3

votes

Are we demonizing insulin similar to how people demonize fat/carbs?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 29, 2011 at 2:03 PM

In the paleo world, we constantly hear how elevated insulin levels are bad, and over time chronically elevated levels will lead to hyperinsulinemia, diabetes, inflammation, which then leads to all sorts of disorders, metabolic syndrome, etc. It definitely gets a bad rap in our group. This is one of the main justifications of carb restriction.

Some people (talking healthy people here) will avoid food that elicit high levels of insulin for this reason. This could include protein sources which also raise insulin (dairy being a prime example). At the same time protein also causes a rise in glucagon which to my knowledge balances it out.

This week, weightology.net released a series of articles on the myths of insulin - http://weightology.net/weightologyweekly/?page_id=319

What is everyone's thought on it, and we are demonizing insulin similar to how people demonize fat/carbs? Do we need to take a step a back, similar to how much of the community did with carbs and "safe starches"?

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 02:17 PM

heres another quote from Rosedale's response "I have pointed out many times, if one lowers sugar at the expense of raising insulin, that is trading one evil for an even worse evil." It's evil! I perfer to use the term satanic :)

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I am started to agree that focusing on insulin is diverting focus on what constitutes a healthy diet.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 01:59 PM

I agree that the elevated levels are what are dangerous with insulin, however, the point of my question was that we end up making everything a black or white issue. Carbs can be problematic, well better avoid all carbs! Or, eating foods that spike insulin can lead to host of diseases, will dont eat food that spike insulin. You can see this play out in the whole "safe starches" debate from Jimmy Moore. Jaminet is saying we should eat 150 grams a day from safe starches, this is definitely not going to cause chronic high levels of insulin, yet a lot of people are still screaming "blasphemy!"

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 01:55 PM

Checkout Dr. Rosedales latest response on the "safe starches" debate. Once again, we see him hit insulin hard ("powerful relationship between insulin and disease") and how bad elevated levels are even when still eating relatively low carb (~150gs of carbs a day) - http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/more-safe-starches-stuff-and-why-ive-decided-not-to-test-them-on-myself/12068

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 30, 2011
at 06:30 AM

Everybody from here going to USA is impressed by the level of so called land wales on the streets. That is worrisome, if true.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 30, 2011
at 06:29 AM

If you can't guess by looking, its not really that problematic. Obesity with adipocyte tissue balanced all over the body is not a problem, it might even be protective. Fat accumulation on specific parts of the body is problematic [belly, hips].

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on October 30, 2011
at 02:00 AM

You can't tell if someone is obese just by looking at them. Technically I'm considered obese but most people wouldn't even guess I'm more than five or ten pounds overweight.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on October 30, 2011
at 01:54 AM

Travis, is that an opinion or are there citations to back it up?

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 30, 2011
at 12:32 AM

+1.............

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 29, 2011
at 11:46 PM

Yeah the whole series is from last year and people have been fighting over this very thing the last year as well. I think we've taken our step back and it's now time to move forward.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 29, 2011
at 11:44 PM

And 75g CHO in the "low carb" meal? 75g? I don't eat that much in an entire day. Heck 75g protein for a single meal is pretty ridiculous as well. That's ~10 oz chicken or equivalent! I wish Dr. Eades would weigh in on this one. He's always harped on too much protein at a given time. Pretty sure this would make him choke.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 10:05 PM

Well, if we're talking "wide-scale" then there's also HFCS to consider.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

There is big probability that it is because of 3 months radioactive bomb visits 1 decade ago. After it, it went sky high.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 09:04 PM

There is big probability that it is because of 3 months radioactive bomb visits 1 decade ago.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on October 29, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Serbians get more cancers than other Europeans: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2080367/ I think the cardiovascular disease burden is similarly high.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:16 PM

@Cliff - No, not that bad... I think...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Overweight, but not obese as your source claims. You don't see obese people on the streets here.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Seems like there just as bad off as the US

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:07 PM

"In 2006 in Serbia, 55.7% of adult population was overweight" "High prevalence of overweight and obesity is a significant public health problem among Serbian adults." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571319

