High Insulin Levels Stop Fat Loss and Cause Weight Gain

May 12, 2008

It is impossible to have high levels of insulin in your system while burning fat at the same time.

Think about that. If you eat a meal that has too high of a Glycemic Index, your blood sugar will spike, causing a large release in insulin. During this period of time your body cannot use fat for fuel (even if you are operating under a calorie deficit and even if you workout like crazy).

You can get everything else right and not make good progress if you allow your insulin levels to get out of whack.

high GI carbs

[I would highly recommend you avoid anything made with white flower while dieting down. It is okay once you hit your target weight, but try to avoid it to make quick progress.]

I Used to Think a Calorie Deficit Was Enough

A while back I used to think that as long as you burned more calories than what you ingested, you would lose weight. This is true to a point…you should lose weight under a calorie deficit.

The problem lies in the fact that if you eat a high G.I. carb, you may shut down the body’s ability to burn fat for several hours. Even if you do wind up losing weight, you aren’t following the quickest route to your goal.

A Quick Overview of Insulin

You probably know what insulin is, but if you don’t here is a quick summary: Insulin is a hormone that causes most of the body’s cells to take up glucose from the blood (including liver, muscle, and fat tissue cells), storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stops use of fat as an energy source.

When insulin is absent (or low), glucose is not taken up by most body cells and the body begins to use fat as an energy source.

Insulin and Carbs With a High (GI) Glycemic Index

The “Glycemic Index” ranks carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. The rating used to go from 0 to 100…sugar being the highest GI carbohydrate.

Now it goes from 0 to over 100…anything with a rating over 55 is consider a high GI. Carbs with a high GI raise blood glucose levels, which raise the release of Insulin. It is best to avoid high GI carbs when you are trying to burn body fat.

If you want to learn more about the glycemic index, go to… http://www.glycemicindex.com/

Examples of Foods That Cause High Levels of Insulin

White Rice (130)…Corn Muffin (102)…Cliff Bar (101)…Baked Potato (94)…Boiled Carrots (92)…Rice Crackers (91)…Gatorade (89)…Microwave Popcorn (89)…Rice Cakes (87)…Cornflakes (86)…Pretzels (83)…Power Bar (83)…Pizza (80)…Boiled Potato (78)…Cake Donuts (76)…Cream of Wheat (74)

Examples of Foods that Keep Insulin Levels Stable

Apple (28)…Orange (33)…Barley (25)…Grapefruit (25)…Peach (28)…Cherries (22)…Plum (24)…Most Beans (20’s)…Lentils (26)…Pure-proteinâ„¢ Bar (22)…Peanuts (13)…Raw Carrots (16)…Hummus (6)…Tortilla With Beans (28)…Slim-Fast® Chocolate Meal Replacement Bar (27)…Light Yogurt (20’s)…Cashews (25)…Dove® Dark Chocolate (28)

Most Vegetables Have a Zero GI Rating

For the most part, vegetables have a zero impact on blood sugar levels. The same goes with meat.

One of the reasons I’m a big fan of salad made with chicken breasts is that I know it will keep my insulin levels stable. If you want to lose weight rapidly, try replacing a lot of the high GI carbs you eat with vegetables. Eating lean meat with green vegetables is a simple approach to a lean body.

Now On to the Advanced Stuff About Insulin!

We got the basics out of the way. Here is the stuff that very few people know about high levels of insulin. If you have been skimming you way through this article, this is where you may want to slow down. But First a Video Intermission

[I’m kind of hooked on “Flight of the Conchords”. This video is hillarious. I can’t talk technical too long without “mixing it up” with random stuff like this. This song starts getting really funny (disturbing) at the one minute mark.]

Large Spikes in Insulin Can Cause Muscle Loss!

So insulin turns OFF the fat burning switch and turns ON the fat storage switch. This is bad enough, but it can also cause you to lose lean muscle. Here is how…when insulin brings down the blood sugar levels often times it “over-corrects” by causing low blood sugar.

