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Thread: Glucose in the bloodstream causes insulin to spike. But what about fat? page

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    econ's Avatar
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    Glucose in the bloodstream causes insulin to spike. But what about fat?

    Primal Fuel
    After reading this article and watching this video, I now have a better sense of how eating excessive carbs can lead to body fat. When glucose is in the bloodstream, our pancreas secretes insulin so that our cells can use glycogen as fuel. But our muscle and liver cells can only hold a relatively small amount of glycogen, so excess amounts are stored in the fat cells. The cells feed off of this glycogen before using fat as energy. With a high carb diet and limited exercise, the body will spend a lot of time burning glycogen and storing fat. Also, the body can become insulin resistant and lead to various other problems.

    But what happens when someone eats fat (or protein for that matter)? What is the underlying endocrinology? As Mark says in the article:
    Specialized beta cells in your pancreas sense the abundance of glucose in the bloodstream after a meal and secrete insulin, a peptide hormone whose job it is to allow glucose (and fats and amino acids) to gain access to the interior of muscle and liver cells.
    Does the body require less insulin to allow fat into the liver and muscle cells? Or is something else going on here?
    Last edited by econ; 08-11-2013 at 04:07 AM.

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    Black Timber's Avatar
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    From an earlier post:

    From Carnivore Health:

    "An enzyme called ASP (Acylation Stimulating Protein). This little jewel has the ability to directly store fat in the fat cells completely bypassing the glucose and insulin pathways.

    If you do the math, it looks like our bodies are in a constant state of flux, consuming, storing and using energy.
    Some of you may die, but that is a risk I'm willing to take.

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    econ's Avatar
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    Haha, yeah, that's the article I have linked in my original post. That article helps me understand how the body reacts to carbs in the system / glucose in the blood (by causing insulin to spike and storing glycogen in the cells). What it doesn't explain is what happens when you ingest fat (or even protein) without many cabs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    Haha, yeah, that's the article I have linked in my original post.
    Sorry 'bout that! Your topic is very difficult to explain. I don't have a good grasp, and not many do, it seems, from google-ing around for a while. Apparently, when you eat protein, your body senses certain amino acids and releases insulin in an attempt to store the amino acids and nutrients in the food you just ate. If this, in turn, causes blood sugar to drop, the liver releases glucagon to drive it up. It's a tightly regulated system. When you eat just fat, there is nothing that causes a stimulation of the pancreas to release insulin.

    The thinking in your original post is a bit flawed, I believe, when you say:

    I now have a better sense of how eating excessive carbs can lead to body fat.
    Eating excessive ANYTHING can lead to body fat. Every time you eat anything, whatever is not needed immediately for energy is stored somehow. If your liver and muscles are low on glycogen, they get filled. What is left goes to fat. All this being done while regulating blood sugar in a narrow band. As stated by Peter at Hyperlipid Hyperlipid :

    Overload is the utterly normal response to eating any meal. ANY meal. As soon as the rate of calorie absorption exceeds the post prandial metabolic requirement, we need to store the excess calories. The development of individual cell insulin resistance is utterly normal under these conditions. Blood glucose, blood lipids and blood insulin rise. Fat is diverted to adipocytes. Glucose is diverted to glycogen stores.
    Eating a ketogenic diet does not guarantee no fat accumulation, it does however, guarantee insulin resistance out of necessity. A ketogenic diet usually leads to long-term energy imbalance resulting in weight stability, but if the user isn't careful and cheats quite a bit, the results can be disastrous in terms of weight gain and health markers like cholesterol and triglycerides. I'm pretty sure that this is the main reason low-carbing gets such a bad rap. Eat 'Atkins' for a couple months and lose a lot of weight, then start splurging on Pizza Hut and Krispy Kremes and the weight will come back in spades.

    If one wanted to successfully pull off a very low carb/ketogenic diet, they would have to do it forever, strictly. To break the cycle without crashing, you'd have to slowly reintroduce carbs and rebalance your energy equations. I'm sure it can be done, but the casual dieter usually lacks knowledge and desire to control their eating and enters a vicious yo-yo cycle.