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:02 PM

Wide-scale obesity doesn't predate vegetable oils

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 06:44 PM

No, not as static, but due to globalization that started to change.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Are they as inactive as us? My nieces eat a lot of SAD foods, but I figure that they are being protected in the short-term by having to schlep up and down stairs at home and at school.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Maj, carbsane addressed this on her blog a while back. You cannot really compare the endogenous insulin production in the body with exogenous insulin injected at the dosages diabetics use.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Also, you know what happens when diabetics use the same spot on skin for insulin injections ?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:33 PM

To be honest, it could be caused by many more things, from infection to genetics IN COMBINATION with excess carbs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:31 PM

Wheat products and sunflower oil are exceptionally cheap here. Many people buy hot bread here and eat half of it on the way home, and then they have a regular breakfast :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Wheat products and sunflower oil are exceptionally cheap here. Many people buy hot bread here and eat half of it on the way home.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 05:24 PM

My guess would be that Serbs may live on sunflower oil, but they are not able to overeat it the way we do here in the US. We not only eat Kurt Harris' NADs (wheat, excess fructose, excess linoleic acid from veggie oils), but we are able to consistently overeat them due to easy access and low cost.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Except that obesity pre-dated veggie oils. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally with veggie oils as a contributing factor, I just think the bigger picture is more about the ease with which industrial food (full of sugar, refined wheat, and veggie oils and lacking in nutrients) can cause chronic overnutrition.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Insulin resistance is more a result of nutrient deficiencies (like chromium, manganese and magnesium) interfering with the function of mitochondrial fuel selection. Add a boatload of fructose on top of that and you have a recipe for NIDDM. Well-nourished people who don't consume excessive fructose loads from soda etc. do just fine with a heavy starch intake every single day.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:57 PM

That's awesome, because I eat potatoes. Why is that?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:53 PM

Insulin resistance doesn't occur as a result of repeated starch-induced rises in insulin.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I think wheat, actually is worst then sugar/PUFA. Probably the single culprit that unites everything else into one sick scenario.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:32 PM

Its much more probable that once you are damaged, removing carbs and PUFA is going to help you and you could probably return some of it after you fixed yourself. People should not claim that insulin or carbs are evil out of that context. The problem is then, that in damaged body normal things become problematic.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:31 PM

In Serbia people live on sunflower oil, literally, I think everybody is using around 50-100g per day, and yet, obesity is rare phenomena. We also eat tones of wheat. Even more then oil. So... its not instructive to think about it at population level IMO, since you can't control for environment-gene interaction.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Or it could have nothing to do with any sort of carbs and have everything to do with the vegetable oils which makes a lot more sense when you look at it from the big picture.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Thanks for saving me the effort. Would have essentially typed this comment ;). Only thing I'd add is that I think the carb/insulin hypothesis unfortunately neglects brain/appetite issues (which are NOT just about insulin) and nutrient deficiencies that are unlikely to be addressed by just reducing carbs (especially when you're talking industrial LC products). J Stanton's series on hunger over at gnolls.org is more satisfying to me, but it freaks out some folks who think this translates to moral failings re overeating.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 03:26 PM

Minor correction: that article is from January. It was just recently re-promoted.

  • 2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

    asked by

    (2707)
  • Views
    1.8K
  • Last Activity
    1255D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

5 Answers

3
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:18 PM

The problem isn't insulin, the problem is when people become damaged from toxic lifestyles and can no longer use/produce insulin properly. Insulin is a very important hormone that has many important functions, the reason we see it elevated in metabolic disorders is because these people can no longer use insulin properly for whatever reason.

People need to also realize that insulin isn't the only mechanism the body has to store carbs. Insulin is just one part of the bigger picture.

Maybe the insulin theorist didn't see this study? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19176946 "Central insulin and insulin+glucose reduced body weight with a slight decrease of food intake compared to the control and glucose groups in diabetic rats".."Long-term central infusion of insulin enhanced energy metabolism and hepatic glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetic rats partly via potentiating hypothalamic insulin signaling"

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on October 30, 2011
at 12:32 AM

+1.............

1
9dd4d453f7ebd7fd2a82814d08fc8f17

on October 29, 2011
at 09:30 PM

gotta love that little section about how protein is just as much an insulin trigger as carb - "well we have here a comparison of two meals, one has 21g protein with 125g of carb and another meal has 75g protein with 75g of carb. see how the (second) protein triggered almost just as much insulin?" (i might have not read the article too carefully but hopefully my following points still worth to be mentioned)

1) they raised the protein 3x and decreased carb 2x to try to compare the two??