The body normally combats low blood sugar by releasing energy from stored fat, but the high level of insulin will not allow this to happen. The only source of energy in this circumstance is protein. Your body will break down muscle protein when faced with this dilemma.

It is a bad situation…gaining fat while at the same time losing lean muscle. Not a good deal at all!

Women Are Even More Sensitive to The Effects of Insulin

Stubborn lower body fat reacts a bit differently than the rest of a fat on a woman’s body. Many women have very lean upper bodies compared to their lower body.

One of the reasons for this is that the fat on the lower part of the body is actually much more sensitive to insulin spikes than the upper body. Even the smallest increase in insulin will shut down a woman’s ability to burn fat on her lower body…What is crazy is that she still may be able to burn fat on her upper body.

The best way to combat this phenomenon is to keep insulin levels as stable as possible. This has HUGE implications if you are a woman trying to burn off lower body fat!

A Strategy I Use To Limit Insulin’s Negative Effect

Are you ever tired mid-morning or mid-day? This is a major sign that the food you ate caused a an insulin spike that “over-corrected”…causing low blood sugar (time to gain fat and possible lose muscle…not good).

Here is what I do…I eat small low GI meals for breakfast and lunch…and I eat the majority of my carbs after my afternoon workout.

After a workout, your body can handle a large spike in blood sugar since your muscles are starved to a certain extent. This is a great way to eat tasty carbs without the negative side effects.

Note: I have reached very low body fat levels by having a protein shake for breakfast, one for lunch, and eating a moderately high GI meal after my afternoon workout.

I typically do this for 3-4 weeks straight whenever I want to get extra lean.

I believe it works so well, because I don’t allow insulin to turn on the “Fat Storage” switch.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris May 12, 2008 at 4:18 am

Hey Rusty, great article. I had no idea that blood sugar levels effected how the body burns fat. It’s good to know. I’ve been coming to your site for a while now, and I’ve learned so much from you. Keep doing what you do.

Thanks alot, Chris

P.S. The Conchords are brilliant.

Steve P May 12, 2008 at 4:21 am

Hi Rusty,

There is new evidence emerging from recent studies that a low G.I. diet can actually prevent cardiovascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes if followed as a lifestyle, as well as keeping you slim. My girlfriend eats a low G.I. diet, and it really is very simple to follow once you know which foods to avoid, or how to combine foods. For example, beans with rice will create a medium G.I. meal, and often cooked foods will have a higher G.I. rating than raw, such as carrots.

One of the most well known and respected experts on G.I. is Michel Montignac, who has written excellent books such as ‘Eat yourself slim…and stay slim’. Here is a link to his website:

http://www.montignac.com/en/ig_pionnier.php

I’m really starting to get into this way of eating too, so I will be interested to see the effect on my body composition and fitness levels if I follow the low G.I. diet properly. Its really quite simple, eating foods in an unrefined state, and keeping high energy starchy foods like potatoes to small portions, avoiding processed wheatflour, eating brown rice rather than white.

What protein shake do you recommend? I would like to make my own, any ideas?

Baz May 12, 2008 at 5:40 am

Rusty,

I’m about to get into a froearm workout you told me about but before i do i wanted to ask you first;
I have herad that abs a muscle group that recover quickly so i should train them everyday, is this true? Same with my forearm workout. Should i train them everyday or every second day or so? I know not to train other muscle everyday but are these 2 an exception?

Thanks heaps mate

Done May 12, 2008 at 8:16 am

Hello Hun,

Nice post…. so now i know where ive gone wrong.. hehe 🙂

Just 2 questions…. What is the GI for Coffee and Granery Wholegrain Bread? Ive looked on that site and it doesnt seem to have it listed… or maybe ive just not been looking properly.

