Before we dive right into our main question how insulin and glucagon hormones are responsible for weight gain and weight loss. Let's see what exactly is Insulin and Glucagon in the body.✅
Insulin- this is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreatic islets and is responsible for regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat, and skeletal muscle cells.
Glucagon- this is a hormone produced by the alpha cells of the pancreatic islets and is responsible for triggering a release of stored glucose from the liver.
The hormones insulin and glucagon are both produced in the pancreas, but that’s where their similarities end. In fact, these hormones are antagonistic or inversely paired. Just like a see-saw, when one goes up, the other goes down and when one goes down, the other goes up. These two hormones also serve opposite functions.
Together, insulin and glucagon help maintain a state called homeostasis in which conditions inside the body remain steady. When blood sugar is too high, the pancreas secretes more insulin. When blood sugar levels drop, the pancreas releases glucagon to raise them.
In this article, we explain how to manipulate Insulin and Glucagon to help burn out all the fats.
👉 Insulin is a fat-storage and blocking hormone.
The job of insulin is to lower your blood sugar by shuttling glucose into the muscles and liver as a source of energy. When glucose is present in your bloodstream, insulin blocks access to your body’s fat reserves. After all, why burn fat, when you have sugar around? Insulin also causes the body store excess glucose as fat.
👉 Glucagon is a fat-burning and unlocking hormone.
Glucagon can actually raise your blood sugar by converting glycerol in your fat cells into glucose for fuel. Glucagon also signals the fat cells to release free fatty acids (a process called lipolysis). Glucagon signals the body to release stored fat to be used as fuel.
Numerous research studies illustrate the effects of these two opposing hormones. The simplest of these was featured in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology. In the study, researchers injected one group of rats with insulin and another group of rats with glucagon.
Surprisingly, the rats that received the insulin gained body fat and ate more. The rats that received the glucagon lost body fat ✅.
If you want to convert your body to a perpetual fat-burning state, it is essential that you keep your insulin and blood sugar levels low. That’s because burning sugar always takes precedence over burning fat. The more carbohydrates in your diet, the higher your blood sugar and insulin levels will be.
And in the end, being a “sugar burner” means you’ll end up being a “fat accumulator”.
But that’s not the worst of it, because once you get on the sugar-burning track, you’ve started a vicious cycle that’s hard to stop.
Since your body is accustomed to burning sugar for energy, as soon as it is shuttled out of the bloodstream (courtesy of insulin), your body will start begging for it again. As your blood sugar rises and subsequently crashes, you will become edgy, depressed and fatigued until those cravings are fed. When you feed those cravings with more carb-rich food, the cycle continues.
But guess what? There is a large segment of the population who are only concerned about shedding their "love handles.” Yes, most of these people will admit they're over-fat due to lack of physical activity and eating like it's Thanksgiving day multiple times per week. If taken to task, most people don't want to resemble an unshapely blob of protoplasm. They would rather look better, but they just don't know where to start to achieve that goal. On top of this, we all exist in a society where a plethora of high-calorie and/or low nutritional value food exists.
Wise decisions must be made by all, regardless of your goals.
Is it possible to eat your favorite foods, be happy, and attain your fitness goals simultaneously? Maybe. There are hundreds of diets and workout programs purportedly geared toward expunging body fat while enjoying your favorite foods. Many of them work, provided you actually adhere to their guidelines and remain disciplined with sensible calorie intake and exercise.
But here’s my advice if you are attempting to maximally lose body fat: maintain your blood sugar level between 70 mg/dl and 110 mg/dl. Do this, and all other factors being equal, you will burn more fat. Biologically, it comes down to your body's innate ability to regulate two hormones - insulin and glucagon - relative to dietary intake.
Insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas when your blood sugar levels are high.
So, following a meal that contains mostly high glycemic, fast-digesting carbohydrates, your blood sugar level may skyrocket well past the desired level of 110 mg/dl. This will facilitate storage of glucose (blood sugar) in the muscle tissues and especially fat cells.
Glucagon is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas when blood sugar is low. This primarily occurs between feedings and when exercising. Glucagon causes the liver to release stored energy into circulation.
As I mentioned earlier, the production of insulin and glucagon are like a see-saw. So the first thing you need to do to stimulate the production of glucagon is to reduce total carbohydrates in your diet and be sure those you choose are low glycemic.
But there’s another important step to crank up your body’s production of glucagon: Eat a protein-rich diet!
Protein directly stimulates the production of glucagon and sends the signal to your body that the “hunting is good” and it is safe to shed excess fat. Protein also promotes a long-lasting feeling of fullness, helping you to stay satisfied on a diet of fewer calories.
Here are the high quality protein sources you should choose from and include at every meal and snack:
The plan for shedding fat and keeping it off forever is very simple and requires no deprivation.
The key is to consume plenty of protein and healthy fats. And be sure that the carbs you choose are low glycemic and high in fiber. By eating this way, your hormonal state will shift from that of a “sugar burner” to a “fat burner.”
