Blast Off: Highs and lows of insulin

Along with diet and exercise, hormones play a huge role in our body’s composition.

Along with diet and exercise, hormones play a huge role in our body’s composition. Ever wonder why no matter what you do, you can’t seem to lose that abdomen bulge or those extra few pounds around your hips? The likely culprits are your hormones; or more specifically, a possible hormonal imbalance. Some hormones promote weight loss, whereas others promote fat storage. Knowing what causes the release of certain hormones can help you understand why your body sometimes reacts the way it does. Let’s take a closer look at insulin, a hormone that is released by your pancreas in response to the amount of sugar in your blood.

In simple terms, your body releases the hormone insulin in order to absorb the sugar from carbohydrates that are in your bloodstream into your cells; insulin is the key that unlocks the door to your cells and, without it, the nutrients in your blood would go to waste.

Basically, all carbohydrates eventually turn into glucose, or sugar, in your bloodstream, but some do this more quickly than others. The slower this transformation happens, the better; not all carbohydrates are created equal! Complex carbohydrates such as veggies, whole grains and fruit all contain fibre. Eating fibre helps slow the digestion process, which also helps create a slow release of insulin. Eating sugary or processed carbohydrates, such as cookies and white bread, causes a quick spike in insulin release because they contain no fibrew, and since what goes up must come down, we experience a “crash” that leaves us reaching for that doughnut a couple hours later.

Ever get cranky, shaky or irritable a few hours after a sugary snack? That is your body coming down from the spike of insulin and your instincts are telling you to “fuel up” by grabbing something quick, only for the cycle to repeat itself again. This cycle is what leads to weight gain and undesired fat storage around the waist and hips.

You may be wondering how to avoid this from happening? There is a solution! By focusing mainly on complex carbohydrates and lean sources of protein, you can enjoy satiety for a much longer period of time. Think of your body as a furnace: you start by creating a fire (eating breakfast), but if you stop adding firewood (healthy meals and snacks) that fire will slowly burn out, leaving you reaching for that convenient bag of greasy chips. Help yourself curb these cravings by always having healthy snack options available, such as an apple and a slice of cheese or some almond butter on 100 per cent whole grain toast. By eating every three to four hours, you’ll be so satisfied from nutritious foods that you won’t ever feel the need for a quick sugar fix that will cause an unpleasant insulin spike and crash.

Adequate exercise and proper fuel are vital in maintaining a healthy body weight. Need help getting started?  Fitness 4 Life’s certified personal trainers can help you get on the right track. Call Kate at (250) 688- 0221 or Hayley at (250) 688-0024 for a free consult and fitness