How Do Insulin Spikes Cause Weight Gain

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Man with excess fat on the stomach region

Man with excess fat on the stomach region

A lot has been written in the news lately about insulin spikes – including why they might be good and why they can be bad. But, the fact is that the average person may not even understand what insulin spikes are, let alone whether it’s good or bad for them.

What are Insulin Spikes?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetics require insulin shots because their pancreas either doesn’t make insulin, or doesn’t make enough to supply their bodies’ needs.

Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels stable by making the body use or store the blood sugar. It essentially drives all that blood sugar into your cells.

An insulin spike occurs when your body secretes a lot of insulin in a short period of time as the result in a spike in blood sugar.

The problem with insulin spikes are that they force your body into using that blood sugar. If you have more blood sugar than you really need to feed your cells, it gets stored as fat. In fact, the body can only store fat when insulin is present. So, people who are trying to lose weight should avoid insulin spikes.

The one time that insulin spikes can be good is for those who are bodybuilding. Many weight lifters intentionally eat foods that will cause an insulin spike right after a workout, so that their muscles get fed quickly.

How To Avoid Insulin Spikes

Apples and natural foods that can help prevent insulin spikes

Apples and natural foods that can help prevent insulin spikes

You can easily avoid insulin spikes by eating foods that elevate your blood sugar more slowly. Whole grains, vegetables that are low in sugar, like broccoli, leafy greens, green beans and spinach are good choices, as are protein foods like meats.

Even fat is a good choice because it is released into the blood stream more slowly and it keeps you feeling full. Just be sure to choose healthy fats like those in olive oils and lean meats, rather than saturated fats like butter and cream.

When you avoid insulin spikes, you not only avoid storing fat, but you also avoid that “sugar high” feeling that always leaves you feeling tired when it ends. You also avoid hunger for longer when you primarily eat foods that elevate the blood sugar more slowly.

Foods That Can Cause Large Insulin Spikes

Sweet popcorn are foods that can cause insulin spikes

Sweet popcorn are foods that can cause insulin spikes

Simple carbohydrates, like sugar and white flour cause a quick rise in blood sugar, which initiates an insulin spike.

That is why so many people notice that they gain weight easily when they don’t watch how much sugar they eat, and why so many people can lose weight simply by avoiding bread and sugar.

Even fruits, however can cause insulin spikes. Fruits that are especially high in fructose, like bananas, papayas and mangos are especially likely to cause an insulin spike. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to stick with fruits that are lower in sugar, like apples, grapefruit and berries.

Switching to whole grains is important, too. Just swapping out your regular white bread for 100% whole grain breads can make a big difference in your insulin spikes throughout the day.

Avoiding insulin spikes is a great way to help give your weight loss diet an extra boost. Many people find that they can eat the same number of calories, yet lose weight faster and easier simply by choosing their foods from those that don’t cause insulin spikes.

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