You will soon discover that you feel more satisfied on less food. Your between-meal cravings will subside. And best of all, your metabolism will fire on all cylinders, locking your body into a perpetual fat-burning state.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern whereby you skip at least one meal within a day and compress your eating window to a certain number of hours. This certainly does not mean a caloric reduction, just a re-structuring of your eating times so that you consume (most likely) the same amount of food within a smaller timeframe. It has been on the rise as the only sure way to reduce weight and sagging tummy.
Intermittent Fasting has been found to be a key strategy for reversing hormone related dysfunctions such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and thyroid disorders. Its popularity is on account of its reported results, which include a in decreased body fat, stabilization of bio-markers like blood glucose levels, insulin, blood pressure and cholesterol. It naturally complements the banting / low carb / ketogenic lifestyle and promotes more rapid results for fat burning and weight loss.
When you eat, you go into a “fed state”, which is when your body focuses attention and effort towards digesting food.
Typically, the fed state lasts for about five or so hours after you finished eating your last meal. At this stage, you insulin levels are elevated, and your body is in “storage“ mode as it cleans out all the sugars from your bloodstream and assimilates nutrients into your cells. Simply put, you cannot burn fat whilst your body is in the fed state. Your body is too busy digesting, assimilating and absorbing, to spend any amount of time burning fat.
You can Read More about: Foods to completely Avoid (or Limit) while on a Low-Carb Diet/ketogenic diet
Once out of the fed state and digestion and all its related processes have been completed, you go into a post-absorptive state, which is when your body is at rest from digestion, insulin levels are lowered and homeostasis is restored. About 8 – 12 hours after your last meal, you enter the “fasted” state.
In the fasted state (or while fasting), your body’s energy requirements increase, but the absence of food forces your body to search internally for energy reserves, in order to keep functioning. The first port of call is stored glycogen (let’s call it residual glucose) stored in your liver. Following the depletion of your glycogen stores, you body starts eating up your stored fat to fuel itself. Yes, your body eating its very own fat – who doesn’t want that?! This is the premise for the use and success of intermittent fasting techniques. If you reduce your eating window to allow your body to reach a fasted state after your last meal, you reduce your overall insulin load and are able to burn through your body fat on a daily basis. When we start eating soon after waking up, and continue eating until we go to sleep, we spend almost all our day in the fed state. Easy to see why, over time, we will gain weight. We have not allowed our body any time to burn food energy.
When you fast, several things happen to the cells and molecules in your body. Your body alters the balance of hormones in order to maintain homeostasis and make fat stores more accessible as an energy source. Your cells also initiate important repair processes and change the expression of genes.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone increases, which has the benefit of tissue and muscle repair, to name a few.
Insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically: Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible and is associated with reduced inflammation, cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside the cells.
There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease
Also, Important to Read:
- Insulin resistance – Intermittent fasting can reduce insulin resistance, lowering blood sugar by 3-6% and fasting insulin levels by 20-31%. Doing so also reduces the prevalance of type 2 diabetes.
- Inflammation – Intermittent fasting facilitates a reduction in inflammation markers, which are a key driver of many chronic diseases.
- Heart Health: Intermittent fasting may reduce LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease.
- Cancer – cancerous cells feed on glucose and a reduction in your blood glucose levels helps to control the growth of cancer cells as well as facilitate speedier recovery.
- Brain Health: Intermittent fasting increases a brain hormone called BDNF, and may also protect against the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Epilepsy
There are a number of different Intermittent fasting protocols that can be followed, to suit your goals and lifestyle. As with most things, there is no “right” way or “best” way, only suggestions on how you can adapt this eating approach and work it into your daily routine. Some popular protocols include:
This involves daily fasting for 16 hours, with an 8 hour window for eating, meaning you eat all your meals within an 8-hour time period and fast for the remaining 16 hours. For most people, this means skipping breakfast, although you could skip dinner as well. For example, you may eat all your meals within the time period of 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. Your fasted state takes place overnight while you sleep, going into the next morning.
This involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast. You might eat between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm every day and fast for the remaining 20 hours. The number of meals you consume within this window does not really matter and you would respond to your body’s needs.
24 hour (also called Warrior fasting)
This involves fasting from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch etc.). If you eat dinner on day 1, you would skip the next day’s breakfast and lunch and eat dinner again on day 2. This means that you are still eating daily, but only one large meal in a day
Alternate day – (also called the UpDayDownDay Diet by James Johnson)
On this protocol, you follow a 24-hour rotation of low-calorie intake and normal-calorie intake. You basically eat normally on one day, and skip all meals on the next day, to eat normally again on the third day, etc. You basically eat every 2 days, similarly to most species of untamed animals in the wilderness.
This approach was popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book ‘The Fast Diet’. This involves 5 regular eating days and 2 fasting days. However, on these two fasting days, you are allowed to eat a maximum of 500 calories each day. These calories can be consumed at any time during the day – either spread throughout the day or as a single meal.
If you would like to experiment with Intermittent fasting, start with skipping one meal a day (normally breakfast) and keep it up for at least a week to determine how you feel on the regimen. Once you are confident and have been assured that you will not indeed die, from skipping one meal, feel free to try out any of the other protocols to find the one that will best work with your lifestyle.