Insulin Is The Secret To Weight Loss

InsulinIn this article I’ll explain why insulin is the secret to weight loss, and how using a post workout recovery shake will greatly improve your weight loss results. This applies to type 0’s, type-1’s, type-2’s, and type-3’s.  Translation = It applies to everyone, and has nothing to do with diabetes.

What makes you gain weight, . . . is insulin.  (Don’t even get me started about a low fat diet to lose weight.  What an evil joke!)  Without insulin, fat cannot be stored, and muscle cannot be built.  Insulin is anabolic, meaning it’s a growth hormone.  Insulin has a sister hormone called glucagon.  Glucagon is catabolic, meaning it’s a release hormone.  Insulin stores fat, glucagon releases it.  Only 1 can exist in the blood stream at a time.  If insulin is present, glucagon is not.  Both hormones do much more that store and release fat, but for now, we’ll focus on that.

Everybody has heard of aerobic exercise, but do you know what it means?  It means “with oxygen”.  It’s when you exercise, but you’re not out of breath.  Your muscles have ample oxygen.  To burn fat, your body must have oxygen.  If you’re workout leaves you out of breath, and your muscles do not have oxygen, then you burn glycogen from within the muscle cells, instead of fat.  This is called anaerobic exercise.  It means “without oxygen”.  So, to translate, walking, running, or eliptical, will burn fat.  Programs like Les Mills Combat, Insanity, P90X, or any form of strength training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), will burn glycogen, leaving the gas tank in the muscle empty.  Now it’s not exactly that clear and simple, but with aerobic you’ll burn more fat than glycogen, and with anaerobic you’ll burn more glycogen than fat.  Plus there’s no defined percentage of how much of each is burned, but in general, this is how it works.

Anaerobic exercise produces the best results for weight loss.  So that means exercise that leaves you out of breath.  Here’s why.  Anaerobic exercise causes a metabolic change in your body that reduces your need for insulin for hours.  Aerobic exercise does not do this.  When insulin isn’t present, glucagon is.  Glucagon is what releases fat, so it can be used as fuel.

Results and RecoveryNow to tie it all together, and show you the secret to using insulin for weight loss.  If you wanna burn the most fat DURING your workout, then make sure your blood stream is full of glucagon when you start.  How do you do this?  Don’t eat carbs for at least 3 hours before your workout.  No carbs = no insulin.  You may run out of energy, but you’ll be burning fat like crazy.  Just keep pushing.  T H E N . . . after your workout, when you don’t need as much insulin to absorb carbs (remember, less insulin is good for fat loss), suck down a post workout recovery shake that includes both fast acting carbs and protein.  You want it to be in liquid form so it will digest faster.  The faster you consume it, the better.  General consensus is within 45 minutes of finishing your workout.  The carbs produce an insulin spike, but one that’s not as big because you did an anaerobic workout.  The insulin spike shuttles the carbs and the protein into the muscle cells.  The carbs fill up the empty gas tank, and in this state, they even make the gas tank grow, so it can hold more glycogen.  The protein is used to rebuild muscle, and the insulin helps get into the muscle faster.  This is one reason that having more muscle means you store less fat.  If you can store more in muscle, you won’t store as much in fat.  You fed your hungry muscles with less insulin, and your muscles continue to need less insulin for hours.  You have more glucagon in your body, so you’re burning fat longer throughout the day, or while you sleep depending on when you workout.

On Bodybuilding.com they recommend a recovery shake that has a carb to protein ratio of 2/1, however, if you’re just trying to lose weight, and not sculpt a physique, a ratio of 4/1 would be fine.  The shake I drink mixes 2 products.  Beachbody’s P90X Results and Recovery Formula, with 40g dextrose and 10g protein, and their Body Beast Hardcore Base Shake with 10g dextrose and 18g protein.  After a workout, it’s like drinking candy crack juice.  It’s makes me feel like a bad diabetic.

