Fat Storage & Insulin - Why You Can't Lose Weight

Fat Storage & Insulin - Why You Can't Lose Weight

Losing weight may not be as straightforward as we thought.

In recent posts, we discussed the basic principle of calories used > calories consumed for weight loss and control. If you eat more than you use up, then the result is fat storage and weight gain. While this is an accurate description of the general process, it does little to help us understand how to solve our uniquely individual problem. If I said to you, I have a friend who is very wealthy and the secret to his success was that he spent less money than he earned, you would still have no idea how my friend actually achieved his riches. What we really need is to examine the individual biology, metabolism, and systemic function that results in fat storage, and thus weight gain. It is patently simplistic to say that someone is overweight because they eat more than they should.

If we can understand why a body has a problem regulating fat storage, then we can remedy it.

The human body is a complex chemical system, and there are many reasons why it might store more fat than it should. Despite the variables, at the center of the issue is likely insulin -- the hormone involved in regulation of fat storage and metabolism. The more insulin in your blood stream, the more fat gets stored.

So why is insulin causing fat storage problems?

How much insulin is present in our blood is primarily dependent on the amount of carbohydrates we consume in relation to the amount of fat. The more carbs, the less fat, the more insulin, and the more fat we then store. The problem really arose during the mid 20th century when nutritional scientists declared that fat was the root cause of weight gain, and as a result carbs (which had previously been the culprit) became the new core of the modern diet. The truth may be counter-intuitive, but the reality is that the more fat versus carbohydrates, the less fat gets stored (according to our current understanding.)

Now add to this, the fact that the type of carbohydrate also plays a role. There are "good" carbs (complex, low-glycemic) and "bad" carbs (simple, high-glycemic.) High consumption of "bad" carbs like refined carbs and sugars leads to high levels of insulin in the blood, which then causes insulin resistance, where you must now produce more insulin to handle the carbohydrates you're consuming. This spiraling higher insulin cycle has become an epidemic in the west and is at the heart of type 2 diabetes and in obesity (although there are some who still do not accept this hard truth.)

It is important to punctuate that it is not just the carbohydrate's fault. Complex carbs are slower to digest and do not cause the immediate spike in insulin release. The criminal in this case is the refined, high-glycemic carbohydrate -- bread, pasta, rice, cookies, pastries, refined grains, sugary foods, and so on. If you pay attention, you will find that these bad carbs are ubiquitous, and likely comprise a large percentage of the western daily diet. When food is in its natural form it is wrapped in a complex of other nutrients and fiber that all assist in the gift of healthy energy. When you strip the carb of its shell, so to speak, you create a response in the body that is unbalanced.

What we do know now is that cultures that consume high-carb diets and do not have high rates of obesity, diabetes, and other such diseases, are always relatively low consumers of sugar. Consider the Asian diet. It is historically high in rice intake, but very low in obesity and diabetes. This is because they eat very little refined sugar. It's all about insulin balance.

So then what does this mean to diet, exercise and weight loss?

Instead of looking at how much you eat, or how much you exercise, you need to look at how your body responds to what you eat. You may not need to eat less calories. You may not need to run more miles. Most likely, you just need to make better food choices. That's the big secret! It was never a secret before, but it somehow became one.

The solution is quite simple. Choose leaner proteins, fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, and whole, fiber-rich grains like quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, etc. Stay away from refined and processed foods like white bread, white rice, pasta, cakes, cookies, chips, and all the other high-glycemic foods, and you are exactly on track for a healthy, well-regulated, fat-burning slim you. Basically think of it as hamburger, no bun, no fries. Check this post for a list of low-glycemic foods.

Of course it still matters that you have self-control, and that you exercise regularly. Overall balance is always fundamental. But what really makes the difference is keeping good metabolism and hormone regulation through smarter choices. Once you get your body adjusted to a healthier diet, you will start to see unwanted weight melt away, as well as any unwanted health issues. In the meantime, it may help to employ a high quality fat-burning supplement to get your body into that mode as quickly and regularly as possible.

Related Posts:  
Easier Weight Loss - Tips for Losing Weight Without Struggling 
How Guggul Can Help You Stay Trim
Fastest Ways to Lose Belly Fat
Calorie Restriction is a Gulp from the Fountain of Youth 

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The opinions expressed in this article are of the author. Content and other information presented on the site are not meant to be medical advice or any substitute for professional advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider.


    • Avatar
      Terry Hansen
      Nov 12, 2014

      Thanks for the useful information. I always thought fat was my enemy. I have been struggling with weight loss for a while now and this may be what I was missing, because so far nothing has worked. I am going to try this approach.

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