devil's advocate on insulin

by (1776) Updated November 16, 2012 at 1:08 AM Created November 15, 2012 at 4:44 AM

so many people (luminaries, gurus, yadda yadda) keep saying that keeping insulin as low as possible for as long as possible is good for us. but WHY do they say that?

(earlier today i watched kelly starret say, "he who keeps insulin lowest longest wins.")

and more importantly, are they cherry picking their proof?

i have not gained weight or fat since tremendously upping my simple sugars intake a year ago. in fact by doing this i have defeated depression and gained more energy. i am not superman, nor am i an active athlete. i have maintained my same weight to height ratio, but my waist has gone down 1-2 sizes (it fluctuates based on water retention and other factors)

the only possible negatives are sometimes food comas and lethargy after eating too many carbs, but this can easily happen with protein or fat too! so it just seems to mean that overeating in general shifts energy from the brain to the gut, therefore causing fatigue.

and i feel better overall, but everytime i talk to anyone who isnt a ray peat follower or something, they cannot believe me. before this transition i was mark sisson low carb for 2 years and only got worse problems. then i did the PHD diet and while it was better, starches did not help me out, nor did brown rice syrup or dextrose.

so either i am an anamoly (possible, but unlikely) or there is something else going on! intelligent thoughts anyone?

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7 Replies

18437 · November 15, 2012 at 1:43 PM

You might be interested in this persons site. http://diagnosisdiet.com/food/vegetables/#i11. She makes the case for meat and fruit being the only foods actually designed to be eaten by humans, and why some who are very sensitive may have problems with basically all vegetables. This may be a bit off the topic, but if you have replaced a large portion of fibrous vegetable or tubers with sugars from fruit seems as likely a theory as to why you had good response as any.

As to the insulin bit, if you read the PHD you probably realize that much of the evidence is against hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia. And there are reported epidemiological patters (so not cause/effect) that lower levels of each correlate with longevity, better cognitive value (less Alzheimer), and improved immunity since "insulin suppresses production of antimicrobial peptides". Well obviously its not all just epidemiological, but I'm in a rush so I cant sift through for studies right now. But, fruit is not bad for people like diabetics specifically because of the fructose, fiber, and water from what I understand. All reducing the glycemic load and fructose is first diverted through the liver right?

More to write....but I gotta go to work. Look forward to seeing the other responses.

18 · November 15, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Carbohydrate intake results in elevated insulin to promote glucose removal from the blood. This is perfectly normal. Hyperinsulinemia is usually a symptom of type II diabetes. Hypoglycemia is usually as a result of type I diabetes.

The only thing simple sugars will do (as long as not consumed in too great an excess) is raise blood sugar levels faster than complex carbohydrates. Glucose transporter 4 is dependent on insulin to allow cells to take in glucose. Exercise circumvents this need for insulin, as exercising muscles can take up glucose without it.

Since you don't do exercise and are consuming high sugar amounts, you might be putting yourself at risk of diabetes. That is if you have a sedentary lifestyle.

1284 · November 15, 2012 at 6:11 PM

My own view is that we are a long way from the truth and that at the moment the best we can say is that it's horses for courses.

Again my own view, is that there are a wide range of types of people, dark hair, light hair, dark skin, light skinned, ectomorph, endomorph, yin yang, you get my drift.

So I don't think that everybody is going to benefit from eating the same sorts of things.

Nothing against any of them, but Sisson, de Vany & Berkhan have all been skinny all their lives. Sisson top marathon runner, de Vany (can't remember exactly, but) strong all his life, Berkhan a model in his youth.

Each of them is offering a solution that seems to fit for someone who is morbidly obese & hormonally dysfunctional as well as the looking good fitness fanatic who wants to cut the last 5lbs. I'm not sure that's feasible.

Humanity thrives on diversity & a couple of billion Asians eat rice every day with apparent impunity. I know that it's good to keep on striving for better, but I doubt there's one right way to do it. And we have a long way to go.

Finally, I think that the undemonising of fat and red meat is a powerful force for good and so if some of these guys are a little evangelical at times, I'm fine with that because the SAD story is so deeply ingrained (pun intended).

11251 · November 15, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Most of the downstream effects of insulin seem to be the sort of things we are trying to avoid. All insulin all the time makes the Standard American a very fat and dull boy. But I am going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that Kelly Starret is down with some post-workout carbs. The reason why I am guessing this is because insulin helps in this specific case.

Some of the low carb researchers are looking at the MTOR pathway and saying to reduce carbs and protein in order not to trigger it. The aim here is long life. It seems to be a decent hypothesis, and it's departure from Paleo is their willingness to stay in a steady state for years rather than taking the evolutionary view that we moved into and out of various phases. A fast, for instance, encourages autophagy. Prolonged fasting causes death. A growth phase (of which MTOR and insulin is a part of) helps us build muscle, but a prolonged growth phase just may encourage cancer- and therefore death. Speaking of cancer: targeting insulin inhibition as a metabolic therapy in advanced cancer:

Other expected effects are changes in all the intracellular signaling molecules downstream of the insulin receptor, which regulate their growth, proliferation, and resistance to apoptosis (cell death signals known in all cells), etc.

The relevance being there are downstream effects- effects which also apply to normal cells, which we might want to minimize.

I doubt that you are suffering from the same insulin load as SAD people do though.

7989 · November 16, 2012 at 1:08 AM

I think the problem lies in the fact that some people have serious issues with insulin metabolism (from genetics or from environmental damage, or both) and some do not. So what works or doesn't for a young, healthy athletic male may be very different than what works for a heavy, middle aged, woman who has sustained decades of metabolic damage and who may be well on her way on the "diabetic spectrum" or "diabetic pathway" without an official diagnosis of diabetes . . . YET.

1009 · November 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

ive wondered about this because home fruit can be grown at much higher quantities than vegetables.

1972 · November 15, 2012 at 3:51 PM

I also do well on lots of carbs and think that a balanced diet is much better for health than these high fat, high protein paleo diets. I eat all the fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes that my body asks for, In addition to some meat and oils of course

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