Protein Base ShakeNow, if you’re a type 1 diabetic reading this, it’s not quite as easy for us, for obvious reasons.  Here are some tips for type 1 diabetics.  We can still “try” to do the no carbs for 3 hours before a workout to limit insulin in the blood stream, as long as we don’t go hypoglycemic.  When “I” do this, my blood sugar is usually within range of 80 – 120 before sweatabetes.  My workout causes a hypo, so I actually sip my shake throughout my workout, without insulin, and then bolus after my workout.  This prevents my hypo during the workout.  Anyway, this little trick works for me.  After the workout, you may have to reduce how much bolus you use for your shake, compared to normal.  I know I do.  You may also need to reduce your basal for hours after your workout.  I have different basal profiles in my pump.  After my workout I switch it, and when I wake up, I switch it back.  As type 1’s we have to experiment to see what works.

So . . . . . clear as mud?  Well, I hope it’s clearer than mud at least.  If you need to, bookmark this page, so you can come back and re-read it.  So you can Google more info about what I said.  If you’d like to try the products I use, just click the links above.  You’ll help me out if you do.  Thanks!

 

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Have you ever had a diabetic seizure?

diabetic seizureI’ve been diabetic for 42 years.  I left home for college at 17.  I haven’t owned a glucagon shot since then.  I see a lot of people post blogs, videos, tweets, about having a glucagon shot in their diabetes bag, but I’ve never had one as an adult.  My parents kept them when I was a kid, and used them a few times, but I’ve never kept one as an adult.  I wondered if I was the only one who didn’t keep one, so I tweeted about it, and got tons of responses immediately from other type 1’s who don’t have them either.  So I guess I’m not alone.

What is glucagon?  Why does a diabetic keep a shot of it?  What does it do?  Well it comes in a shot because it’s for those times when you’re blood sugar is so low that you’re unconscious, or sleepy, or otherwise unable to eat carbs.  So it kinda needs someone else around to give you the shot.  If you live alone like me, what’s the point, right?  So back to what it does.  I’ll bet you know what insulin is?  Glucagon is the opposite of insulin.  It’s insulin’s sister hormone.  Insulin is a builder, and glucagon breaks things down.  The 2 can’t co-exist in the blood stream at the same time.  What glucagon does for a diabetic when it’s injected, is it places a high concentration of glucagon into the blood stream which quickly forces the liver to start converting (breaking down) glycogen into glucose, or converting protein (amino acids) into glucose via gluconeogenesis.    This quickly raises blood sugar so you can recover from your hypoglycemia.  So glucagon is for when you’re unable to help yourself out of hypoglycemia.

I can remember regularly. . . VIVIDLY . . . when I was a kid, having a diabetic seizure in my sleep from low blood sugar, and mom and dad trying to force different forms of sugar down my throat while I was seizing.  When I say vividly, I mean I can still see mom and dads faces hovering over me while seizing and I can see the bright light of the hallway behind them, shadowing their heads.  I can hear them yelling, urging me to eat what they were trying to force down my throat.  Honey, sugar cubes, juice, etc.  They didn’t believe me, but I was FULLY CONSCIOUS while I was seizing, and I always got furiously mad at them for trying to force that food my throat instead of letting me try to eat it myself.  A few times they used a glucagon shot to bring me out of those seizures, but when I saw them coming with that shot, I’d get the strength of bigfoot and I’d fight them.  (I used to have nightmares of bigfoot as a kid.)  They never believed I’d be ok, unless they did these things.  It’s ok mom and dad, I understand, BUT I WAS RIGHT!!!  LOL!!!

