Insulin Spikes torpedo your weight loss and cause weight gain

When we hear the word “insulin” we often think of someone who is diabetic, but even for those who aren’t diabetic it is important to understand what insulin is and how it dramatically effects both fat storage and prevents weight loss.  So what is insulin?  It’s a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar.  Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels stable by making the body either use excess sugar or store it as fat.  An insulin “spike’ happens when our bodies secrete a lot of insulin in a short period as a result of sudden intake of sugar; for example, eating a donut/muffin, cakes, pies, or candy bars. Even eating white bread or by having too much sugar in coffee or other sugar filled drinks like soda or orange juice (which is “loaded” with sugar, as much or more than soda).  

The problem with insulin spikes is; it “forces” our bodies to use the sugar we just took in and if we have more sugar than we need, insulin plays a dirty trick on us by immediately storing it as FAT.  In fact, we can “only” store fat in the presence of insulin.  It is important to note that each time we eat, our insulin does rise; it is part of the normal digestive process.  However, when we take in too much sugar, an insulin spike occurs and the excess sugar gets immediately converted to fat.   

As you can see, insulin spikes torpedo your weight loss and can occur even when we think we’re eating healthy.  Most people think a half glass of orange juice might be okay as part of a quick breakfast, but unfortunately it isn’t as it will cause an insulin spike and the excess sugar will, again, be converted to fat.  Your best defense against insulin spikes is to avoid foods and drinks with added sugars. Try having a treat “occasionally” rather than each day. Some better breakfast options are; have two eggs on whole wheat toast or veggie omelet, avocado on wheat toast, or for those who enjoy a plant based nutrition plan, try tofu or tempeh scramble with a few veggies, or rolled oats with chia seeds. Some healthy snacks include an apple, orange, bananas or berries (blue berries, strawberries, etc.). Also, consider switching to whole grain breads, all of which are lower in sugar and digest slowly, avoiding an insulin spike.  It’s important to include lot of vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, green beans and spinach, lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey) and healthy fats (fat is NOT the enemy, sugar is) like avocado, olive oil, walnuts, and almonds.  These fats are a good choice because they are released into the blood slowly, voiding an insulin spike and they keep you feeling full longer.  Fats to avoid; all saturated fats like butter and cream.  Lastly, its important to note that weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is 80% nutrition. While exercising is very important too there is no amount of exercise that will work off poor nutrition choices and exercising will not prevent an insulin spike!  So, get plenty of sleep, exercise and dump the sugar! 

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