Tuesday tip: Insulin causes fat gain? 🤔
You often hear people talk about insulin being “spiked” by carbs and that insulin is putting your body into fat storage mode and therefore causing fat gain. Insulin helps to move nutrients out of the bloodstream into cells, where they are either used for energy or stored. The argument is that because insulin causes an increase in lipogenesis (fat storage) and a decrease in lipolysis (fat breakdown) that it must be responsible for putting on fat. The argument then continues that as carbs cause insulin to be released, they will cause fat gain, and therefore high carb diet will result in fat gain. The reasoning then follows that a low carb diet is necessary for fat loss because then insulin levels will be kept low.
Fat gain can only occur if the rate of lipogenesis is greater than lipolysis. In healthy individuals insulin only increases in response to food. So after you eat lipogenesis will increase and lipolysis (fat breakdown/burning) will be reduced, and fat storage may take place. However when those levels of insulin drop fat burning will resume. If you’re in a calorie deficit and expend more calories than you consume, then when insulin levels drop (between meals and overnight) fat burning will be greater than fat storage and you will lose fat. This happens no matter WHAT you eat – even if you ONLY ate carbs.
Equally if you’re not losing fat then that means you’re in calorie surplus. Total calories consumed are what determines fat loss or gain, not insulin levels. Even when insulin levels are low you can still enter lipogenesis (fat storage) due to an enzyme called acylation stimulating protein. This is why there are no studies showing significant differences in fat loss of low carb compared to other diets when calorie levels are controlled. In fact studies have shown that even with high carb diets, when insulin levels are therefore greater, there is still fat loss if there is a calorie deficit.
Going low carb isn’t a sustainable or healthy way to lose weight; healthy balanced meals are the way to go. You don’t need low carb diets, if you’re truly in a calorie deficit you will lose fat.
Happy Tuesday 🤗