Is there something like an alternative to Pasta… something that looks like it and almosts tasts like it but doesnt have the same fat storage affect? Because this is my downfall…. if pasta is on the menu then its overs…. Im an absolute pasta fanatic!!!! Especially pasta and pesto…. mmmmmmmmmmmm Yum!

Thanks as always

xoxoxox

Doné

Raven May 12, 2008 at 8:31 am

Really helpful and important article Rusty.

When I came across The Zone diet is when I really started to realize that what you put in your body has a dramatic effect on how you look and feel when trying to eat right and lose fat. Most people know that eating too much sugar is bad for you, but I think that people are slowly starting to realize that our “traditional” diets based on agricultural staples like flour, rice and potatoes are not the most healthy.

I remember past diets I’d tried like Weight Watchers, which do a poor job distinguishing between nutrients and what your body needs, and all I managed to do was become “skinny-fat” by losing a lot of muscle and only some fat. I would look leaner but would still have a gut over my abs.

The Zone (even though it’s not perfect and the science may not be totally accurate) was the first diet where I saw actual drops in body fat with increased definition and little to no muscle loss. The lesson I took from that experience was to always make sure I have adequate protein and then watch the types of carbs I eat if I want to get leaner. Too bad our society is so full of processed, carbohydrate-based foods.

AFDerrick May 12, 2008 at 8:32 am

Alright Rusty, first comment, and maybe the most obvious. What is the difference between watching your GI foods and counting your carbs? Obviously high GI foods = high carb foods and low GI foods = low carb (for the most part).

Angie May 12, 2008 at 10:23 am

First off..where do you FIND those videos! My garsh! ;0)

Yes, sucks to be a woman! I have found that I have to eat higher GI carbs around my workouts, (which is early morning) and then just fibrous veggies for all my later meals. If I do anything different, I can tell with in days just by looking at my lower body. But it has now become a lifestyle for me that I no longer even want/or need those higher GI carbs!

Fitnessbuff May 12, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Done!

I would try spaghetti squash. Google ways of cooking it and use the same garnish as you would for pasta. Very yummy!

Ron May 12, 2008 at 3:40 pm

This is VERY good to know. Gotta start cutting out those weekend pizza’s.

By the way, I found out that my local grocery store actually has Mothership Wit beer. Can’t wait to try it this weekend. Tell me…do you drink it warm or chilled? I know that some countries prefer warm beer.

Also picked up some lovely Killian’s, in case I don’t like the MW.

Dan May 12, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Hi Rusty,

Great article as always. Just a quick one, what are the GI ratings of different alcohols? I have looked on the web and there are mixed thoughts about this. I know you should avoid alcohol when on a diet but its my weak point so it would be good to know!

Tim May 12, 2008 at 5:55 pm

rusty my
sister sent me these two links thebarmethod.com/fluidity.com because I told her i was trying to get less bulky and toned so she sent me these links I was wondering what your take is on this is ?

thanks

Tim

John Fit May 12, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Hahaha… Rusty,
Did we call each other this morning and go over our post because we posted the same friggin post at the same time.. haha.. This is funny.. Good stuff buddy.. I couldn’t agree with your more..
I feel like we showed up to the same nightly hot spot in the same outfit! Its ok though.. We have overlapping info. and the points are well made.. Insulin spikes and carbohydrate consumption need to be monitored..

John Fit (Wondering if Rusty’s peaking in my window down here in Florida! haha)

Matt May 12, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Rusty,

Thanks for the article. Would you mind chiming in on diet soda? I have heard a lot of bad stuff, some which I believe, some which I don’t. I would like to know what you think.

Thanks!!

Mark May 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Thanks for the useful information Rusty. A lot of it I already know as I am a type II diabetic. It’s tough to keep the weight off because my body is so sensitive to the effects of carbs. Exercise especially weight lifting seems to counteract some of the spikes in increased blood sugar levels. I have a question regarding your diet. When you ingest two protein shakes a day, how many grams of protein do you intake at a serving?

