If you don’t remember anything else about Human Physiology
or the absolute vital basis for not consuming sugar and grains, remember
Insulin. Memorize these five points, and own them:
carbohydrates eventually get converted to glucose … blood sugar.
must be released to shuttle glucose to muscle, liver, and fat cells for
immediate fuel or later storage.
there is a constant supply of carbohydrates, there is a constant stream of
Insulin trying to fill our cells until they get full.
cells are full, and the Carb-Insulin train is still running, bad things happen,
including: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, just to name
just a few.
this can be prevented through moderate intake of the right carbohydrate sources
and maintaining nutrient balance with fat and protein.
“Insulin is a hormone, produced by the
pancreas, which is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the
body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue, to take up
glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle.”
In effect, Insulin acts as the gatekeeper and is
the ultimate authority on maintaining nutrient balance and adequate fuel for
the body to function at optimal levels. Overproduction of Insulin due to the
excessive presence of nutrient-deficient carbohydrates in the western diet can
be implicated as one of the leading causes in every one of the top diseases our
Meet Your Pancreas
primary role is to be secreted from the Pancreas in response to carbohydrates
in the food you eat and to keep blood sugar under control. It is a nutrient
sensor and directs where these nutrients should be stored. In addition, it regulates
the use of fat and protein, aids in muscle rebuilding and repair, influences
cognitive (brain) function, vascular compliance, and makes sure you store
enough fuel to function and have energy between meals. Some vegetables and a
little fruit, all is good. The right amount is good, but overproduction of
Insulin is bad. If you eat a diet comprised mostly of carbohydrates, especially
the condensed and concentrated wheat flour types, the liquid sugar types, and
the starchy types, your Pancreas is going to get fed up, fat cells will swell
and divide, and your liver will hang a ‘no room at the inn’ sign on it and
eventually become sick and diseased. This is just the beginning of a cascade of
really bad toxic, hormonal, and cellular things that happen with the ingestion
of excessive bad carbs.
Good Carbs - Bad Carbs
arena has done a pretty good job in distinguishing and simplifying which
carbohydrates are beneficial and which ones are detrimental. Of course,
people know that potato chips are bad and broccoli is good, but the word
street from your ever friendly neighborhood diet expert who is trying to
weight is: ‘Don’t eat Carbs!’ Partly true. Separating the good carbs
not so good ones is easy. Vegetables and Fruit are good carbs, Grains,
Legumes/Beans, and refined sugars, bad carbs. Vegetables and fruit
contain fiber, an insoluble polysaccharide that slows the absorption of
the 'sugar' component, (glucose, fructose), whereas grains and beans, besides being
nutritionally inferior to veggies and fruit, contain Phytates and Lectins which damage the lining of the small intestine and cause a host of
other issues. Even if they have fiber, (vegetables and fruit have way more btw), in most cases their starch
component, (a digestible polysaccharide), hits the system quicker and spikes
insulin through the roof. Refined sugars, and especially high fructose
corn syrup, in everything from ketchup, syrup, and applesauce, are like
throwing gasoline on a fire. This Glycemic
Index article discusses the various ‘sugar contents of
various foods and can help you sort it out.
Insulin is the director of nutrients telling them where and when, it has a huge
influence on how all of our cells, and not just muscle and fat cells, but how
hair, teeth, skin, kidney cells, pancreatic cells are repaired and maintained.
Cells like to be repaired and maintained in the same fashion and any alteration
to this cycle of life has ramifications. Smart people, (Geneticists), call this
up or down regulation of gene expression. If this intimate cellular process is
altered for the worse too much and too often, genetic expression, or how our
genes are replicated, goes down hill and we age quickly and we get disease. You
didn’t think that piece of toast was that bad...did you?
Glucagon: Insulin's Brother from a Different Mother
Instead of Insulin’s storage of nutrients, the hormone
Glucagon is secreted from the Pancreas to promote the release of nutrients and
glucose from the liver and fat cells when blood sugar levels get low. Usually
this happens between meals when we need fuel. It knocks on a fat cell’s door to
release fatty acids and tells the liver to convert glycogen to glucose for
energy. Glucagon and Insulin are part of a feedback system that keeps blood
glucose levels at a stable level. Sounds good, right? The party ends when
Insulin shows up. Glucagon is not secreted in the presence of Insulin and you
don’t use stored fat for fuel. Even worse, excess glucose can get converted to
fat. Just like high school, your brother is not allowed at the same party you
are. Again, what causes the constant
stream and overproduction of Insulin? Constant intake of Carbohydrates.
