First a little background: I was re-reading one of Mark's posts on exercise and inflammation the other day:
The Relationship Between Exercise and Inflammation (and What It Means for Your Workouts) | Mark's Daily Apple
After just now reading what you wrote, something clicked in my head and made me wonder if things aren't analogous as it relate to carbs/blood glucose/insulin.Track your training. Plotted on a graph, the inflammatory responses to your training should resemble a series of peaks, dips, and valleys. If you don’t let your last exercise-induced inflammatory spike recede before exercising again, you’ll only heap more on the pile. If you keep stringing together spikes in inflammation without recovering from the previous one, they start to overlap and that starts to look a lot like chronic inflammation. That gives you a plateau, a mesa of inflammation. Avoid the mesa.
Perhaps the key is avoiding the "long sustained" mesas of insulin levels and not worrying as much about the occasional short, steep "peaks" of insulin levels. This mindset would be supported by many people finding success with a "carb re-feed" approach. I've also read that in certain circumstances brief Insulin spikes for a metabolically healthy person are anabolic and are almost necessary in order to grow muscle. So, going even a step further, not only is it not worth worrying about the occasional brief Insulin spike, it may be something that's beneficial.
Just as Mark advocates making the exercise you do a few bouts of "short, but instense" and then everything else low level staying out of the "Chronic Cardio" zone under PBF...for a metabolically healthy person, that sort of pattern for Insulin levels is the way to go as well. A few "short, but intense" sessions of raised Insulin (like one would experience with a carb re-feed) and then everything else geared towards keeping Insulin at a "low level" and avoiding a long sustained periods of continuously elevated "mesas" of Insulin level. That is, staying out of the Insulin level equivalent to "Chronic Cardio -- such as what happens when we follow a CW/SAD: 1) when we snack 2) when we eat "6 small meals a day to keep our metabolism up" 3) when we eat low-fat, which basically means (in context of everything else) we must eat higher, sustained levels of carbohydrates...and the list goes on and on.
On the other side, if we look at ways which would promote more "brief but intense" Insulin levels followed by longer periods of low-level Insulin levels, looking at it in this way supports concepts such as:
-carb re-feeds (already mentioned)
-IF (eating the same amount of food in a shorter eating window sounds pretty "spiky" to me)
-carb/protein/calorie cycling...although this is more analogous to Mark's recommendation in PBF that one not fall into a "set" workout routine...life is fractal, mix things up.
I hope that makes sense, because reading your post was a huge light bulb turning on for me. I'm curious if this mindset makes sense to anyone else...