2) were r the (at least) two other possible meals to compare? one with only protein and one with only carb.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on October 29, 2011
at 11:44 PM

And 75g CHO in the "low carb" meal? 75g? I don't eat that much in an entire day. Heck 75g protein for a single meal is pretty ridiculous as well. That's ~10 oz chicken or equivalent! I wish Dr. Eades would weigh in on this one. He's always harped on too much protein at a given time. Pretty sure this would make him choke.

1
7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on October 29, 2011
at 03:30 PM

Insulin has been used a lot as the fall guy and to make arguments sound more ???sciency.??? The whole-grainers also used the arguments about glucose spikes and insulin to try and make whole grains sound better.

Part of it is that just about everybody recognizes that sugar and refined wheat flour is bad and often tried to frame it in terms of blood glucose and insulin, but it doesn???t work out in the end. There is something else going on. Rice and potatoes affect blood glucose and insulin as much or more, and they have been staples for much of the world???s populations.

I think focusing on insulin has been a diversion that has prevented some people from really looking at what is going on with Western diet and lifestyle that is causing all the problems. I think if Taubes would have paid attention to all the rice eaters of the world back when he was writing GCBC, he would have really moved on to a different hypothesis concerning refined wheat and sugar and what was going on with Western diet and lifestyle and would have probably took a much more "Ancestral health" approach to the problem.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:05 PM

Or it could have nothing to do with any sort of carbs and have everything to do with the vegetable oils which makes a lot more sense when you look at it from the big picture.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Thanks for saving me the effort. Would have essentially typed this comment ;). Only thing I'd add is that I think the carb/insulin hypothesis unfortunately neglects brain/appetite issues (which are NOT just about insulin) and nutrient deficiencies that are unlikely to be addressed by just reducing carbs (especially when you're talking industrial LC products). J Stanton's series on hunger over at gnolls.org is more satisfying to me, but it freaks out some folks who think this translates to moral failings re overeating.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:32 PM

Its much more probable that once you are damaged, removing carbs and PUFA is going to help you and you could probably return some of it after you fixed yourself. People should not claim that insulin or carbs are evil out of that context. The problem is then, that in damaged body normal things become problematic.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 10:05 PM

Well, if we're talking "wide-scale" then there's also HFCS to consider.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Except that obesity pre-dated veggie oils. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally with veggie oils as a contributing factor, I just think the bigger picture is more about the ease with which industrial food (full of sugar, refined wheat, and veggie oils and lacking in nutrients) can cause chronic overnutrition.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:31 PM

In Serbia people live on sunflower oil, literally, I think everybody is using around 50-100g per day, and yet, obesity is rare phenomena. We also eat tones of wheat. Even more then oil. So... its not instructive to think about it at population level IMO, since you can't control for environment-gene interaction.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 02:01 PM

I am started to agree that focusing on insulin is diverting focus on what constitutes a healthy diet.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:33 PM

I think wheat, actually is worst then sugar/PUFA. Probably the single culprit that unites everything else into one sick scenario.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:02 PM

Wide-scale obesity doesn't predate vegetable oils

1
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on October 29, 2011
at 02:56 PM

I think that the general principles, as I understand them, are to remember that our bodies weren't designed to have a CONSTANT high flow of insulin. We've also known for a while that the body becomes insensitive to insulin over time, if we have to use it too often (that's sort of the premise of type II diabetes). So I think that, as I understand it, the goal isn't to demonize insulin, but to allow it to serve the function in our bodies that it was originally designed to serve -- to allow us to avoid glucose toxicity in situations were we occasionally ingest FAR too much glucose for our body to process at a given time.

I think there are always people who will take a simple thing and make it complicated -- or take a single concept and expand it until it bears no resemblance to its original foundation.

For myself, I eat seasonally. In the winter, that means that some of the stuff that holds up well includes roots and winter squashes -- so in the fall and winter, I eat more of those. shrugs It makes sense to me.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on October 30, 2011
at 01:54 AM

Travis, is that an opinion or are there citations to back it up?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:39 PM

Also, you know what happens when diabetics use the same spot on skin for insulin injections ?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:53 PM

Insulin resistance doesn't occur as a result of repeated starch-induced rises in insulin.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Maj, carbsane addressed this on her blog a while back. You cannot really compare the endogenous insulin production in the body with exogenous insulin injected at the dosages diabetics use.