Using Fat As Fuel
two important enzymes that regulate the conversion of fat into and out of a fat
(lipoprotein lipase)hangs out around the outside of the cell membrane, breaks triglycerides
floating around in your blood into fatty acids which are then pulled into the
cell for future energy storage. Insulin activates LPL. The more insulin, the
more fat pulled into the cell. The right amount is good, too much is not. Cells
will get stuffed and expand and you get fat.
(hormone-sensitive lipase) on the other hand, hangs out inside the cell and is signaled to
break down triglycerides into fatty acids to be released for fuel. More HSL
activity, more fat burn for fuel. The problem is, once again, Insulin
suppresses the activity of HSL. Keeping just the right amount of Insulin in
circulation is critical for this fat-for-energy metabolism.
It Goes From Bad To Worse
So, up to this point, it is plain to see that excess
circulation of insulin is the result of excess ingestion of carbohydrates and
the ramifications are deep. If the liver is full, fat cells are not taking
tenants, and muscles don’t need fuel, so what happens to all of that excess
glucose swimming around in your bloodstream? They get converted to a fat called
Palmitic Acid. This gets teamed up with proteins, cholesterol, and glycerol in
the liver and becomes a VLDL…a very low-density lipoprotein, and then shipped
out, well, to go nowhere, since everybody’s full. You now have circulating
glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and Insulin, all hanging around waiting to
inflict damage. If this keeps going, other nasty things happen like Leptin
Resistance (Inability to sense being full, so you eat more), Insulin
Resistance, (the liver, muscle tissue, and fat tissue do not sense Insulin
anymore and perceive a low blood sugar situation, the pancreas secretes more
Insulin, even though it is not needed so you have circulating Insulin all of
the time), Fatty Liver Disease, (those VLDL’s can’t get out, so they swell the
liver), Cortisol release, (in response to the false signal of low blood sugar,
cortisol initiates glucogenesis to make more glucose out of muscle and organ
tissue), the Immune System is suppressed due to excessive Cortisol, (you get
sick), AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products), are proteins in the body that
react and get oxidized due to the excessive presence of glucose. These nasty
fellows have the ability to affect our DNA, (genetic expression, transcription,
and replication), accelerate aging, increase risks for heart disease, systemic
inflammation, impair critical enzymatic production, and destroy Beta Cells
inside the Pancreas, responsible for releasing Insulin, thus causing permanent,
How Can You Manage Your Insulin
- Eat no grains, drink no soda, eliminate beans, potato chips and French fries, (+ other
your intake of animal products and good fats
carbohydrates like fruit with protein and fat. Did you say a shake?
Avoid excessive alcohol
daily, and that doesn’t mean heading to a gym all of the time. Long walks, a
few sprints, some Pullups and Pushups in the park are just fine some days.
- Eat a
filling breakfast that includes protein, fat, and a little carbohydrate.
- Dairy has sugar…and other problems.
still with me, I urge you to read the next article on Insulin and Cholesterol.
Understanding the roles of Insulin and being able to
control the amount and type of carbohydrates that enter your body is probably
the most important concept I can convey on this site. The right amount of
Insulin in circulation to do its job for a short period of time is what we
strive for. But, the typical human diet is laden with an enormous amount of
cheap, nutrient-deficient, easily and rapidly digestible carbohydrates, and if you eat a constant influx of grain and sugar related products, the
overproduction of Insulin is systematically going to erode, age, and disease
your body from the inside out…plain and simple.
The facts and ramifications of excessive blood glucose and
elevated insulin are well-researched and well-documented, and the funny thing:
easily controlled, yet the people supposedly in charge of your health are
either unwilling, incapable, or would rather ignore the science in favor of
traditional-outdated dietary recommendations and favor pharmacological
intervention. In many cases, people are told that a disease like diabetes is
inherited genetically and there is nothing you can do about it. 35% of the U.S. population is now considered obese and $300 Billion is spent on pharmaceuticals annually, most of which could be
eliminated by incorporating what is recommended on this site: responsible
eating habits and exercise.