First of all, let’s discuss exactly what insulin is and its function in our bodies. Insulin is a hormone which is manufactured and released into our bloodstream by the pancreas. When we eat, our food is broken down into the following nutrients which then enter our bloodstream: –
- Protein to amino acids
- Dietary fats to fatty acids
- Carbohydrates to glucose
When we eat, the pancreas releases insulin which directs the nutrients from the bloodstream to muscle and fat cells. As the nutrients are absorbed by the cells, so our insulin levels drop back to normal.
When it comes to burning fat, our problems are found in the carbs we eat which are converted to glucose. Its our carb intake which is mostly responsible for our blood sugar fluctuations. When we release insulin after eating, it stops our bodies from burning fat for fuel and our bodies start to store the food, mainly as fat. Many diets, including the Atkins Diet, believe that by reducing our carb intake, we increase fat burning and decrease fat storage.
There is much debate on this subject and many health gurus don’t believe that carbs and insulin are the cause of laying down fat or preventing fat from being burnt. They believe that the inability to lose weight is simply due to overeating: we eat too much for the energy we expend, so that excess food is stored as fat. Other health professionals believe that by eating a diet which contains good protein and carbs will lessen insulin spikes, increase glucagon and encourage lower fat storage. The jury is still out.