To Store or Not to Store – That Is The Question in Fat WarsYou can blame your ever-expanding number of fat cells for weight gain if you wish, but the fact remains that you are the one responsible for sending continual lipogenic (fat storage) messages throughout your system. Every time you skip a meal, embark on a starvation diet, eat too many of the wrong carbs, don’t consume enough protein or not enough of the good fats, lose sleep or become overly stressed, you create an enhanced fat storage environment through the control of lipogenic (fat storing) hormones and enzymes.
We have evolved through thousands of years of feast-and-famine cycles with an incredible ability to store fat within our 30 billion fat cells. The hormone insulin initially carries out the message of fat storage. Insulin works its fat-storing magic by blocking the release of fat as a fuel source. It does this by inhibiting the intracellular lipase enzyme responsible for breaking apart triglycerides and releasing their fatty acids, and second by stimulating the activity of the most powerful fat storage enzyme in the body – lipoprotein lipase (LPL), also referred to as the “gatekeeper of fat-storage.”
Insulin is the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” of metabolism. On the positive side, insulin performs functions necessary for life, including the deposit of sugar (glycogen) into your muscle so that you have an ample source of energy. In addition, insulin promotes the synthesis of proteins for building enzymes, hormones and muscle. But there is also a negative side to insulin; when it’s produced in excess, insulin plays a major role in the prevalence of obesity (not to mention cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes and premature aging).
The pancreas secretes insulin every time you eat, but it is especially sensitive to dietary carbohydrates; and the more carbohydrates you eat at one time – especially the refined kinds (processed foods) – the greater the amount of insulin is needed to clear sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin clears excess sugar by binding to specialized receptor proteins that live within the cells. Each cell has approximately 20,000 of these receptors, and once insulin is “docked” to its receptor, the cells doors open (metaphorically speaking), allowing glucose to enter.
Unfortunately, these insulin receptors don’t always work as they should, especially if we call on insulin too frequently by constantly consuming the wrong carbs. Also, the older we get, the more muscle we lose and the fatter we become. As this transformation takes place – and our bodies shift southward, so to speak – the number of insulin receptors decreases and target tissues (i.e. muscle) become less sensitive to insulin. Insulin insensitivity is also referred to as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is therefore due in part to excess insulin levels that eventually lead to a reduced number of insulin receptors.
Many researchers believe that insulin resistance often develops as we age because of a built-in safeguard that diverts insulin from body tissues in order to feed the brain. Your brain is a virtual “sugar hog,” as it uses more than half of the circulating sugars to run its intricate biochemistry. Unlike other organs of the body, the brain does not require insulin to ensure its constant sugar needs.
To compensate for chronically high insulin levels, the tissues of the body can be made insulin-resistant. This is because high levels of circulating insulin inhibit the release of another important (and brain-feeding) hormone called glucagon. Just as dietary carbohydrates are the main stimuli for insulin secretion, dietary proteins are the main stimuli for glucagon secretion. If there is insufficient protein in your diet, the body will elevate blood sugar by creating, of all things, stress!
In a low blood sugar environment, cortisol (which is one of the body’s most powerful stress hormones) can be stimulated to help manufacture more glucose. One of the ways it accomplishes this is by breaking down protein from existing body structures (mostly muscle, skin and organ tissue) in a process called gluconeogenesis. Cortisol also assists the brain by blocking the amount of glucose used by other cells, thus causing further insulin resistance in the body.
Here are five easy points for keeping insulin in check and stimulating the burning of fat:
- Eliminate all processed foods (including sucrose, white flour and corn meal-based products) from your diet and increase your consumption of fibrous foods—especially vegetables (good carbs). For added benefit, it is advisable to take one scoop of FibreLean™ with a protein shake and/or approximately 15 minutes before meals.
- Consume protein with every meal, in order to support lean tissue growth and stimulate the release of glucagon.
- Never skip a meal. Imbalances in blood sugar chemistry can cause major fluctuations in insulin levels.
- Reduce stress. Stress can easily increase cortisol levels.
- Perform resistance exercise. According to myriad research, weight training has been shown togreatly improve insulin sensitivity. In fact, a number of papers suggest that resistance training is actually better than aerobic training when it comes to improving insulin resistance. When you actively exercise a muscle, you allow that muscle to take in up to 30 times more blood sugar than at rest — all without the help of insulin.
Instead of allowing your body to send constant fat-storing messages to your fat cells, you can learn to turn those messages into fat-burning ones by following the suggestions above.
Author: Brad J King
I interviewed Brad on my talk radio show. Listen to my interview of Brad King.
A Canadian-based nutritional researcher, fitness expert and performance nutritionist who holds a masters in nutritional science, and is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association as a master of fitness science and specialist in performance nutrition. Brad is the author of the International best-selling 'Fat Wars: 45 Days to Transform Your Body, 'Bio-Age: 10 Steps to a Younger You', and the newly released 'Fat Wars Action Planner'.
visit Brad's website www.Fatwars.com
[Rob's Note:] I will testify that reading Fat wars was a turning point in my life. I still remember the day, what I read, and how I began to apply it to my program. Get the book!