The Insulin resistance diet is the holy grail in reversing and treating diabetes, but it is not as elusive as you may think. For the purpose of this article, when I refer to the insulin resistance diet, I imply a diet that helps to reduce or prevent insulin resistance and I use it interchangeably with a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.
“The Atkins Diet was the first mainstream insulin resistance diet”
You may remember the “Atkins” phenomenon that took the nation by storm in the 90s. The idea of a high fat insulin resistance diet that produced rapid and sustainable weight loss was seen as revolutionary and not surprisingly, was appealing to many. The truth however was that the diet was not the brainchild of Dr Atkins, but was instead first described over a century earlier.
When the Atkins diet became mainstream, many attacked its philosophy, claiming that it must be unhealthy as it contained so much fat and cholesterol. What is surprising however is that since then, science has proved much the opposite, and the high fat diet may actually prevent insulin resistance – The High Fat Insulin Resistance Diet. Believe it or not, sugar has long been known to be the main enemy, but the evidence just hasn’t been released to the public.
“Fat and protein are the main elements of the insulin resistance diet”
But surely it is eating fat that makes us fat? – This has been a misconception that has been around for over half a decade. Yes it is true that an increase in fat stores leads to us gaining weight, but it is not simply eating too much fat that leads to this. Once you start to understand what makes us store fat in our bodies, you start to realize why a high fat insulin resistance diet is ideal, and why carbohydrate is the real enemy.
In human beings, fat is the primary energy storage mechanism. One gram of fat yields twice as many calories as both carbohydrate or protein, so is the most efficient way of storing energy. Where people really went wrong was in assuming that it was eating fat that led to increases in fat stores and thinking that a high fat insulin resistance diet would result in weight gain.
The human body has an incredible ability to burn fat for energy. In fact the body preferentially burns fat most of the time, and only really requires sugar for explosive activities and for a few select organs such as the brain. So if we are so good at burning fat, why do we tend to store so much of it?
“Low carbohydrate is the key to the insulin resistance diet”
The problem arises when we bring carbohydrates (sugar) into the equation. From the moment we ingest sugar, we release hormones such as insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is an incredibly important hormone, but one of its effects is to signal the fuel systems in the body to cease burning fat and instead wholly rely on sugar. If that wasn’t bad enough, it then goes to all the fat cells in the body and tells them to increase the storing of fat! So how does the high fat insulin resistance diet help?
If you eat fat rich foods (like in the insulin resistance diet), the body burns the fat you eat and doesn’t tend to store it. If you however add some carbohydrate to the meal, the whole dynamic changes and the body burns only the carbohydrate you eat and diverts all the fat you eat to storage and you are far more likely to gain weight.
And that is not the end of it. Unlike the high fat insulin resistance diet, if you eat sugar, the body gets used to burning it and becomes very inefficient at burning fat. The brain also becomes addicted, and begins to crave it as soon as it hasn’t had it for a while. The more you eat the more your body wants. This leads to a situation where your body constantly wants sugar because it has forgotten how to burn fat and has also developed an addiction.
“The insulin resistance diet teaches your body how to burn fat 24/7”
The result is a vicious circle where the more sugar you ingest, the more fat you store, the more sugar you want so the more sugar you eat and so on, and the only result is weight gain. The high fat insulin resistance diet prevents this from occurring.
Some of you may be thinking that maybe you could just eat a diet of all sugar and no fat as then there would be no fat to store. Sadly this is not the case. The body can actually turn sugar into fat, so you would simply burn the sugar you need and store the rest as fat.
So hopefully you now understand why fat is not the enemy and why the high fat insulin resistance diet can be protective and aid weight loss, as well as realize the dangers of sugar. If you want to achieve and maintain a healthy bodyweight as well as fend off illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, maybe you should consider a high fat insulin resistance diet.
“Follow the insulin resistance diet to protect yourself from diabetes and heart disease”
In my next article I will go on to explain what you should eat in the “high fat insulin resistance diet” as well as discuss the common pitfalls and misconceptions.