Why Do I Keep Getting Fatter?
There are many key players in the process of fat metabolism, but one that dominates is insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls a lot of other hormones and enzymes that promote weight gain and fat storage. Two enzymes that are key players are called Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and Hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). LPL pulls fat out of the bloodstream and into cells (aid fat storage). HSL works inside the cell to release the fat (aids fat burn). Insulin activates LPL to store fat. Therefore, the more insulin we produce, the more active are your fat storers. (1)
Remember that the overall action of insulin is to stimulate fat storage and inhibit fat burn. (2) The good news is that the amount of insulin you have circulating in your body is something that you likely can significantly control. Thus, you can dictate how much fat you store if you can get insulin levels in check. By keeping your blood insulin levels low and steady, you allow HSL to release the fat that you can then burn, baby, burn!
On the other side of that coin, however, if your insulin levels are even slightly elevated, your body works to store fat. Insulin also tells your body to create new fat cells so you never run out of storage area, triggers the conversion of carbohydrates directly into fat, increases your “hunger” hormones, decreases your “full” hormones, and tells your liver not to burn fatty acids but repackage them in fat storage. (1)
In a nutshell, insulin is great at making you hungry and fat. Fortunately, there are many things that can be helpful in keeping your insulin levels low, such as:
1- Cutting sugar and grains out of your diet,
2- Watching total carb intake,
3- Timing your meals, and
4- Moderating your protein consumption (too much protein actually spikes insulin).
Try to incorporate these 4 steps to keep insulin levels low and maximum fat-burning potential activated!
- Taubes, Gary. Why We Get Fat. Anchor Books. 2010
- Nussey S, Whitehead S. Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach. Oxford: BIOS Scientific Publishers; 2001. Chapter 2, The endocrine pancreas. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK30/