BLOOD SUGAR AND THE HIGH CARBOHVARATE DIET: TAMING INSULIN'S INTENSITY
Insulin, while performing lifesaving functions like leveling out blood sugar levels, does so by increasing the risk of heart and other diseases and by contributing to obesity. The normal concentration of blood sugar is from 80 to 120 milligrams of glucose for each 100 milliliters of blood.6
We understand that insulin is somehow associated with diabetes and that insulin's job is to bring down excessively high levels of blood sugar. Type II diabetics have either lost the ability to secrete enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in check or have developed a condition called insulin resistance, which essentially "locks" insulin out of target cells and keeps it circulating at high levels, a major risk factor in the development of cardiovascular and artery diseases. Insulin regulatory mechanisms break down from weak genetics, obesity, or from the overuse of blood sugar homeostatic mechanisms (eating too much sugar!). Stress also plays a role in increased insulin resistance.
'When I get annoyed about something I go after the largest carbonated drink I can find!"
The role insulin plays in the body, however, is much more diverse and powerful than bringing blood sugar levels under control. As one textbook terms it, "The major function of insulin is to promote storage of ingested nutrients." As a storage hormone, it has an impact on virtually every tissue in the body. Insulin's primary targets are the liver, muscles, and adipose (fat) tissue. Insulin first pulls sugars out of the bloodstream and deposits them in the liver as glycogen, then in the muscle as glycogen, and finally converts it into triglycerides for storage in fat tissue. Insulin hormone "builds" fat.
Insulin increases the synthesis of several types of fat/protein and fat/sugar complexes, such as triglycerides, cholesterol, and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), which aid in the building of muscle tissue and deliver glucose to those muscle cells for energy. LPL (lipoprotein lipase) is an enzyme that actually pulls triglycerides into fat cells for storage; insulin increases both the production and the action of LPL and inhibits those same fat cells from converting back into blood glucose.
Just keep two facts in mind as we continue this discussion: Insulin promotes fat storage, and excess carbohydrates stimulate insulin.