Last week I talked about controlling inflammation for health and weight loss. But fighting inflammation is only half the battle. The second piece of the puzzle is managing the hormone insulin. You must make friends with this hormone before long-term health and weight loss will occur.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your body store fat. But before you give insulin a piece of your mind, know that fat storage is essential for your survival. If you didn’t store fat, you wouldn’t be able to take breaks from eating to sleep. You wouldn’t have any body insulation in the winter. You would have toxins free floating throughout your body. And your hormones would be completely out of control.
So you see, insulin is pretty cool.
But insulin can quickly become uncool. This happens when outside factors cause your pancreas to produce insulin like a racehorse, increasing your body’s ability to store fat. And with prolonged elevated insulin, your brain eventually stops recognizing that the hormone is in your body. This is kind of like when someone nags you so much that you stop hearing or listening. So your brain asks your pancreas to produce even more of the hormone, not recognizing that it is already there. And what does this do? It put so much of the hormone into your body that you become a fat storing machine.
So you need to make friends with your insulin. This will allow you to reduce hormone levels and store less fat.
Here’s how you do it:
Know the difference between low and high glycemic carbohydrates – High-glycemic carbohydrates are ones that put your body’s insulin production into overdrive. So, the more of these foods you eat, the more your body will become an expert fat accumulator. Low-glycemic carbohydrates are much kinder to your waistline because they elicit a smaller insulin response. High-glycemic carbohydrates are things like bread, pasta, bagels, cookies, brownies and cakes. You can still eat these foods, but only in moderation.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners – I talked last week about the role of artificial sweeteners in inflammation. I’ve some more bad news. The brain perceives artificial sweeteners as actual sugar. And this will cause the brain to signal the same production of insulin as when you eat sugar. What does that do? It puts the body in fat storing mode even though you didn’t consume any calories.
Include helpful spices – There are certain spices that are helpful in balancing your blood sugar. And as just mentioned, excess sugar in the blood causes an insulin problem. Some helpful spices to eat are cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and garlic extract.
Manage your stress – So lots of not-so-great things happen to your body when you’re stressed. One of the side effects of stress is that sugar gets released by your body into your blood. And as has been mentioned a few times, high-sugar in the blood puts insulin into overdrive. So you aren’t just gaining weight because you’re stress eating. You’re gaining weight because stress has put your body into fat storing mode.
Add fats to your carbs – I just talked about how high-glycemic carbohydrates disrupt blood sugar. Here’s a quick tip. Add healthy fat to your carbohydrates. The fat will slow the rate of your digestion, meaning less of a blood sugar spike, less of an insulin response and slower fat storage. Healthy fats don’t make these carbohydrates healthy. But they help lesson their damage. So make sure to butter your bread, and of course, only in moderation.
Here’s what you DON”T need to do:
Don’t worry about counting calories. Don’t feel that you have to eat foods entirely from a different time period. Don’t think that you have to completely eliminate carbohydrates.
Focus on two things: fighting inflammation and balancing insulin. And, only then will you find yourself with a lasting transformation! And if you want a program that combines the two, make sure to check out my new program SEEDS OF TRANSFORMATION!
Who knew that bread, pasta, bagels and cakes were “kinder” to your body – on moderation of course!
I have never used artificial sweeteners as to me they are still sugar so I may as well have the real thing.
I eliminated calories for some months and noticed the difference. I felt less sluggish. I do not think it is sustainable long term.
Phoenicia, bread and pasta are the “not so good” carbs. Vegetables and fruit and things like quinoa and lentils are the ones that are kinder to the body. However, anything in moderation is fine. And I agree with you about artificial sweeteners. Definitely go for the real thing!
Unfortunately I know all about insulin and carbohydrates etc. My husband is type 2 diabetic – every member of his family had this – and I’m also type 2 diabetic (barely) but that was medicine-induced.
