Hey Angels and Alphas,
Many people who embark on a weight loss journey believe that reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity is the key to shedding unwanted pounds. However, weight loss is not always as straightforward as it seems.
One important factor that is often overlooked is the role of insulin in the body’s metabolism and its impact on fat cells.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and plays a crucial role in metabolism. When you eat, your body releases insulin to help your cells absorb glucose, which is used as energy or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. However, if you consume more calories than your body needs, the excess glucose is converted to fat and stored in fat cells.
Let’s talk about insulin.
Insulin is a complex hormone that plays a critical role in metabolic health. Insulin resistance, a condition in which the body becomes less responsive to insulin, is a significant risk factor for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
One of the main effects of insulin resistance is elevated insulin levels in the blood, which can lead to a variety of metabolic abnormalities. One such abnormality is impaired fat metabolism, which can make it difficult for individuals with insulin resistance to lose weight, even if they are on a calorie deficit.
When insulin levels are high, fat cells become resistant to the signals that would normally trigger them to release stored fat for energy. Insulin inhibits the action of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), an enzyme that breaks down stored fat into fatty acids for energy. Therefore, even if an individual is on a calorie deficit, their body may not be able to access stored fat for energy if their insulin levels are too high.
In addition to inhibiting the breakdown of stored fat, high insulin levels can also stimulate the growth of new fat cells, making it easier to regain weight even after weight loss. This is because insulin promotes the differentiation of preadipocytes, or immature fat cells, into mature fat cells, which can store more fat.
Furthermore, insulin resistance can lead to chronic inflammation, which can contribute to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. Inflammation is a complex process that involves the immune system, and it is thought to play a role in the development of insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders.
How do we improve our body’s insulin responses?
So, what can be done to address insulin resistance and promote healthy fat metabolism? One of the most effective strategies is to reduce carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbohydrates, which can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
A diet that is high in protein and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and promote weight loss.
Physical activity is another crucial component of managing insulin resistance. Exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to better utilize glucose and stored fat for energy. Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce inflammation and improve metabolic health.
Managing stress levels is also important, as chronic stress can contribute to insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. Techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can be helpful for reducing stress and improving overall health.
The amount of insulin released by the body depends on the amount and type of carbohydrates consumed. When you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, your body releases a large amount of insulin to manage the glucose influx.
Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which your body becomes less sensitive to insulin and requires more insulin to manage blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance is a significant risk factor for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
If you’re on a calorie deficit, your body is burning more calories than you’re consuming, creating an energy deficit. In theory, this should lead to weight loss as your body turns to stored fat for energy. However, if your insulin levels are out of balance due to insulin resistance, your body may have difficulty accessing stored fat for energy, even if you’re on a calorie deficit.
When insulin levels are high, fat cells are in a state of storage, meaning they are actively taking up and storing fat, rather than releasing it for energy. This is because insulin inhibits the action of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL), an enzyme that breaks down stored fat into fatty acids for energy. Therefore, even if you’re on a calorie deficit, your body may not be able to access stored fat for energy if your insulin levels are too high.
To summarize, fat cells won’t shrink even if you’re on a calorie deficit if your insulin levels are out of balance because high insulin levels inhibit the breakdown of stored fat into energy and promote the growth of new fat cells. Therefore, if you’re struggling to lose weight, it’s essential to address insulin resistance by reducing carbohydrate intake, increasing physical activity, and managing stress levels. This will help restore insulin sensitivity and enable your body to access stored fat for energy, leading to sustainable weight loss and better metabolic health.