Insulin Spikes Are Ruining Your Goals
No matter what macronutrient you eat, i.e. protein, carbs, or fats…there will be an insulin response. Our pancreas will secrete insulin when there is an indication of food energy i.e. calories in the system. Our food is digested and insulin binds to glucose, and carries it to where it needs to go. Where you want it to go is into your muscle bellies, because muscle holds insulin receptors, so the higher your lean muscle mass you have on your body, then the higher number of insulin receptors you have ready to take on insulin. If your body is efficient at using the insulin surge and drives it into the muscle bellies, then this will only help you grow more muscle because muscle cells and mitochondria need glucose/glycogen. The more muscle mass you have, the more glycogen stores there are to fill (which is why there are insulin receptors in the first place), so you are more efficient i.e. insulin sensitive, at using and burning food energy.
On the flip side, fat cells also hold insulin receptors which means the higher your body fat % is, the more insulin receptors you are holding on “team fat cell”. The more body fat, the more likely insulin from your food is being driven into fat cells, in turn making the fat cells bigger and more dominant. Basically, the less body fat you have and the more muscle you have, then the more you will be able to handle carbs or higher volumes of food. Weight loss is all about changing your body composition, improving your body fat % to muscle mass ratio, which in turn also changes the ratio of insulin receptors on fat cells and muscle cells. You want to be efficient at using and burning off your food and meals, therefore working hard to increase our resting metabolic rate. But the only way to make how you burn calories faster i.e quicker metabolism, you need to decrease your body fat % (stored energy), and increase your muscle mass (metabolically active material i.e. burned energy).
More often than not after pouring through many food diaries, a lot of the problem is that food energy is not dispersed properly throughout our day. We do not match our overall everyday energy demands with proper amount of calories. We have a resting metabolic rate, we all have a base caloric need we have to meet and our jobs, lifestyles, and current body composition impact this. When people are sitting a lot at work, and do not feel overly active in their everyday lives, they tend to not eat much. They graze instead, maybe skip breakfast, go out on their lunch hour and have a big robust salad or a sandwich, munch on somethings until 3pm, get home and munch more here and there waiting for an “official” dinner time, then have another big meal, then possibly snack at night again. The next day might look different, maybe breakfast is eaten, but lunch is skipped, dinner is missed, and then drinks and take-out is ordered at night. Big meals, especially after hours of depletion, causes a massive insulin surge especially if the meal is carb heavy. Out of all 3 macros, carbs digest the quickest into insulin therefore making it the fastest source of energy available to the body. If your meal is not only high in calories, but those calories are primarily carbs, then you will cause a large spike in blood sugar which means an equal surge in insulin. Insulin binds to the sugars are carries them to muscles and fat cells or burned off immediately for energy demands. The higher your portions are all at once is causing a flood of blood sugar and insulin. This could be providing your body with more energy than you need at that time therefore increasing the chance of the energy in the meal being stored as fat. Skipping meals only increases our hunger and our bodies thirst for quick energy to meet our base metabolic demands. We will eat with our eyes when we haven’t eaten for a long while, so our brain tells us to eat carbs first…and lots. Our brain is the most sensitive to drops in blood sugar, it needs a lot of energy so we can easily get brain fog if we are depleted.
Don’t let blood sugar levels dip low, then make them go super high. This roller coaster type of eating only confuses your body and makes your caloric intake sporadic and unpredictable. Keeping portions in check, 2.4-4hours max apart, having majority of carbs during breakfast and after your weights workout will all help control insulin surges. Don’t run the well dry then fill it up to the max, keep your meals small and purposeful and strive for 5-6 per day.