Insulin is a very important hormone found in the body that deals with the uptake of sugar in the blood. For those of you who don’t understand the concept of insulin and how it relates to low carb diets I will break it down into simple terms.
When you digest carbohydrates (everything from sugar to starchy foods) your body breaks down these carbohydrates into simple sugars. The release of these sugars causes the body to release insulin as a means to lower the blood sugar. From that point depending on how much sugar is being released into the blood your body decides to do one of three things. Use the sugar as a source of energy or to store the sugar as a quick source of energy in the form of glycogen in muscles and the liver or store it as fat.
So what is this glycemic index thing I've heard about?
- First let’s take a look at what carbohydrates are. Carbohydrate is a fancy word for sugar molecules. They encompass everything from glucose to long chain carbohydrates which you would classify as starches.
So how does this relate to the glycemic index?
- The glycemic index is a method of determining how fast carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and released into the blood stream. To break this down into simple terms. The higher the glycemic index the faster sugar enters the blood stream. The lower the glycemic index the slower the sugar enters the blood stream.
So how does that relate to insulin and fat?
- The body releases insulin as a means of controlling the sugar in the blood stream. If your sugar levels stay high for to long you will eventually have side effects. This condition is called Diabetes. If the sugar levels spike in the blood, your body will raise insulin levels which will then attempt to store the sugar. Typically unless you are actively exercising the sugar will be converted into fat and stored for later use.
Now hopefully you understand why there has been such a craze over low carb diets.