    As to the exact physiology of protein causing an insulin spike, I think you could study that one for years and still not be able to fully explain it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    If one wanted to successfully pull off a very low carb/ketogenic diet, they would have to do it forever, strictly. To break the cycle without crashing, you'd have to slowly reintroduce carbs and rebalance your energy equations. I'm sure it can be done, but the casual dieter usually lacks knowledge and desire to control their eating and enters a vicious yo-yo cycle.
    This is the problem with all weight loss diets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKatherine View Post
    This is the problem with all weight loss diets.
    Which is why I love forums like this one. Without putting any thought into it, it is nearly impossible to lose weight that will remain off. reading about others experiences and asking questions helped me immensely. I was one of the '80s Atkins failures, when you were low-carbing and losing you were on top of the world, but when the weight came back plus 10, you felt like the biggest idiot on the planet for not believing people who said it would happen.

    I think the general public is just so uninformed about healthy eating it makes it impossible for most people to do the right thing. Even though we argue a lot on this forum, we are lightyears ahead of the general population.

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    econ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    Sorry 'bout that! Your topic is very difficult to explain. I don't have a good grasp, and not many do, it seems, from google-ing around for a while.
    Haha, no problem. Thanks for the in depth reply.

    And I agree, it does seem difficult to understand. I've been trying to wrap my head around it for a few days, but haven't found too many resources that explain what is actually going on.

    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    Eating excessive ANYTHING can lead to body fat. Every time you eat anything, whatever is not needed immediately for energy is stored somehow. If your liver and muscles are low on glycogen, they get filled. What is left goes to fat. All this being done while regulating blood sugar in a narrow band.
    Can fat also be converted to glycogen then? Or does fat get converted into something else that the liver and muscle cells can burn for fuel?

    I've been listening to a lot of interviews with Gary Taubes lately. And he explains the endocrinology behind how eating carbs causes your fat cells to get bigger. It's the same explanation from the article you linked to from Mark, about how the effects of insulin spikes and insulin resistance can ultimately lead to weight gain. But I haven't heard him explain what happens on an endocrinology level when fat enters the system. Not being able to compare the two situations is tough when you're trying to understand why eating fat might be more healthy than eating carbs haha.

    It's also interesting because Taubes doesn't seem to think that eating excess calories will necessarily make someone fat (or vice versa). Now, I'm not necessarily saying that he's right, but I do find many of his arguments and data convincing.
    Last edited by econ; 08-12-2013 at 01:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by econ View Post
    It's also interesting because Taubes doesn't seem to think that eating excess calories will necessarily make someone fat (or vice versa). Now, I'm not necessarily saying that he's right, but I do find many of his arguments and data convincing.
    A major problem in nutrition is short timelines. We tend to agonize over the energy content in 1 meal or 1 day, or read experiments done over 14 days and draw all sorts of conclusions. The truth is that the vast majority of people live in energy equilibrium--occasional feasts balanced by short fasts or bursts of activity. Incidentally the populations with the most stable weight tend to the be the ones with the least access to calorie counts, labels, and dietary advice.

    As I understand it Taubes' main point is that the adipose layer is not a passive dumping ground for stray calories but an organ no less active or reactive than the heart and lungs. Like other organs, it only become abnormally large in the presence of some unnatural influence and--judging from healthy pre-industrial populations--that stimulus is unlikely to be unrefined fats.
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    I'm pretty sure that excess fat gets stored as fat directly, or incorporated into cell walls during reconstruction. Excess fat may not be as harmful as excess protein and carbs as it causes some other mechanisms to come into play, but that's just my bro-science.

    I think the best thing a person can do is to eat and live in a way that promotes insulin sensitivity, then all the other endocronological magic happens all by itself.

    Eat sugar and starch in appropriate doses for your activity level and metabolism; don't snack; don't drink sugary drinks; exercise; sleep; get your vit D level up to around 40 with sunlight and/or supplements.

    What did I miss? Anybody?

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