By now many of us know that insulin is an anabolic hormone which gets released from the pancreas after eating a meal, while protein can have a small effect, the only foods which raise blood sugars are carbohydrates, fats have no impact whatsoever. After ingesting carbohydrates your body converts them into glucose, the glucose circulates the bloodstream and is used by all the cells in your body, this is where the storage hormone insulin comes in to play. Our body has a limited capacity to store glycogen (glycogen is what is formed from glucose) a typical male can store around 500mg, excess glycogen that is not used during activity or stored in our “limited space” is taken up by insulin and stored as fat this is why it’s important to think twice before deviating even slightly from a well-designed nutrition plan.
Insulin directs not only the storage of sugar but also that of fats and magnesium too. Elevated Insulin levels prompt increased fat storage but will also increase feelings of low energy by reducing the amount of magnesium in circulation. Magnesium is important for the production and transport of ATP, or Adenosine Tri Phosphate. ATP is the body’s energy molecule. It also increases the production of Liporotein Lipase, which is used to break down fat (triglycerides) in the bloodstream for storage in fat cells.
When there is a high level of insulin in your body this also prompts the kidneys to hold onto sodium, causing the retention of water. This increased retention adds to any bloated feeling and appearance whilst raising blood pressure due to increased blood volume. Blood pressure is further raised by Insulin’s effect on the adrenal glands – releasing cortisol and adrenaline.
When insulin is high, fat can’t be released. For fat loss to occur, it needs an environment of low insulin, and high growth hormone. Growth hormone is a very powerful hormone that is responsible for many positive metabolic functions – one of which is the release of fatty acids. In order to increase growth hormone levels, you need to have low insulin levels. GH and insulin levels are inversely correlated. When one is high, the other is low. Growth hormone is important for fat loss, muscle gain and anti ageing.
Now you have a better understanding of insulin, you can see the importance of being on a personalised eating plan that ensures you control your insulin levels.