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Don't Let Your Carbs Be Lonely

Posted Jan 17 2013 8:48pm

Don't trust the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  If you are attempting to lose body fat it isn't a good idea to carb load.  In fact, carb loading is rarely a good idea because it triggers a powerful pro-fat chain reaction within your body.  Eaten by themselves, carb laden foods cause the body to panic and release a boatload of insulin from your pancreas.   This spike of insulin cleans up the majority of sugar in your blood stream...a good thing.  Then your blood sugar plummets and you crave more sweets and get tired...not good.  It's sort of like doing lines of crystal meth.  You get really high and soon after you feel quite low and need another bump just to get back to normal (I know this from the TV show "Breaking Bad", not personal experience!).  Sugar works in a very similar way.   Did you ever notice how hungry you get an hour after eating Chinese food?  The white rice, lo mein and dumplings are pure carbs which skyrocket your blood sugar.  Let's say you blood glucose level is 100 before the meal, it may spike to 140 as you are eating it.  Over the next hour your insulin will quickly remove the sugar from your blood, so much so that glucose levels will end up lower than where they started.  And guess what?  When your blood sugars are low, you will feel tired and hungry!  Insidious cycle.  It is especially bad when you eat carb only meals like: A bagel with jam, plain pasta, rice, bread, bowl of cereal etc.  Controlling your insulin is paramount to weight loss.  

It is an accepted fact that during times of high insulin production your body will preferentially store fat.  Inversely, when insulin levels are low you do not store much fat and in fact you use it for energy.  This is unrefuted by science.

Too much sugar in the blood raises inflammation levels and can cause a whole host of problems; neuropathy, blindness, tiredness, heart disease and more.  People who often eat too many carbohydrates increasing their blood sugar are setting themselves up for insulin resistance and possibly diabetes. This happens because your cells and tissues get worn out and need more insulin to do the same job.  Now your pancreas is forced to produce a ton of (fat storing) insulin in order to lower your blood sugar.  Many illicit drugs work in the same way.  You start to need more and more to get high until eventually you don't get high anymore and are looking to just get back to "normal". 
Insulin is a good thing when it slowly is released.  It protects you from the damaging effects of sugar on the body, works to store protein and fat for later use and assists in protein synthesis (needed to build muscle).  It also does a great job at storing extra fat.  Furthermore, to assure we have room to store all the fat, insulin works to make new fat cells!   If you want to lose body fat, you got to control your insulin.  There are many ways to do this.  The three top methods used to control insulin in non-diabetics are
  1. Exercise - daily exercise keeps your blood sugar regulated and promotes healthy insulin responses. 
  2. Diet - eating lots of fiber, protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates will do wonders for keeping your blood sugars in the right range.
  3. Sleep - being sleep deprived has been shown to increase insulin resistance, conversely sleeping well (7-9 hrs per night) improves insulin resistance. 
The insulin hormone is primarily increased through consumption of simple carbohydrates. If your goal is fat loss, you need to decrease the amount of simple carbs you are eating, exercise on a regular basis and get adequate amounts of sleep.   This is key, because blood sugar won't spike and you'll store less fat and use more for energy.    So next time you have strong craving for carbs make sure you pair it with a good fat, protein or fiber.


Doug Joachim - NYC www.JoachimsTraining.com
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