Low-fat Diets and Increased Insulin

The low-fat diet, that has been recommended to us over the past several decades, is very likely making us fatter and causing disease. While dietary fat intake has declined over the years in the US, total calorie intake has risen and as a result, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has grown dramatically.

 

            When consuming a low-fat diet you end up substituting other sources of calories for the lost fat calories.  Most protein sources tend to come with fat, such as meat and dairy products.  So most likely, the source of the replacement calories will be carbohydrates.  Low fat diets tend to lead to high carb diets; here is where the risks starts to increase. Calories from dietary fat satisfies the appetite longer than a comparable number of carbohydrate calories.  A high carb diet often makes one more hungry throughout the day and therefore more calories are consumed which leads to a gradual but steady weight gain. Why does this happen?

            Every cell in the body requires energy to perform its functions. The body’s primary fuel is glucose, sugar in your blood. After you eat, the level of sugar in the blood rises. How fast it rises and how high it will go depends on how much and what kind of carbohydrate is in the food you eat.  In response, the hormone insulin is produced to tell your cells to transfer the sugar from the blood into the cells for storage and the production of energy. Therefore, a diet of refined carbohydrate and sugar-laden products causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels in the body. Over time, the body’s cells’ response to insulin becomes impaired and so your body reacts by “pushing even harder on the pedal” and producing more insulin to overcome the resistance.  With insulin resistance, the circulating insulin levels are elevated. 

            The remedy to this dilemma is to cut out sugar and refined carbs and eat a diet that consists of properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole foods and making sure to add in healthy fats.

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