Thx

Sandy May 12, 2008 at 11:31 pm

Hi Rusty! I havent been out of pocket the past 2 weeks. It was great to get on your site and read another awesome article. Thanks so much! I agree with you wholeheartedly on the issue of eating high GI carbs. I used to think the same way you used to think. I thought as long as I worked out I could allow myself to eat some bad carbs. I didnt think it would effect my fat loss/weight loss.

Ive been changing the way ive been eating. Im eating fruits, veggies and lean protein for breakfast, lunch and then eating my dinner about 45 mins after my workout. I eat egg white omlettes with veggies or drink protein shakes for breakfast. Lunch, Im having veggies, chicken or a salad with chicken. I still watch it somewhat at dinner but i allow myself some healthy carbs.

Im working out at least 5 days most every week. I am noticing some differences in my body but im still not where i want to be. Im keeping at it though. I know the hard work will pay off.

Thanks again for you and this site!!!

Have a great week! (:

Sandy May 12, 2008 at 11:31 pm

OOPS I meant to say Ive been out of pocket…LOL

Gators May 13, 2008 at 12:11 am

Hey Rusty, how you been mate? off topic a little, i have a friend at work who wants to slim down a little, problem is she doesn’t eat b/c she thinks eating will make her bigger. her diet pretty much consists of protein shake for breakfast, nothing for lunch, 2 min noodles & sometimes veges for dinner and some vodka for desert!! that’s it! she gets on the treadmill about 5x per week. now, i know all about the exterior of the female body 🙂 lol, but the interior is a different story..so how should she go about slimming? her calories aren’t all that high except for the nightly vodka…any suggestions?

Done May 13, 2008 at 4:09 am

hehehe Thanks Dude

Ill give spaghetti squash a go – sounds lovely hehe
🙂

Julian May 13, 2008 at 5:23 am

Hey there Rusty.

Thanx 4 the great advise, i’ve lost a lot of weight, but it was not all fat, i’ve been exercising real hard and yet i get alot of platues in between.
I must admit that i love my sugar, but what u said is like total confirmation to me, because in the back of my mind i knew that my fatloss plateus everytime my sugar intake was high 4 the month, i also know that most the foods we eat are loaded with their own natural sugars like cabs.
But thanks to yr post, i now know 4 a fact that sugar is my holdback 4 my plateus, i’m gonna scale way down on my sugars and i’ll keep u informed of how this low sugar diet lifestyle is working 4 me.
Thanx 4 the great post once again.

jules May 13, 2008 at 6:19 am

Done,
Fitnessbuff beat me to the spaghetti squash suggestion – i love that it is so easy to cook, just poke holes in the rind with a knife and pop in the microwave whole (about 3 min/pound) then scrape the inside out. Tons of fiber, 35 cal per cooked half cup

BUT i’ve found Shirataki noodles are AMAZING. they have the look, feel, texture and well.. as close as you’re going to get without actually eating pasta, and the best part is that for 8oz there are 40 calories, 6 g of carbs – 4 of which are fiber, and
you can use the light laughing cow cheeses melted as an alfredo, throw them in a stir fry, pesto or marinara on them.
i love ’em

admin May 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

Chris,

Yep, it is best to keep your insulin levels in check as much as possible. It makes a massive difference in the results you get.

Steven P,

I like Myoplex the best. The large box that as pre-measured packs. Strawberry flavor has the best taste.

Baz,

I’m going to give you an interesting way of looking at this. As long as you don’t damage a muscle you can train it very often. If you avoid forced reps and keep the volume low you will not damage the muscle, so there isn’t much need for recovery…you can train the muscle group quite often. If you do “planks” for abs, there is almost zero damage. Planks are basically an isometric exercise that tone without breaking down and building the muscle. It is the perfect exercise for the abs. You could do these every day. Most forearm exercises can be done 3-4 times a week…possibly 5-6 times if you did just a few sets and didn’t come close to failure.

