6

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Insulin elevation from low-carb foods...what's the deal?

Answered on March 20, 2015
Created February 16, 2010 at 12:24 AM

I just read the paper, "An insulin index of foods:the insulin demand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods". Something that surprised me was the fact that foods like cheese have a large AUC (area under the curve) for insulin. Why does insulin rise? I was under the impression that keeping insulin levels low was healthy.

Here's the link:

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/66/5/1264

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on March 07, 2010
at 01:32 PM

Brant, poke around Dr William Davis's Heart Scan Blog... he's had several posts in the recent past on insulin responses, including one where he argues that a glucose monitor is the most important weight loss tool to have. Dr Davis is a cardiologist who has had great success treating patients with LC diet and supplements like Vit D rather than statins -- there's lots of good stuff to read there.

F6c1df7d5699661bd1f0d6d0a6c17fc6

on February 16, 2010
at 11:02 AM

This is interesting, in that I get sugar-like cravings with cheese. Especially aged cheese, which has a lot of these flavourful crystals.

Cebbef0c2525f8d16a4f738ab5e15536

(30)

on February 16, 2010
at 01:51 AM

Can you recommend any good research that discusses this in more detail? I frequent Whole Health Source and Paleonu, but I couldn't find much about this particular topic (Panu had a post about it, but I haven't tracked it down yet). Maybe an endocrinology textbook would be a good place to start? Thanks for the help.

  • Cebbef0c2525f8d16a4f738ab5e15536

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5 Answers

8
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 18, 2010
at 10:10 AM

I was also worried about this when I first started LCing after encountering GCBC. Taubes himself addresses this briefly in an interview and Mark Sisson has also briefly addressed it.

I think the most important point practically, is that it doesn't much matter that meat is insulinemic, since you'll only be getting around 25% of your calories from protein anyway. The important factor is that the rest of your calories will be coming from fat, which is in itself non-insulinemic (although any actual fat-foods you eat will produce a slight response, in the sense that even thinking about food produces a slight insulin response.

Taubes makes the connected point that the meat looks a lot more insulinemic on the chart, because they only use very lean meat. In addition, having fat with the protein will blunt the glucagon/insulin response, both by slowing digestion and because fatty acids in the bloodstream inhibits glucagon (obviously no need to release sugar into the blood if it's awash with fatty acid/ketoacids).

The glucagon is significant because it means that the insulinemic food won't have the same impact as carbohydrate. Whereas carbohydrate forces a rise and drop in blood sugar, glucagon ensures a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, so it won't have the same hunger-producing properties. [See image below].

This study also stresses how hyperglycemia rather than hyperinsulinemia is a problem to be avoided; although Taubes might stress that it is insulin that is at the centre of weight gain/loss, it's clear that high blood sugar produces its own separate problems (glycation etc). It also counts quite heavily against lactose/whey containing dairy, that it's so insulinemic.

insulin-elevation-from-low-carb-foods...what's-the-deal?

5
6b73f0c4b971e2dde7147920e329fe7f

(2041)

on February 16, 2010
at 01:26 AM

All food has an insulin response -- insulin is a central anabolic hormone. What is important is to have a low fasting insulin and low insulin averaged over the entire day. That paper shows the insulin AUC for the first 120 postprandial minutes, which only goes up to the end of gastric emptying. As foods are digested in the gut, lipids, proteins, and sugars are absorbed into the blood, triggering a second insulin response. I would be interested in seeing the AUC for those foods over a longer time span that included assimilation. More importantly, what is the effect of the regular consumption of those foods on average and fasting insulin?

Cebbef0c2525f8d16a4f738ab5e15536

(30)

on February 16, 2010
at 01:51 AM

Can you recommend any good research that discusses this in more detail? I frequent Whole Health Source and Paleonu, but I couldn't find much about this particular topic (Panu had a post about it, but I haven't tracked it down yet). Maybe an endocrinology textbook would be a good place to start? Thanks for the help.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on March 07, 2010
at 01:32 PM

Brant, poke around Dr William Davis's Heart Scan Blog... he's had several posts in the recent past on insulin responses, including one where he argues that a glucose monitor is the most important weight loss tool to have. Dr Davis is a cardiologist who has had great success treating patients with LC diet and supplements like Vit D rather than statins -- there's lots of good stuff to read there.

0
B4c2fa98eae5fc89f507afb0df54575e

on March 20, 2015
at 05:59 PM

Based on the latest food insulin index test data it appears that insulinogenic effects of dairy products (along with other foods) are explained by their carb, protein and fibre content.

0
4bd4e2fe6a095663f80c69656936e487

(744)

on February 14, 2013
at 09:25 PM

Processing protein requires sugar. That's why it's better to consume something sweet around the time one eats protein. Otherwise blood sugar goes down and the stress hormone cortisol is released to generate more sugar.

0
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on February 14, 2013
at 09:19 PM

im pretty sure its the type of proteins in cheese that effect blood sugar. protein can be turned into glucose as well.

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