunch, try eating some chicken, fish, or steak with a small portion (about same size as your protein portion) of carbs. For dinner, make sure the protein portion of your meal is bigger than your carb portion. For the "I have to entertain so much and am always eating out", you can still at least try to cut back on carbs and eat more protein. If you are a complete carb addict (you know who you are) you may need a physician guided program that offers a comprehensive approach to a lifestyle change. You may need medication to get you through the carb withdrawal the first few weeks and help control your voracious appetite. I am here to tell you that your general appearance, your overall health and your sense of well being is 85% dependent on what you are putting in your mouth. There, I said it! Call it an intervention, a slap in the face, a rude awakening. I am calling you out on your carb problem! Enough of the lousy excuses! If you start eating a low carb, lean protein lifestyle you will become leaner, stronger, have more energy, sleep better and have an overall sense of well being. I know I started this editorial talking about your appearance, but the truth of the matter is if you are overweight, heavy or obese, you are not healthy. Those additional 10, 20, 30 or more pounds are a stress on your body. Furthermore, the heavier you are the more at risk you are for cardiac events, cancers (specifically colon), diabetes and premature death. Do it for yourself, you are better than this. Do it for your children, maximize your chances of a long healthy life so that you can be around for your kids when they are adults, raising their own families and facing their own challenges. They will need you the most then. Come on now, you can do this! (back to Rocky I anthem).