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What You Need To Know About Insulin And Carbs

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What You Need To Know About Insulin And Carbs

Peak Zone Fitness offers optimum cardio and strength training to get you into shape and to stay there. But there’s more to working out than going to the best gym in Lake Highlands. Understanding what and how to eat is key to achieving your goals, whether that is slimming down or bulking up your physique, which brings us to a primer about the basics of metabolism.

Insulin is the hormone that drives glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells to give them energy. But insulin is more complicated than that. It’s also involved in building muscle. 

Two states of function
Your body has two states it fluctuates between – building muscle (anabolic) and breaking down muscle and fat (catabolic). Your body is always doing one or the other. Essentially, our bodies are always working towards getting smaller or larger.  

Insulin is anabolic
We need insulin to build muscle and stimulate muscle proteins. However, fat gain goes hand in hand with higher insulin levels. The higher the insulin level, the easier it is to gain fat. The challenge is to learn how to spike insulin to recover from workouts and grow muscle and how to minimize it to stay lean.  

The link between insulin and weight gain
When you produce insulin, glucose is able to enter your cells, and glucose levels in your blood drop. This is the overall goal. But if you take in more calories than you need, your blood will carry more glucose than the cells need. Glucose that your cells can’t use turns into fat.  

Four rules to building muscle and burning fat

1. Know the Glycemic Index of what you’re eating - The glycemic index of each food represents how fast it is converted into glucose in your blood stream and has the biggest effect on your insulin levels. Low glycemic index foods move slowly into the blood stream, keeping insulin levels more consistent. The best balance of insulin should be maintained by a steady flow of low glycemic index foods, as needed, based on your activity levels. Low-carb diets have been shown to reduce insulin levels in people with obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome, according to Healthline.com.

Common high glycemic-index and low glycemic-index foods:

Foods That Cause High Levels of Blood Sugar and Insulin (AVOID)
1. White rice
2. Corn muffin
3. Cliff Bar/granola bars
4. Granulated sugar and foods laden with sugar or corn syrup, including candy, doughnuts, cookies, pastries, soda, etc.
5. Potatos (except sweet potato)
6. Boiled carrots
7. Microwave popcorn
8. Anything with white flour, such as bread, bagels, pasta, and pretzels.
9. Cream of Wheat
10. Melons, mangoes, pineapple, parsnips, and pumpkin  

Foods that Keep Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels Stable (CONSUME)
1. Most fruits
2. Most beans and legumes
3. Most nuts
4. Most meats, poultry, and fish
5. Most raw vegetables, including raw carrots
6. Brown rice
7. Oatmeal
8. Sweet potato
9. Plain lowfat/nonfat yogurt or milk
10. Tofu

2. Know when to go high - If you're looking to lower body fat there are only two times per day when it’s OK to eat high glycemic index foods: breakfast (only when trying to gain weight) and within one hour of a workout.

3. Get help from protein - Whey protein will also spike your insulin, so taking a larger dose (usually double) after a workout will give your craving muscles a much-needed boost. Take the recommended serving size (usually 25-30 grams) at other times in the day to reach your protein count for the day. If you're feeling bloated, taking a Casein Protein plus a low glycemic index carb will do the same thing but at a slightly slower rate.

4. Portion control – Eating too much at one meal, a.k.a. stuffing yourself, can spike insulin and blood sugar levels. Eat moderately-sized meals with snacks in between in order to maintain healthy insulin and blood sugar levels.

REMEMBER, the ultimate weight loss tool is to manage calories in versus calories out throughout the day!

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