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The effect of insulin on the development of obesity
The hormone insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to food intake. It helps the body use energy from food by channeling nutrients to the cells. When the digestive tract has broken down carbohydrates into glucose, insulin directs the glucose to storage sites - muscle glycogen, liver glycogen, and adipose tissue.
Agree, it would be great if our muscles fed on carbohydrates, but insulin doesn't care where to send them. Slender people can benefit from this by stimulating its production after exercise to build muscle, but overweight people should keep their levels of this anabolic hormone stable most of the time.
Insulin functions in the body
Insulin should not be afraid, because in addition to its anabolic functions (building muscle and fat cells), it prevents the breakdown of muscle protein, stimulates glycogen synthesis, and ensures the delivery of amino acids to the muscles. Its main function is to maintain a safe blood sugar level.
Problems begin when insulin sensitivity decreases. For example, a person regularly eats sweets and gets fat. He gets fat not because of insulin, but because of excess calories, but in his body insulin is constantly at a high level - he constantly enters into a fight with blood sugar, trying to lower it to a safe level. Obesity itself puts a strain on the body and changes the lipid composition of the blood, but increased insulin secretion affects the pancreas in such a way that its cells lose sensitivity to it. This is how type 2 diabetes develops. Of course, this does not happen in a week or two, but if you are obese and if you abuse sweets, you are at risk.
Increased insulin secretion blocks the breakdown of internal fat stores. As long as there is a lot of it, you will not lose weight. It also reduces the use of fat as an energy source by distracting the body for carbohydrates. How does this relate to nutrition? Let's consider.
Insulin levels and nutrition
The body produces insulin in response to food intake. There are three concepts that help control levels - the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), and insulin index (AI).
The glycemic index determines how your blood sugar rises after you eat a carbohydrate meal. The higher the index, the faster the sugar rises and the more insulin the body produces. Low GI foods tend to have a higher fiber content (whole grains, greens, and non-starchy vegetables), while high GI foods tend to have a lower fiber content (processed cereals, potatoes, sweets). Thus, white rice has a GI of 90, and brown rice - 45. During heat treatment, dietary fibers are destroyed, which increases the GI of the product. For example, the GI of raw carrots is 35, and boiled carrots are 85.
Glycemic load allows you to know how a specific serving of carbohydrate food will affect the body. Scientists from Harvard have found that the larger the serving of carbohydrates, the higher the insulin spike. Therefore, when planning meals, you should control portions.
To calculate the load, the formula is used:
(Product GI / 100) x Carbohydrate Per Serving
Low GN - up to 11, medium - from 11 to 19, high - from 20.
For example, a standard 50 g serving of oatmeal contains 32.7 carbohydrates. The GI of oatmeal is 40.
(40/100) x 32.7 = 13.08 - average GN.
Similarly, we calculate a portion of ice cream ice cream 65 g. Glycemic index of ice cream 60 g, portion 65 g, carbohydrates per portion 13.5.
(60/100) x 13.5 = 8.1 - low HP.
And if for the calculation we take a double portion of 130 g, then we get 17.5 - close to high GN.
The insulin index shows how this hormone rises in response to the consumption of protein foods. The highest AI is found in eggs, cheese, beef, fish and beans. But you remember that this hormone is involved in both the transport of carbohydrates and the transport of amino acids. Therefore, this parameter should be kept in mind for people with diabetes. For the rest, it is less important.
What conclusions can we draw from this?
Foods with a low glycemic index will not only reduce insulin secretion, but also provide long-term satiety due to their fiber content. Such foods should form the basis of a losing weight diet.
Fiber stripping and cooking increase the GI of food when fiber in the diet and the presence of fat slow down the absorption of foods. The slower the absorption, the lower the rise in blood sugar and the lower the production of insulin. Try to eat proteins and carbohydrates together, do not avoid vegetables and do not be afraid of fats.
It is important to control portions. The larger the portion, the greater the load on the pancreas and the more insulin the body secretes. In this case, fractional nutrition can help. By eating fractionally, you will avoid high glycemic load and hormonal surges.
An excess of any food leads to obesity, and obesity is often the cause of diabetes. You should create a calorie deficit in your diet, balance your diet and control the quality and quantity of carbohydrates in it. People with poor insulin sensitivity should eat fewer carbohydrates, but more protein and fat in their calories.
You can determine your sensitivity subjectively. If after a large portion of carbohydrates you feel vigorous and energetic, then your body normally produces insulin. If you feel tired and hungry after an hour, then your secretion is increased - you should pay more attention to your diet.
A calorie deficit, split meals, low-GI foods, portion control and carbohydrate control will keep insulin levels stable and lose weight faster. However, in case of any suspicion of diabetes, it is necessary to urgently seek the advice of a doctor.
Author: Ekaterina G., nutritionist, fitness blogger (specially for Calorizator.ru)
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