Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Insulin and Weight Loss

By Hayden Keys

If you've decided this year you're going to trim down what should you be eating? Should you be eating low fat, no fat, low carb, high carb, low G.I. or high protein or should you just stop eating altogether!

Whether you need to lose 5 or 50' kgs the answer is the same. You need to eat food that will control your insulin levels. Before I get to which foods those are let me explain what insulin does.

After you eat a meal containing carbohydrate (all plant foods contain carbohydrate as do some animal products like dairy) it is broken down into glucose by the digestive processes. The glucose then enters the blood stream, raising your blood sugar levels (BSLs). In response to this insulin is secreted by the pancreas. This helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells, thus lowering BSLs. Inside the cell glucose is converted into energy.

If however glucose enters the cell more rapidly than it can be used any excess is converted to fat and transported to fat cells. Thus insulin places your body in fat building mode. Therefore the key to managing your weight is to control your insulin levels.

Diets containing refined carbohydrates like bread, rice, cereal, pasta, cakes, biscuits and potatoes, result in sustained elevated insulin levels. This leads to weight gain and long term may cause insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. By balancing the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fat in your meals you are able to control your insulin levels. This is because protein and fat do not raise insulin levels.

When adequate protein and fat are brought into a meal they slow down the rate of carbohydrate digestion. Coupled with reduced carbohydrate intake insulin levels are kept low and the body is able to switch into fat burning mode as needed. This state is called ketosis and is a safe natural state. When your body is in this state you can lose between 1 and 3 kilo's a week.

There are many weight loss programs using this principle however they are all not equal. Some achieve ketosis using meal replacement, where meals are replaced by shakes or pre-prepared meals. These achieve weight loss while you're on the program but once you stop you revert to your old eating habits and regain the weight.

The best programs are those that get you to prepare your meals and are conducted by a qualified health professional, like a Naturopath. This way you develop new eating habits and become educated about the effects of different foods on your body. This way you can lose weight and more importantly keep it off for good.

Hayden Keys is the founder of http://www.healthyremedies.com.au where you can get your FREE copy of the Breakthrough Weight Loss Report. For more weight loss and health tips check out my blog http://www.healthyremedies.com.au/_blog/fast_healthy_weight_loss