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Minimizing insulin levels with deliberate fat intake

by (960) Updated October 17, 2010 at 8:17 PM Created October 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Hey! So this question was spawned by a discussion I had last night on the merits of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I've heard that they're made with lard, so when people bring up Krispy Kremes in any context I get all excited and tell them that Krispy Kremes are the best doughnuts around. (I actually don't know if this is true.) Of course I've never had a Krispy Kreme, but in the moment it always seems like a matter of principle. In any case, my question:

say I want to have a CW dessert/I cave to my aunt shoving cookies in my face/I actually own up and eat a doughnut. And I know that I'm going to wreak havoc on my hormones. So I want to go ahead and minimize the damage--specifically, by minimizing my insulin spike--as much as I can. I am more concerned with my hormonal balance than with weight loss/maintenance/whatever.

What is the best strategy? Couple my glucose intake with fat? With protein? Are there any post-prandial strategies? The way this is all tied back to Krispy Kremes is that I was wondering if all the lard (despite the gluten, etc) in these doughtnuts makes them less dangerous for my adrenal system than, say, a HCFS-heavy cocktail or a bunch of popsicles.

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15334 ยท October 17, 2010 at 5:18 PM

Unfortunately krispy kreme proudly use "100% vegetable shortening (blend of palm and hydrogenated rape)" so no lard.

On the subject of whether to include fat with a bolus of carbohydrate, there are pros and cons. Eating a lot of fat with your carbohydrate will certainly make you less hungry (no surprises there) but apart from stopping one eating lots of carbs while your blood sugar levels peak and crash, there's not necessarily much reason to think that eating fat with carbohydrate will be particularly beneficial in itself. A certain amount of carbohydrate will require a more or less fixed amount of insulin regardless of whether it's digested slowly or quickly. There's a fair bit of evidence (here, here and here to suggest that the glycemic index doesn't really matter. Sure the practical effects described above might be important (i.e. if you eat some high GI sugary food, quickly feel hungry and eat another and another etc, where you wouldn't if you ate the same amount of carbs in lettuce), but assuming you wouldn't anyway, I doubt there'd be significant metabolic gains to be made. Eating fat calories that, ex hypothesi, you don't need would probably only be a negative, esp if it's during a carb-induced appetite. Eating protein with carbohydrate is a time-honoured strategy to offset the loss of blood glucose by having glycogen increase satiety and stabilise blood sugar, but if you're not worried about hunger/weight gain per se then there's probably not much to be gained hormonally anyway. If you're going to eat carbohydrates then you will need some insulin to deal with it, but after that if all else is working well, then it should return to normal. What's damaging is the chronic rollercoaster of blood sugar/insulin, or other metabolic disorderers (fructose, pufa, gluten, soy phytoestrogens etc), so if you are going to have a doughnut you may as well just carry on as normal afterwards, so far as your hormones are concerned.

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