Done,

Like Fitnessbuff said, spaghetti squash might be a great alternative. As far as the GI for coffee, there isn’t a Glycemic Index…it is fine to drink. Most breads are pretty high…even whole grains. Limit breads until after your workout and you will be fine.

Raven,

A lot of the principles behind The Zone are great. The problem is that it is such a tightly structured diet that it is unrealistic to follow for the long term. Great principles to keep in mind and a step in the right direction.

AFDerrick,

This is a little different than counting your carbs, but similar. To me the most important aspect is timing when you eat certain types of carbs. I’m not saying you want to avoid these foods altogether. Just limit these foods when you are trying to reach your target weight. If you do eat these while dieting down, eat them right after your workout for the least amount of negative impact.

Angie,

You know you love the videos I post on this site 🙂 Women do have it rough when it comes to losing body fat. You seem to have the process down. Keep building that blog. It’s looking great!

Ron,

You are going to love Mothership Wit. If beer was made in Heaven it would taste like this. I love this stuff…make sure and drink it as cold as possible. It is very refreshing! Killians isn’t too bad either, but not as good as Mothership. You will see the light!

Dan,

I try to limit alcohol while dieting hard. If you do decide to have a few drinks save them for after your workout…obviously this is good advice in general, because it is hard to sprint on a treadmill after having a few drinks. For the record, I have a bottle of beer 2-3 times per week even while dieting hard. The trick is that I don’t eat much if anything during the day, workout hard on an empty stomach and then drink the beer 2-3 hours after my workout.

Tim,

I am all about taking the quickest route to getting lean. These two methods could possibly work, but take 3-4 times as long to get the results. Going into a tough HIIT workout on an empty stomach followed by 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio directly attacks the fat on your body in a MAJOR way. This is as direct as you get is you want to slim down and see muscle definition. Yoga, Pillates, The Bar Method, etc…burn small amounts of calories, but if someone was super strict on their diet they could still see results. It doesn’t really compare with the workouts I suggest here. These workout methods could build good posture and sculpt the muscle to a small extent, but they aren’t time efficient. For someone who absolutely can’t stand cardio they are an option.

John Fit,

I promise I’m not spying on you. It is just a timely thing to talk about with summer so close. Good stuff.

Matt,

I do have an article about diet soda. Here it is:
Diet Soda

Mark,

The shakes I was drinking had 42 grams of protein per serving. The great thing was that they were pretty low-cal for having that much protein. Myoplex is pretty darn good. I like the taste and the ingredients, etc.

Sandy,

Your diet is looking good. You should get great results.

Gators,

I’m not a protein junkie, but she needs more protein that that. Her dinner needs to have some high quality natural foods like veggies, fruit, and a protein source. Something along the lines of a chicken breast salad with rice vinegar dressing would be a good call. Make sure that girl eats at least a little.

Julian,

If you are dying to eat sugars, just eat them within an hour of a hard workout. I wouldn’t do this all the time, but it will allow you to eat sugary foods without making too much of an impact.

Jules,

I’ll try the Shirataki noodles. I don’t think I’ve ever had those. They sound great!

Rusty

mark May 13, 2008 at 1:39 pm

great again! I’ve heard tell that nutrasweet tho low cal might have a neg impact on insulin.. what you think?

Josh Xiong May 13, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Rusty,

I think it’d be really great if you did an article on plyometrics. From what I’ve heard, they’re pretty high intensity if you do them correctly and consistently. Also, they’re great for neuromuscular and functional strength. Of-course, this is all hearsay, and I’d be much more confident if I could get some confirmation from a trusted authority such as yourself haha.

Helder May 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Very good information Rusty. Since i’ve started to eat a low carb diet my body composition improved a lot, of course every 3/4 days i eat a high carb meal, to avoid feeling weak, but the key is on carbs, at least for the majority. I use to think that it had to do with fat, and i was always wondering why i couldn’t get that extra definition, since i had a almost zero fat diet. At that time i was lucky to start reading Vince Gironda articles and he knew a lot about nutrition, so that’s how i’ve learned that the key was in low GI foods. I believe that we should never stop to educate ourselves, there’s always so much to learn and share like you do Rusty. Once again a 5 star post.

