Insulin is a member of the growth hormone family. Its primary purpose is to take up glucose, protein, and fat. Without insulin your glucose levels go up and we call this diabetes. However, the strongest stimulus for the release of insulin is NOT SUGAR or carbohydrates. PROTEIN is the most potent stimulus for the release of insulin. When you combine protein and sugar in the same meal your insulin levels go through the roof.
Insulin promotes construction of bone, fat, and muscle. The stimulating nutrient(s) and your level of activity determine what is produced. Insulin plus sugar and fat with no physical activity makes more fat. Insulin plus protein and physical activity makes muscle and bone. It’s your choice.
Insulin is an on demand construction crew and more of it is released when vitamin D levels are normal than when you are deficient. Our focus, as the construction site manager is, what are we telling insulin to make? (Fat or muscle and bone)
Here is a series of related trivia questions. What food does Mother Nature provide that fattens up newborns so they will survive that first winter? And why is this food so efficient at fattening up? Should we be eating that food as adults?
Let’s face it most of us are not physically active. The absence of physical activity is a signal to insulin for the production of fat. The more insulin you release in an inactive state the more fat you will make. If we are inactive we want lower insulin levels.
Studies in postmenopausal women show much less insulin is released in response to a meal of beef protein than in response to a gram equivalent meal of soy or cottage cheese protein. This is because soy and dairy both combine sugar/carbohydrates along with their protein. Remember, that sends insulin levels through the roof. In addition dairy brings along a load of saturated fat and salt.
How might this get us into trouble? Have you ever had a smoothie? In the book I talk about 2+2 smoothies, 2 veggies, 2 fruits blended. There is no protein in that drink and there shouldn’t be. When you have a smoothie made with fruits and then add protein powder or yogurt, you send your insulin levels to the moon. And, if you are not very physically active that insulin will convert all that sugar to fat in your belly.
If you haven’t figured out the trivia question yet, it’s breast milk. Breast milk fattens babies up because it combines a simple sugar, lactose, with protein in the form of casein. This combination sends insulin levels through the roof. Insulin, plus protein and fat along with high growth hormone levels builds bone, muscle, and fat in an active growing infant. That same dairy meal in an inactive adult with waning growth hormone levels and waning sex steroids makes fat.
The take home message sounds like a broken record, lean and green. Separate your protein from carbohydrates in meals by several hours. You can combine protein and fat or carbohydrates and fat, but DO NOT combine protein and carbs. Stay away from dairy, legumes, and grain. These foods combine protein and carbs, release tons of insulin, and insulate you from health and happiness with a belly of fat. Get the Vitamin D Cure for more information on eating right.