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Talk to me about sugar, insulin & body fat...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 10, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I am looking to get a little more information on how sugar/insuline rise affect body fat storage. I have read some articles, and as far as I understand, any extra calories eaten will cause the body to store it as fat, and if you get a huge spike in your insulin levels, it will do the same. Correct?

Now my question is as follows: I am strict paleo (low carb, usually between 50-60g, some days much lower & no fruit), I do CrossFit 5x a week and sometimes I cave in (NOT often, just when I don't have my 85% around) and eat a sugary, milk chocolate. Today, sadly, it was a Snickers bar (and I will NEVER do it again - I am sick to my stomach from all that sugar)...I guess my question is, reallistically, aside from the negative symptoms, how much does this affect my body fat %? I am so close to reaching my goal, and setbacks like these make me so angry!

Any goood articles about how the body stores fat would be greatly appreciated! I think part of the reason I get so anxious and frustrated when things like this happen is that I don't completely understand how it all works and am afraid just one step in the wrong direction will completely screw up how far I've come.

P.S: I KNOW sugar is bad for you, I AVOID it 99% of the time, so no need to tell me that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 13, 2012
at 07:25 AM

@Mods - Can you please do something about Harry. The constant inane comments, poor attempts at baiting all because I, Luckie and a few others voted to close 3 of 4 of his anti-bacon rants is getting tiresome.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 07:52 AM

LLM, what happened to your rep? is your butt ok?

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on November 12, 2012
at 07:30 AM

I love blueberries & cream as a snack, but any fruit, especially berries will do. Go for the thicker stuff. It's almost 50% fat. We call it double cream in the UK. I believe it's called heavy cream in the US. Anyway, experiment with different creams. You can get quite a lot of fat in a pretty modest portion. Enjoy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 04:53 AM

Maria - Mostly carbs. Metcons use muscle glycogen, you are above your lactate threshold. You can't possibly replenish it in 24hrs from meat. You need glucose if you are going to burn it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 04:52 AM

That would be Harry. He's still butt hurt about his anti-bacon fetish.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Diabetics carry portable sugar around for hypoglycemic emergencies. Your candy bar made me think of it. I'm not saying that LC or fasting would cause it but it could.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:05 PM

A nice pan sauce with cream and the meat drippings can be lovely over meat/vegetables. And cream can be had in tea and herbal teas as well. Cream also makes the best Paleo desserts - stuff like creme brulee, raspberry fool, or dark chocolate mousse has way more fat than carbs. Even a simple dessert of sliced apples fried in butter with cinnamon and a little vanilla topped with cream is delicious, simple, and quite Primal. They are also WAY TASTIER than a Snickers! :)

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:28 PM

Thank you! What do you mean by cream? Cream in my coffee? I don't drink coffee, so upping my cream intake would be hard. Any other suggestions? I would greatly appreciate it! I have only experimented with IF a few times, all farily easy to do but not sometihng I can do very often yet...as you said, I am obviously not completely fat adapted yet.

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:23 PM

I am a 24 year old female, 59.5 kg, 1.68, BF 22%...wanting to lower my BF a little more (got it down from 30% in 2 months) and lose another 3 kg. Those are my ultimate goals. I do think I need to either up carbs or calories for doing CrossFit 5x a week...I'll experiment with that next week.

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Why do I sound hypoglycemic? I'm curious what made you believe that...my glucose levels on regular blood work (fasting) have always been fine, my Dr. has never sugested an A1C, though I suppose I could suggest one next time I see him and see what he thinks.

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Thank you! That was REALLY helpful and what I was looking for. I posted this because I wanted to be better infromed, not because I thought I knew it all already. I'll look into the book. Thanks again!

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:18 PM

Thank you! I think I sometimes need someone to actually SAY this to snap out of it. I do struggle with guilt sometimes (which I find so stupid)...Oh how I miss not being obsessed about everything I eat, those were better times.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on November 11, 2012
at 04:50 PM

I'm no expert on insuline but logically speaking is would be impossible for 1 snickers bar to have an affect on bodyfat%. Try and be al little bit less obsessed witt your weight, it makes life nicer and more fun.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on November 11, 2012
at 03:55 PM

This is correct. Why all the downvotes? Replace the substrate that you are using.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2012
at 11:11 AM

"If you are going to do workouts that burn sugar you need sugar."??

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5 Answers

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1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on November 11, 2012
at 05:23 PM

and as far as I understand, any extra calories eaten will cause the body to store it as fat, and if you get a huge spike in your insulin levels, it will do the same. Correct?

You really haven't been understanding the articles you've read, or you're reading non-sciency internet articles if that's what you've deduced.

Here's something I wrote a while ago on this: http://paleohacks.com/questions/111598/can-u-burn-stored-fat-if-insulin-is-high/111614#111614

But the best source on this in Gary Taubes' "Good Calories Bad Calories" or the shorter version, "Why We Get Fat".