You mentioned cinnamon – For the last while I’ve been making applesauce flavoured with cinnamon and a tiny bit of honey which my husband has for his bedtime snack. Few calories but keeps his sugar levels balanced overnight.
Type 2 diabetes is really growing in populations. So understanding blood sugar is really important. And hopefully parents will eventually be able to help the next generation so they don’t develop the disease in such number.
Kristina Rylova says
Totally agree about counting calories. I do not think that it is a solution, you should just should control your eating habits – how often you eat & how much (portion size)
Yes! I believe in eating good quality foods. Eat until you’re full and not past then.
Eating healthy is fundamental in life. Unfortunatly the majority of people don’t. Every time I’m at a supermarket I wonder how people can eat what they have in their trolleys. Most of it is pure junk and willl have a detrimental impact on their lives.
Personally consume a lot of olive oil and coconut oil. Those oils have a positive impact on our bodies and presumably make us friends with our insulin.
Well, I guess it is good to know that it is not just us from the U.S. who shop like that. And yes, olive and coconut oil are great. I always have those two on hand.
RoseMary Griffith says
I did not know all this about insulin, so very good lesson for me. I’m intrigued by the whole idea of anti-inflammatory foods. Good stuff!
Glad you learned something, Rosemary!
Marquita Herald says
Excellent advice as always Erica. I could only smile when I came to your point about managing stress. I am normally quite good at this, but a few days ago I got blindsided with a major unplanned (and unwelcome) change. Life happens, and I’m going all the things I know to help manage the stress, and I have no doubt it will all work out, but for awhile just going to have to take life one day at a time. Thanks for the information and advice!
We all have our moments, don’t we? Hope things have already started to work themselves out.
Ken Dowell says
Thanks for the insulin lesson. Controlling portions of carbs is a challenge for me. Bread and pasta are staples in my house.
They are staples for a lot of people, Ken. And a lot of people do struggle with controlling insulin.
Diabetes runs in my family, so know that has made me become more conscious of my health and diet, but there’s always more to learn.
Sorry to hear that diabetes runs in your family. But that is great that you became aware so that you didn’t have to follow in the footsteps of those suffering from the disease.
Sabrina Quairoli says
This is great, Erica! I knew about insulin but didn’t know that the brain stops recognizing it when there is a prolonged heightened insulin.
Sabrina, it really is crazy how that works. And everyone who suffers from obesity or type 2 diabetes has that problem.
Doreen Pendgracs says
Very interesting post about natural insulin, Erica. I always learn a lot from your posts and have now subscribed and look forward to reading your e-book.
Thanks for subscribing, Doreen! My emails do contain extra info not found in my blog so I hope it will be helpful.
Steve Grogan says
I have known for a long time that, if I eat a diet too heavy on carbs from bread and other grains, that I get super sluggish. It’s like I feel fatter than I am! At any rate, this blog and your 21 day plan are exactly what I need at the moment. I’m curious to see if your plan takes activity level into account, because it does not mention it anywhere in what I have read so far.
Hi Steve! My 21-day plan gives suggestions for types of exercise best suited for the plan. However, diet is 80% of weight loss. So diet takes the focus in my plan. Yes, you can burn off temporary calories by spending hours in the gym. But you’ll likely quickly gain that weight back. You have to balance your insulin and inflammation before anything else will work long-term. This is an essential, can’t be missed step. And many people go up and down on the scale because they don’t realize that is what they’re missing. I hope that answers your question!
Krystyna Lagowski says
I think people are so distracted by counting calories that they neglect their nutritional needs. Your point about including spices is especially relevant, as many of these contain abundant nutrients such as anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants and other good things. It’s all about balance, isn’t it?!
William Rusho says
There is so much about fitness that you cannot overlook. The carbs and its effect on insulin is just one of them. When I was a power lifter, I had little concern for this. The more carbs I got into me, the better and it did not matter which type.
Now that I am on a diet and a borderline diabetic, carbs mean so much more. I am constantly seeing how much, and which type I am getting.
Thank you for this post, it is very helpful.