Who is Responsible for Weight Gain – Insulin or Fat?
The name and the role of insulin we often associate with the most incidental degenerative disease Diabetes. But insulin plays one of the most important roles of any substance in the body and directly affects the physical and mental health. It is a powerful hormone, secreted by the pancreas and it is released into the blood in response to the glucose load in the blood. The fore most function of insulin is, it acts as a receptor and binds the glucose molecules and transports to the cell where the glucose is burned or metabolized to produce energy for the cell activity. In other words the insulin increases the sensitivity of cells towards glucose uptake in normal human being. Maximum body’s energy needs are met by blood glucose. Carbohydrate in our diet is digested through a series of reactions to yield simple sugar called ‘glucose’ which is easily absorbed from the intestine into the blood. If the amount of glucose ingested via the carbohydrates is in excess of the cells energy requirement is transported back to the liver where it is converted to glycogen and stored in liver (3 to 7 percent) and muscles (0.5 to 1 percent). Liver and muscles have limited capacity to store glycogen thus the excess of glycogen in liver is converted to triglycerides, more commonly known as ‘fat’. Body has an unlimited capacity to store fat. For women the first place to deposit the fat is usually the buttocks and thighs, and for men the stomach is the first port of call. From this ''base'' it can spread out with no impediment.
Gerald Reaven (1988), identified an abnormal metabolic condition which leads to diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and obesity. This condition is now becoming commonly known as ‘Syndrome-X’ which is another term for ‘Insulin Resistance
’. In simple terms Syndrome-X contributes to fat accumulation not only in the visible form on your body but also in the blood by way of raised cholesterol and triglycerides. Some scientists believe Syndrome-X affects up to two thirds of the entire population of the entire western world. Quite a plausible suggestion when one considers the statistics on obesity and overweight people in general.
There are multiple causes of insulin resistance: aging increases the risk of insulin resistance, Lack of exercise, Periods of constant and excessive stress, Poor Nutrition in terms of Deficiencies in the diet of essential nutrients which may include various minerals such as chromium, vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids etc., Inadequate protein and excessive fat intake particularly of hydrogenated or trans fats and a high carbohydrate diet. In insulin resistance syndrom cells builds up the resistance to insulin which will ultimately result in a phenomenon known as lipogenesis which means that your cells can not convert the glucose to energy and so the glucose goes straight to the fat production stage. In other words at this stage your body becomes a very efficient fat manufacturing factory! The widely believed statement that ''fat makes you fat'' is a myth. This myth combined with the emphasis on the low fat diet has not only been responsible for the out of control epidemic of obesity in most western countries but also indirectly the cause of much disease, illness, premature aging and senility. Of course too much fat and ALL fat of the WRONG type should be avoided but natural fats are something that your body NEEDS and should not be deprived of if you desire good health and an ideal body weight.