Is Snacking Feeding Your Insulin Levels – and Leaving You With the Weight?
by James Haley, MD FACOG, FPMRS
As a physician and fitness enthusiast, I’ve read a plethora of articles, books, and journals on weight loss. My patients continually tell me their struggles with dieting, lamenting that the weight always returns, usually along with a few extra pounds. Personally, I can relate. It’s not a dilemma exclusive to women. Men struggle, too. As you age, you just can’t eat like you used to – even if you exercise regularly.
After reading numerous books and trying different diets myself, I finally discovered an author who not only pinpoints the problem of obesity, but also the answer to those last ten pounds.
In his book, ‘The Obesity Code’, Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist, states that the real culprit of weight gain isn’t overeating. It’s excessive insulin. He is emphatic that many of his patients would need less medical intervention if they lost weight. Since most of his patients are Type 2 Diabetics, a disease associated with too much insulin, he has been able to determine the common link – SNACKING.
In the past few decades, the number of times we eat daily has increased. People have gone from eating three meals a day to about six, counting snacks. Go on, admit it. It’s what you do – what I’ve done. it’s a cycle, and it makes sense once you understand the reason why. Every time you eat, you stimulate insulin, keeping it at a constant high level. This fools the body into thinking it’s always hungry. Your body is constantly thinking you are hungry because your insulin stays in a high range.
Obesity is a hormonal disease. Insulin, a hormone, tells you how much to eat and how much to burn. The body behaves as if the weight is set on a thermostat. So, obesity is not about caloric imbalance. Thus, it makes sense that the idea of cutting calories is totally wrong.
You may not be obese. Maybe you have a few obstinate pounds that won’t melt – a jiggle around the middle resistant to diet and exercise. ‘Fat’, ‘plump’, ‘chubby’ – whatever you call it, a surplus of insulin is causing it. The longer you have higher amounts of it, the more resistant your body becomes, which produces even more and causes that crazy, never-ending cycle.
So what’s the solution?
- Avoid insulin-stimulating foods like sugar and refined grains. These are the enemy.
- Eliminate between-meal snacks.
- Designate mealtimes.
Meal timing and insulin levels work together to regulate our weight. We need periods of time when we aren’t eating, so insulin can go down, leaving our bodies in energy burning mode. If we leave more time between meals…. we burn energy.
And when we burn energy, we lose weight.
To learn more about the other secret to regulating insulin for weight loss, read here.
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