Trevor May 13, 2008 at 5:28 pm

Hey…

You keep speaking of a calorie deficit….everything else aside, how large of a deficit is needed to see significant improvements?

All of the calorie calculators claim I should be eating 3000 calories a day to maintain my body weight, which just seems insane to me. I used to eat more than that, and now I’m eating about 2000 a day with a pretty intense 5-day a week training program….what do you think makes sense for someone who is 5′ 8″ 165?

Karen May 13, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Hey Rusty,

Wow I love your site! I just wanted to let you know that in Sept last year I was diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome-exactly what you have described. My body reacts to carbs with extremely high blood sugar. In Oct. I started a diet where I eliminated carbs but eat protein, veggies, and fruit and small amount of fat and I have lost 63 lbs. and counting! (with the help of your HIIT workout and I do take a diabetic drug to control my insulin) All the other diets like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, you name it I tried it, just didn’t work. I have been saying that someone needs to get the word out on this! I was very close to becoming diabetic-yikes and only found out why I couldn’t get the weight off when my Dr. checked my fasting blood sugars. Anyway—just wanted to tell you that I look forward to your posts as they always seem to be timely and on target! Thanks, Karen

Ron May 13, 2008 at 7:47 pm

I think I’ve asked this before, but what’s the difference between something like Myoplex M.R.P.s and making your own smoothie (fruits/yogurt/protein/milk/water)?

Jeff May 13, 2008 at 10:01 pm

I’m a bit confused on the coffee thing…I drink black coffee for an calorie-free energy spike. Will this boost my insulin levels-aka cause fat deposits?

Jennifer May 13, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Hi Rusty! I am back from Vegas…I had an amazing time!
I had lots of sugary drinks, which I’m sure are high on the GI index, but starting tomorrow I am going to work hard on sticking to the lower GI foods (i.e. lots of vegetables!)
I did stick to my workout when I was away and my hotel had a decent gym. One of the compliments I got when I was in Vegas is a group of people thought I was a dancer in one of the shows (I think this is a compliment…I’m not sure, but I will just say it was!) And no, it was not “that kind” of a show…or at least not really…
This just proves that the workout methods you recommend create a very lean, fit, body for women, even though I don’t do anywhere near the exercise a professional dancer would do.

Baz May 14, 2008 at 10:36 am

Rusty, Not sure if you have answered this before or written about it but quick question: Is it true that it is bad to eat a meal late(before bed). For someone who struggles putting on weight (muscle) but could get fat if i wanted to, sometimes i need to eat late at night around midnight before i go to bed becasue i get home late from work and can’t eat at work so in order to keep from getting really hungry while trying to fall asleep and waking up really hungry, i eat a meal at this time. Is this bad for me or is that a myth?

Thanks a million

admin May 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Mark,

I don’t buy it that artificial sweetners increase insulin levels. There are studies that go both ways. All I know is that I’ve hit 4% body fat while drinking 3-4 Diet Cokes each day. I have backed way off on the Diet soda for other reasons, but it didn’t seem to boost insulin levels for me at all…and I’m pretty sensitive to carbs.

Josh Xiong,

I haven’t done too much in the way of plyometrics for a long time. I will feature a post on them, but it will probably point to an expert in this field. I have no problem referring people to good sources of info, if I feel they will benefit from another person’s expertise.

Helder,

Thanks for the compliment on this post. You are very knowledgeable on this subject as well. For people who don’t know: Helder is starting his own Fitness Site. I encouraged him to do it, because he stays lean year round and knows a “thing or two” about staying lean and looking great.

