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Let’s Talk About Insulin

If we’re going to talk about getting fit or healthy then let’s talk about insulin.  We’ve all heard about it.  Many of us know what it is and what it does.  However, not all of us talk the talk and walk the walk, so here’s a primer:

Begin with the premise that all carbohydrates are basically sugar… that’s right, your body pretty much turns bread, pasta, rice and potatoes into a form of sugar when it processes the foods you eat.  Add to this that your body has digestive enzymes that break the chemical bonds and release these sugar molecules into the blood, which stimulates the production of insulin.  This is really a longer story yet I’m keeping this simple for now.

Keep in mind that if you follow the traditional nutritionist recommended diet of 2,200 calories consisting of 60 percent carbohydrates, this means your body will end up having to contend metabolically with almost two cups of pure sugar per day. 

That deserves a Wow!


So what is insulin and how can it be bad for us?

Insulin is a hormone produced and released into the blood by the pancreas and affects virtually every cell in the body.  Insulin occupies a chapter or two in every medical, biochemistry and physiology textbook.  Insulin regulates blood sugar, of course, but it does so much more…


What is insulin?

Insulin controls the storage of fat, it directs the flow of amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates to the tissues, it regulates the liver’s synthesis of cholesterol, it functions as a growth hormone, it is involved in appetite control, it drives the kidneys to retain fluid, and much, much more.  This master hormone of metabolism is the substance absolutely essential to life.  Without it, we would perish – quickly.


So why make such a big deal out of what we eat and how insulin can be bad for us? 

Because insulin is also a monster hormone and has a dark side.  The proper amount is life sustaining.   Too much insulin causes enormous health problems.  Reams of scientific studies, with more added to the stack daily, implicate excess insulin as a primary cause of or significant risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, elevated cholesterol and other blood fats, and diabetes.  Yes, that’s right, insulin itself can cause diabetes. 


The even larger question should be, How can we control our insulin?

We should all strive to maintain a nutritional regimen that includes restricted carbohydrates, moderate intake of fats and adequate protein.  This doesn’t mean we have to be purists and give up our favorite foods, yet it does mean that we need to get our health under control and watch what we eat. 

 By Mike Beatty, CEO of ITG Diet


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