R7D17 – Insulin: Don’t Kill The Messenger

Yesterday’s post was a bit of a dog’s breakfast but it got me thinking as I re-read it this morning. I really needed to find out what exactly insulin does and why it has been outed as a bad guy in the whole weight control thing. You see, most people I talk to don’t know about this at all, in fact I would say that 90% of people you talk to couldn’t tell you what insulin is or does. All people “know” is that diabetics have to take insulin to “control” their blood sugar and if someone falls down you give them a cookie. Unless you are in University and then if someone falls down you give them another beer. But what are the mechanisms, simply stated, that insulin is responsible for?

I think it’s important to state what Wikipedia says in the very first sentence of the definition:
Insulin is a hormone central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body”

Notice the lack of reference to protein, that’s because protein has no effect on insulin and the central reason that high protein, low carb diets are effective in treatment of metabolic disorders. The other critical piece to understanding what a benefit insulin is to us is the fact that it is a major player in the anabolic uptake of nutrients. This makes it the bodybuilder and athlete’s best friend since it is responsible to repairing tissues and building muscle through the uptake of amino acids. Understanding the method is not as critical as understanding the basic responsibility of insulin. It is not an enemy whose only job is to store body fat, in fact, it is a critical hormone in the protection, maintenance and building of muscles and health cells in the body.

This helps to explain a little what I was trying to explain yesterday. Insulin increases when you eat and when you exercise. The reason for this is so that it can transport food you eat to the body systems that need the nutrition but also to help your body absorb nutrients it needs after depleting it’s stores during exercise. After meals and after workouts is exactly when you need the most help in moving food calories into the body’s system.

I’ll stop there since I am about to get lost on another tangent.

The workout last night was short and brutal, I managed to squeeze in Pure Cardio for the first time in a long time and remembered why I loved that workout so much. You know exactly how much time is left in the workout and can push yourself hard enough to be completely exhausted when you finish. Kudos to ShaunT, this was one of his best workouts.

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