Insulin Level Weight Gain and Coronary Heart Disease

Whenever insulin level is mentioned, most of us automatically think Diabetes and Diabetics.

Did you know that your blood insulin level and your pancreatic function - the organ that produces insulin - is of vital importance to you regardless of whether you happen to be diabetic or not?

Several coronary heart disease risk factors are strongly scientifically linked to abnormally high levels of blood insulin. If you already know that you have several risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease and you are on the way to becoming or have developed
insulin resistance
...don't despair...you can reduce your risk quite significantly if a high insulin response is behind your...

  • high blood pressure
  • abnormal cholesterol level
  • development of pre diabetes and...
  • weight gain
  • You can even halt and slow down the progression of the disease process if you currently suffer from coronary heart disease and a high insulin level is underpinning your risk factors.

    If your diet consists of a continual carbohydrate 'onslaught' including breads, pasta, rice, sweet and starchy vegetables, fruit and fruit juice, pastries and cakes...and you can't imagine life without them...you may have a carbohydrate addiction...consider cutting back on your high carbohydrate intake and balancing your nutrition with some low carbohydrate meals



    What is Insulin?

    Insulin - a hormone is released by your pancreas in response to the carbohydrate content of the food and drink that you consume.

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    The greater the carbohydrate content of your food the more insulin your pancreas will produce and release in response to your blood glucose level. (Carbohydrates in your food get metabolized into sugars and circulate in your blood as glucose).

    Some foods that contain large amounts of starch which is a complex carbohydrate made up of simple sugar molecules all linked together...such as white potatoes, have an almost instantaneous elevating effect on your blood sugar level and produce a corresponding surge in insulin release from your pancreas.

    Other foods such as lean meats, soybean curd known as tofu and many green leafy vegetables contain little or no carbohydrate either simple or complex...so have minimal effect on your blood sugar level and your insulin level.

    Other components of food like fats and protein are metabolized by your body in different ways than carbohydrates and generally don't produce an insulin surge.

    What's the deal with insulin?

    Insulin works to open up the 'door' to your body's cells to allow glucose or sugar that is present predominantly in carbohydrate based foods to enter and provide fuel for cellular energy. This energy allows your brain to function and your muscles to work.

    Insulin also plays an important role in determining whether your body's muscle cells 'burn' fat or sugar as an energy source. This is of prime importance when it comes to the issue of weight control.


    Insulin and weight control

    Insulin 'allows' a certain amount of carbohydrate from your food to be 'burned' immediately to satisfy your present energy requirements...any excess food energy is then stored in fat cells to be called on later when
    you need fuel to run your body between meals.

    Food energy that is not used immediately will be
    stored in the form of Glycogen which is a
    long string of glucose molecules all joined together.

    Glycogen stored in your liver and muscles is converted into energy by the action of Glucagon when your
    blood sugar and insulin level decreases...usually
    several hours after eating.

    The energy storage process is actually facilitated by insulin which has responded to your current blood glucose level. You effect your own blood glucose level through your food and beverage choices.

    A high level of insulin - hyperinsulinemia - suppresses the action of glucagon which would normally convert your stored energy into usable fuel when the insulin level drops off. If the insulin level stays high, a mechanism of fat storage rather than 'fat burn' is initiated. This negatively impacts weight gain and fat loss.

    Glucagon and Insulin

    Glucagon is a hormone. It is produced by the pancreas and normally works in harmony with insulin. When insulin levels decrease...between meal times, glucagon is stimulated to rise and it facilitates the release of energy out of fat cells by promoting the conversion of glycogen to blood glucose. The converted glycogen which has become blood sugar...a process that takes place in the liver and muscles is used to fuel your body in between eating and drinking.

    There are two storage sites in your body for glycogen

  • the Liver and...
  • the Muscles
  • The glycogen stored in the muscles is used locally for energy conversion and is not accessible to any other organs of the body. Only the glycogen stored in the liver can be broken down and enter the bloodstream to maintain blood sugar levels between meals.

    Your Pancreas your Diet and Insulin

    Normally, your insulin level will rise and fall in response to the carbohydrate level in a balance diet. However, it is very common in industrialized nations to eat a diet that over represents carbohydrates...either healthy ones or unhealthy ones. This constant bombardment at meal times, snack times...and drink times can really stretch your pancreatic function as it is always being 'asked' to produce a high level of insulin to assist with the metabolization of your blood glucose.

    If this situation continues unabated, day in day out...year in year out, your body's cells shut their 'door' to insulin and its traveling companion...glucose. This is known as Insulin Resistance Syndrome.

    Your pancreas, stressed from years of heavy use can no longer cope with the unrealistic demand that has been placed on it...the daily request to produce a high level of insulin every time you eat and drink. Your pancreas will then start to produce insufficient amounts of insulin for your requirements.

    The result is a low insulin level in your blood versus a high level of blood glucose from your food. This is known as Type 2 Diabetes or adult onset diabetes...however, it is being seen increasingly in adolescents and children as a direct result of dietary choices.


    Important Sugars

    Don't confuse your cellular need for fuel from carbohydrates, your need to moderate your insulin response and your cellular need for Glyconutrients.

    Glyconutrients are sugars...yes...but they are different sugar molecules that your body uses to send and translate vital messages between individual cells and body systems.

    Glyconutrients...found in plant based foods travel from your GI tract to your body's cells along specific, individual bio-chemical pathways where they fuse to proteins inside the cell and become glycoprotein's. These types of glycoprotein's take up residence on the surface of each cell forming a dense 'forest' of tree-like structures that act as your cells communication system.

    Each of your body's cells is a single entity within a giant community of cells which comprise your body. Your cells actually need to 'talk' to each other to provide you with a healthy body. You need more than fuel to be truly healthy and to function correctly. read more about Glyconutrients...>>

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