We’re often told that calories in versus calories out is the recipe for weight loss or gain. And, that is somewhat true. But, losing weight is more than just a numbers game. Your body is a complex arrangement of systems. If it was as straight forward as eat less, lose weight, the fat loss industry wouldn’t exist and I might not have a job either. As more data emerges around the role of insulin in weight management, it’s becoming more clear that high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets aren’t helping us at all. So, is insulin fertilising your fat cells? Let’s find out…
The Role of Insulin in Your Body
Insulin is most commonly known for its impact on your blood sugar levels. Eat too much sugar and your body produces more insulin to help bring your blood sugar down. But, insulin does more than just that. Insulin plays a large role in how your body uses and stores all its calories.
When you eat, your insulin levels naturally rise and direct your body to move glucose from carbohydrates, amino acids from protein and free fatty acids from fats into tissue to either be used or stored. A few hours after eating, your insulin levels decrease, instructing your body to start using that stored fuel as energy.
The role that insulin plays in calorie use and storage is so key that it’s often referred to as the ultimate fat fertiliser.
We need insulin for our bodies to work properly but, having too much insulin floating around your body causes your fat cells to increase in size and number.
What causes your body to overproduce insulin?
More specifically, sugar and highly processed starches. So, the typical low-fat, high carbohydrate that we’ve been told to eat in the past actually raises your insulin levels and encourages calories to be stored.
To make the problem even worse, when insulin is high for too long, those stored calories become so ‘stuck’ that our bodies can’t burn them for energy. And, that’s when you might end up feeling constantly hungry. Your body is simply trying to tell you that it needs more fuel that it can actually use.
The natural reaction of anyone trying to get rid of the extra fat that they’ve been storing is then to cut back on calories. But, unfortunately, that just tells your body to feel hungrier as it slows your metabolism down so you don’t starve. Then, weight loss just becomes even more difficult.
To make losing weight easier, we’ve got to play it smart! Instead of counting calories, focus on eating to lower your insulin levels. If you nourish your body with whole foods it’ll find it easier to use the food your feeding it.
The quickest way to reduce your insulin levels is to eat fewer processed carbohydrates. But, you also need the right balance of protein and fat in your diet. Healthy fats from foods such as avocado, nuts and seeds help to lower insulin and calm those fat cells down. They’ll also help to make you feel more full so you’re less likely to overeat.
So, if you’re struggling to lose weight and cutting calories just isn’t work for you, take a look at what you’re eating. Is insulin fertilising your fat cells? If so, change what you’re eating. Or, for personalised help, come and see me or the team!