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:57 PM

That's awesome, because I eat potatoes. Why is that?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:33 PM

To be honest, it could be caused by many more things, from infection to genetics IN COMBINATION with excess carbs.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 30, 2011
at 01:59 PM

I agree that the elevated levels are what are dangerous with insulin, however, the point of my question was that we end up making everything a black or white issue. Carbs can be problematic, well better avoid all carbs! Or, eating foods that spike insulin can lead to host of diseases, will dont eat food that spike insulin. You can see this play out in the whole "safe starches" debate from Jimmy Moore. Jaminet is saying we should eat 150 grams a day from safe starches, this is definitely not going to cause chronic high levels of insulin, yet a lot of people are still screaming "blasphemy!"

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Insulin resistance is more a result of nutrient deficiencies (like chromium, manganese and magnesium) interfering with the function of mitochondrial fuel selection. Add a boatload of fructose on top of that and you have a recipe for NIDDM. Well-nourished people who don't consume excessive fructose loads from soda etc. do just fine with a heavy starch intake every single day.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 04:34 PM

In Serbia people live on sunflower oil, literally, I think everybody is using around 50-100g per day, and yet, obesity is rare phenomena [people are sick a lot tho]. We also eat tones of wheat. Some people literally do not eat anything else. Ofcourse, bread and pasta made with sunflower oil (there is thing called 'burek' that is every day food here - tones of wheat soaked in sunflower oil). So... its not instructive to think about it at population level IMO, since you can't control for environment-gene interaction

Its much more probable that once you are damaged, removing carbs and PUFA is going to help you and you could probably return some of it after you fixed yourself. People should not claim that insulin or carbs are evil out of that context. The problem is then, that in damaged body normal things become problematic.

I think wheat, actually is worst then sugar/PUFA. Probably the single culprit that unites everything else into one sick scenario.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:08 PM

Seems like there just as bad off as the US

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 09:04 PM

There is big probability that it is because of 3 months radioactive bomb visits 1 decade ago.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:30 PM

Wheat products and sunflower oil are exceptionally cheap here. Many people buy hot bread here and eat half of it on the way home.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on October 30, 2011
at 02:00 AM

You can't tell if someone is obese just by looking at them. Technically I'm considered obese but most people wouldn't even guess I'm more than five or ten pounds overweight.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Are they as inactive as us? My nieces eat a lot of SAD foods, but I figure that they are being protected in the short-term by having to schlep up and down stairs at home and at school.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:12 PM

Overweight, but not obese as your source claims. You don't see obese people on the streets here.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:16 PM

@Cliff - No, not that bad... I think...

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 29, 2011
at 05:24 PM

My guess would be that Serbs may live on sunflower oil, but they are not able to overeat it the way we do here in the US. We not only eat Kurt Harris' NADs (wheat, excess fructose, excess linoleic acid from veggie oils), but we are able to consistently overeat them due to easy access and low cost.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:07 PM

"In 2006 in Serbia, 55.7% of adult population was overweight" "High prevalence of overweight and obesity is a significant public health problem among Serbian adults." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571319

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

There is big probability that it is because of 3 months radioactive bomb visits 1 decade ago. After it, it went sky high.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 30, 2011
at 06:29 AM

If you can't guess by looking, its not really that problematic. Obesity with adipocyte tissue balanced all over the body is not a problem, it might even be protective. Fat accumulation on specific parts of the body is problematic [belly, hips].

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 06:44 PM

No, not as static, but due to globalization that started to change.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 29, 2011
at 05:31 PM

Wheat products and sunflower oil are exceptionally cheap here. Many people buy hot bread here and eat half of it on the way home, and then they have a regular breakfast :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 30, 2011
at 06:30 AM

Everybody from here going to USA is impressed by the level of so called land wales on the streets. That is worrisome, if true.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on October 29, 2011
at 08:49 PM

Serbians get more cancers than other Europeans: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2080367/ I think the cardiovascular disease burden is similarly high.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!