Fat burning= moderate insulin release + higher glucagon release + healthy cortisol release.
This may look like a confusing algebraic equation at the moment but let me try to explain each variable to you the best I can. In order to tap into our fat burning zone there are a few hormones that play significant roles in our body. So here it goes, Fat burning =
Moderate insulin release
Insulin takes the nutrients from the food you have digested and delivers them to your cells for energy. After a meal, insulin is released into your blood stream to gather the nutrients from the food. So when we consume “bad carbs”, our insulin goes into overdrive trying to gather all the nutrients to give to the cells for energy. When that energy is not being expended or “burned”, the energy gets stored away in your body. When this process of high blood sugar and insulin overdrive is constantly going on in the body, your body picks up the trend and becomes insulin resistant. This means your body adapts to your diet habits and loses the ability to sense the release of insulin. That insulin release is trying to convert the foods into energy but your body has learned to ignore those signals. The receptor sites for insulin are limited so the signal to produce energy is ignored leaving sugar in your blood stream instead of being converted to use as energy. It probably seems to you that insulin is the cause to all your weight problems, but it’s not. Without insulin our bodies would waste away from the restriction of nutrients getting into our cells. That is why people with Type 1 diabetes need insulin injections because their bodies cannot produce insulin. It is all about balance, hence the first part of the equation: moderate insulin release. We need to control our insulin response by eating the right foods.
+ Higher glucagon release
To put things in simple terms: High blood sugar (bad carbs) will create a high insulin response, high insulin response will create a loss of insulin sensitivity and the energy will be stored and not used, when the energy is stored you are not burning fat for fuel. So now let’s talk about the hormone Glucagon. Glucagon pulls the stored nutrients from your fat storages to use for fuel. In order to lose body fat, glucagon signals glucose and fat to be removed from your storages and be converted to energy. Glucagon and insulin are regulatory hormones that fight to be the dominant hormone. When insulin is the dominant hormone, nutrients are stored away in your body. When glucagon is dominant, stored nutrients (fat) are burned as fuel, resulting in fat loss. The object of this game is to make glucagon the dominant hormone, creating a higher glucagon release. How do we do this? We eat a diet high in dense animal proteins, we exercise and we regulate our blood sugar.
+ Healthy cortisol release
Last piece of the equation is regulating the release of cortisol. Cortisol is another hormone that effects sugar regulation. When your blood sugar levels are unstable, cortisol levels become high. This means when blood sugar is high, it causes high insulin release which then causes high cortisol release. Not only does diet play a role in cortisol levels but so does stress. Unfortunately, we cannot always control our busy life styles and prevent the production of cortisol from stress but we can control it with our diet. So if we are keeping our insulin and blood sugar levels stable, we can keep the cortisol levels quiet.
Now that I have given you the equation with the explanation you are probably thinking okay what’s the difference between a bad carb and good carb?
Bad carb: Does not provide the body with nutrients, often referred to as “empty calories”, these include foods like candy, popcorn, breads, and pastries. They are refined and factory made (usually packaged).
Good carb: Easily digestible, bio-available nutrients that make the food easy to metabolize. Foods such as fruits, veggies, meats, nuts or anything that is available from nature as whole foods.
Hopefully you were able to take away a little knowledge on the importance of hormone regulation and the affect it has on our body. It’s not just about calories in, calories out, it is about the way our bodies use the nutrients we provide it with. If we provide our body with nutrient dense foods, we won’t only improve our bodies physically but it will improve our overall health.