Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas and is most commonly associated in discussions about diabetes. We produce insulin whenever we eat sugar or carbohydrates that can be converted into sugar. Its main function is to move nutrients, predominantly sugar, out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it can be used for energy.
I like to explain insulin’s role as the one who puts all your groceries away in the kitchen cabinets and closes all the doors. That is how I view the function of insulin – it takes what we eat and moves it into the cells and out of the bloodstream. Once in the cells, the nutrients can be used for our needs.
The kitchen cabinet analogy comes from the fact that insulin is a storage hormone, more concerned with cleaning up the counters and getting the groceries out of sight. It wants to keep them stored and not let them out. I love this description!
This is very important with respect to fat because insulin activates a hormone called lipoprotein lipase that basically keeps your fat stored. Therefore, high insulin levels make it difficult for you to burn your fat. Insulin does a couple of other important (but not so good for you) things. It stimulates appetite. Since insulin secretion peaks about two hours after we eat, we just get hungry again if we ate a predominantly carbohydrate meal.
Many people find themselves constantly hungry because they go through their day eating carbohydrates and simple sugars and therefore are constantly stimulating insulin which keeps their appetite working all the time.
The other not-so-great action of insulin is to retain salt and therefore fluid. Insulin stimulates the kidneys to retain sodium. Along with the sodium, fluid is retained. This is one of the main reasons why obese people are also hypertensive.
So you see, if you eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates, you will be producing more insulin which will cause you to:
- Store more of your nutrients as fat
- Become hungry sooner
- Retain salt and water
Following the PVC diet plan will not over-stimulate our body’s production of insulin. Our goal has to be to drive those insulin levels down. Then you can release the fat stores and burn the calories.