Blood Sugar Balance: The Insulin Connection

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to transport glucose from the bloodstream to cells, where it is used to produce energy. It is also known as the fat-storing hormone. Insulin responds directly to what you eat. One of its main roles is to maintain blood glucose levels within a fairly narrow range: not too low (hypoglycaemia) and not to high (hyperglycaemia).

The overall impact of food on blood glucose is affected by the overall composition of a meal – protein, for example, slows the flow of glucose from carbohydrates. If you consume a meal high in refined carbohydrates, your body responds by producing higher levels of insulin for the first two hours following consumption of the meal, to reduce blood sugar. When insulin levels are high, the body is stimulated to store unused energy as fat. Insulin stores fat around the stomach area first and it also causes sodium retention which in turn makes you hold water. Additionally, in response to the excess insulin secretion, blood glucose levels drop to lower levels over the next few hours after a high refined carbohydrate meal than they would after a balanced meal, leaving you hungry, irritable and craving more glucose from carbohydrate foods.

A diet that consists of primarily refined carbohydrate foods (white rice, biscuits, sweets, crisps, sugar, etc) can lead to carbohydrate cravings through an overall increase in appetite potentially resulting in unwanted weight gain. These foods cause large fluctuations of both blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to low energy and a vicious cycle of over eating.

insulin

Refined carbohydrates

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