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Thank you! That was REALLY helpful and what I was looking for. I posted this because I wanted to be better infromed, not because I thought I knew it all already. I'll look into the book. Thanks again!

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2012
at 05:46 AM

Who are you and what are your goals?

If you are going to hit Metcons at all regularly and do crossfit style workouts try and and hit a higher carb level with Paleo foods. I suspect the sugary treats and cravings will disappear.

If you are going to do workouts that burn sugar you need sugar. If you want to do weight lifting and walking/jogging/cycling below your lactate threshold you could be in ketosis and have no issues at all.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 11, 2012
at 11:11 AM

"If you are going to do workouts that burn sugar you need sugar."??

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:23 PM

I am a 24 year old female, 59.5 kg, 1.68, BF 22%...wanting to lower my BF a little more (got it down from 30% in 2 months) and lose another 3 kg. Those are my ultimate goals. I do think I need to either up carbs or calories for doing CrossFit 5x a week...I'll experiment with that next week.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on November 11, 2012
at 03:55 PM

This is correct. Why all the downvotes? Replace the substrate that you are using.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 04:53 AM

Maria - Mostly carbs. Metcons use muscle glycogen, you are above your lactate threshold. You can't possibly replenish it in 24hrs from meat. You need glucose if you are going to burn it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 13, 2012
at 07:25 AM

@Mods - Can you please do something about Harry. The constant inane comments, poor attempts at baiting all because I, Luckie and a few others voted to close 3 of 4 of his anti-bacon rants is getting tiresome.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 04:52 AM

That would be Harry. He's still butt hurt about his anti-bacon fetish.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on November 12, 2012
at 07:52 AM

LLM, what happened to your rep? is your butt ok?

1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 11, 2012
at 05:20 PM

Go to your dr and get your A1C tested. If it's low - 5 or less - you probably don't have a problem with insulin resistance. I think the insulin fat storage theory, if it is true at all, applies to those who are insulin resistant not those who aren't.

Getting the dr to give you a blood glucose meter would be useful too. You sound hypoglycemic. Usually the meters are giveaways, with a few free test strips included.

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Why do I sound hypoglycemic? I'm curious what made you believe that...my glucose levels on regular blood work (fasting) have always been fine, my Dr. has never sugested an A1C, though I suppose I could suggest one next time I see him and see what he thinks.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:49 PM

Diabetics carry portable sugar around for hypoglycemic emergencies. Your candy bar made me think of it. I'm not saying that LC or fasting would cause it but it could.

1
Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

on November 11, 2012
at 12:52 PM

The answer is probably that you are not eating enough fat. If you reduce your carbs to the level that you have done, you need to replace the energy source and for someone doing the sort of exercise routine you are on you will need serious refuelling.

I've had a peek at your other questions and it seems to me that you've had this answer elsewhere. If you are struggling to get fats, I would suggest upping your intake of cream.

You are also fasting. By doing so you are taking your body into starvation mode and so unsurprisingly it is telling you to eat something FAST. To prevent that you need to get properly fat-adapted, thereby eliminating the cravings, then you can experiment with IF.

I suspect you are simply doing too much too soon. Too much exercise, combined with too much IF, combined with too little carbs & your body is saying no. Slow down, get fat-adapted and go from there. This is a long journey, don't try everything at once. Just my opinion of course.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10480)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:05 PM

A nice pan sauce with cream and the meat drippings can be lovely over meat/vegetables. And cream can be had in tea and herbal teas as well. Cream also makes the best Paleo desserts - stuff like creme brulee, raspberry fool, or dark chocolate mousse has way more fat than carbs. Even a simple dessert of sliced apples fried in butter with cinnamon and a little vanilla topped with cream is delicious, simple, and quite Primal. They are also WAY TASTIER than a Snickers! :)

58908e2a5be1d634e49c97da9f2558ce

(185)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:28 PM

Thank you! What do you mean by cream? Cream in my coffee? I don't drink coffee, so upping my cream intake would be hard. Any other suggestions? I would greatly appreciate it! I have only experimented with IF a few times, all farily easy to do but not sometihng I can do very often yet...as you said, I am obviously not completely fat adapted yet.

Ef777978cfeb8fbdd18d75c4f6c4cb23

(1297)

on November 12, 2012
at 07:30 AM

I love blueberries & cream as a snack, but any fruit, especially berries will do. Go for the thicker stuff. It's almost 50% fat. We call it double cream in the UK. I believe it's called heavy cream in the US. Anyway, experiment with different creams. You can get quite a lot of fat in a pretty modest portion. Enjoy.

1
Ed0cb30f40daff568778b776b2a5a81d

(943)

on November 11, 2012
at 11:33 AM

I really like Peter Attia's FAQ. I think it explains a lot things in layman terms for someone who is not educated in the field. I often use it as a sort of wiki as I don't have an educational background within nutrition/medicine etc.

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