When I went away to college, I was lucky that I never had a seizure with roommates in the apartment.  Or did I?  Crap!  I don’t remember now.  John, Mike, do you remember if I did?  Anyway, after college, living alone, I did have seizures now and then.  Mom and dad never understood until I moved away, that I would come out of those seizures on my own, and I could then get glucose into my system on my own.  I was always 100% conscious, and aware of what was wrong, and what I needed, while seizing.  There’s one night in particular that I remember like it was yesterday.  It was probably 18 or so years ago.  I was seizing in my waterbed, which is a horrifying experience by the way, because as you’re seizing you’re arms and legs are outstretched trying to stop you from falling every couple of seconds, even though you’re not falling, and the bed moves.  *shivers*  Yeah, horrifying.  Anyway, as I was seizing, I was able to roll myself out of bed and onto the floor after many minutes.  I then seized my way about 20 feet into my kitchen over who knows how many minutes.  I knew I needed to get to the kitchen where the sugar was.  When the seizure stopped.  I calmly stood up, stepped over to the sugar container, took out the 1 cup scoop and started swallowing raw sugar.  I knew I’d be fine, but the experience was definitely not fun.  Now I keep glucose tabs on my nightstand.

Now, here’s the kicker.  When I went on the pump, the seizures stopped.  Haven’t had a seizure in over 6 years.  It’s that damn long acting insulin dumping in the bloodstream all at once!  All my life I had been on either NPH or Lantus, along with Regular, until I went on the pump when I changed to Humalog.  I still have low blood sugars in my sleep, but they come on so slow, that I ALWAYS wake up.  When I get any low blood sugar, it comes on way slower on fast acting insulin.  Explain that?!   I think I’m hypo right now actually, so I’m gonna sign off and get some glucose tabs.

********** Now ya know, and knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!!! **********

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Type 1 Diabetic: Insulin vs Glucagon

So I’ve been studying the role of glucagon in metabolism.  I wanted to know the difference between insulin vs glucagon.  I’ve never really known anything about glucagon, except that when I was a juvenile diabetic, I’d have seizures from low blood sugar, and when I saw my parents coming at me with that weird syringe, I knew it was glucagon.  They never understood that I was totally conscious during my seizures.  So anyway, I always thought glucagon was a form of ultra pure glucose or something, until I read Robb Wolf’s book “The Paleo Solution” back in March of this year.  He barely touched on glucagon, but did mention that it was a hormone, so I knew it wasn’t a form of sugar.

Well now I understand a great deal more about glucagon.  Been studying like a madman.  I understand that it’s insulin’s sister hormone, that they both come from Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.  Glucagon comes from alpha cells, and insulin from beta cells.  That together, they are the core of metabolism.  A perfect feedback system that regulates energy in your body.  Glucagon is the yin, to insulin’s yang.  Glucagon releases fat to be burned, where insulin stores it for energy later.  Glucagon raises low blood sugar by signalling the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose via glyconeogenesis.  When blood sugar rises to high, insulin is secreted to store that glucose as glycogen in muscle tissue, or as fat.  When there’s insulin, you can’t burn fat.  When there’s glycogen, you can’t store fat.  Insulin is secreted when you eat carbohydrates.  Glycogen is secreted when you eat protein.

Ok, so I have the basic understanding I think?  Now, as a T1D how does glucagon work inside me, since it doesn’t work at all inside me?  I can’t find these answers yet?  I’m dying to figure this out.  I know how insulin works in a T1D.  I just take it externally.  T1D’s don’t take glucagon externally except in emergencies though, to raise blood sugar quickly.  In a T1D, those Islets of Langerhans are broken, so neither insulin nor glucagon is secreted.  When a T1D’s blood sugar falls, glucagon doesn’t bring us back up like it does in a normal person.  Haven’t you ever seen a diabetic that’s hypoglycemic?  We don’t know our own name or where we are sometimes!  So if our bodies don’t secrete glucagon, how do we burn fat?  I know we as T1D’s need to take external glucose to raise blood sugar.  Does epinepherine work in a T1D for releasing fat to be burned?  If I understand epinepherine (it’s totally possible that I don’t understand anything about all this), it can function similarly to glucagon in the release of fat for energy.  I know that T1D’s can burn fat, because I’ve done it,  but how if glucagon doesn’t work?

If anyone reading this, can explain how a T1D burns fat for energy without a working glucagon system, I would be eternally grateful.  I know I’m trying to understand something  that’s probably a whole course of material, but I’d really like to understand this.  I’m such a health nerd.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

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