Trevor,

I go a little extreme, but what I recommend gets results. My advice would be to go as low as 1,600 calories a day for a 3-4 days in a row and back to 2,000-2,500 calories once or twice a week. Do this until you get as lean as you want…then maintain at 2,000-2,500 calories most days. You have to adjust a bit depending upon your metabolism…but I don’t think you will get good results at all with 3,000 daily calories.

Karen,

I think the diets above have their place, but I am focused on “high level” results. Many people on the diets above are just excited to “not be fat”…I think people should aim for looking exceptional…not just average. I am pumped to hear that you are getting outstanding results!

Ron,

You can make your own smoothie. What I like about Myoplex is that you get a lot of nutrients with a low level of calories. Making your own would work well, but it will likely be higher in calories. If you go that route, just eat a bit less for dinner. It should work wither way. Have you tried the beer yet?

Jeff,

Coffee is great stuff and it won’t do anything with your insulin levels. Caffeine will actually allow you to burn more body fat. Here is a post I did on that:
How Caffeine Affects Fat Loss, Exercise Performance, and Health

Jennifer,

Hey party girl…glad you had a blast in Vegas. Obviously being compared to a dancer is a great compliment. Those women in Vegas look fantastic. These principles we talk about here work for men and women. I get requests to do more “women specific” posts, but for the most part these workouts produce the slim and lean look that both men and women desire. Pretty cool that your hotel had a nice gym!

Baz,

You can eat before bed, but keep the calories low. I know what you mean about not being able to fall asleep if you are hungry. I would recommend an apple and a few slices of cheese…or a cup of low calorie yogurt. These are things that I snack on before bed from time to time. You won’t get fat if you limit it. If you are able to eat 2 hours before bed time, you can eat quite a bit more than this.

Have a great one!

Rusty

Brad May 14, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Hey Rusty, I have a question about low carb diets or low carb cycles. I’ve read that they can give you bad breath if you do it for to long. Is that true! That would suck!
I’ve been doing some low carb cycling and I’m afraid of that happening to me. What do you know about this. Also, if this happens to someone on a low carb diet, is the bad breath thing permanent, or just until you start eating more carbs again?
Thanks Rusty, I love losing bodyfat but not that much!!!!!!!!!!

Ron May 14, 2008 at 6:04 pm

So would it be good to go with a regular myoplex MRP on workout days and a lite one on non-workout days? Or it doesn’t really matter?

And are these MRPs good for post-workout or would it be better to go with my own concoctions?

And what’s your opinion on Slimfast…I don’t really care to drink it (b/c I have a feeling it’s not very good for you), but it happens to be in the house.

On a side note…
I was doing some HIIT a week or two ago and some lady asked me what race I was trying to win. I thought that was funny. I shrugged and said, “the lose body fat race?” She told me I looked great. Personally, I think my clothes seem to hide quite a bit, but I thanked her anyway. She said something about not wanting to walk next to me cuz I’d put her to shame.

Haven’t tried the beer yet. Trying to save stuff like that for the weekends. I’ll definitely let you know. Looking forward to trying beer that seems to be made in Heaven.

Ron May 14, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Have you listened to Whitey yet?

TJ May 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Do you have any advice on what to do about headaches? Sometimes I go back to eating high carb for 1 or 2 days, but when I return to low carb I get headaches every single day!

Done May 15, 2008 at 5:24 am

Thanks so much Jules

Ill give them a go.. cos im having trouble finding Spaghetti Squash… I went into Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and whenever i ask for it… they look at me as if im an alien…

So my only hope is waitrose…. and the farmshop here isnt very good… so will try another one.

If anyone knows where i could find spaghetti squash – please let me know

Thanks alot people!

I love this site!!!

xoxoxoxox 🙂

Tesa May 15, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Great post Rusty! I’m currently trying to educate the rest of my family about insulin spikes (i’ve become the family nutritionist!). The only time I ever eat grains is when I have some kashi cereal or granola bar(low on the G.I.) but i’ve only been eating it for breakfast once or twice a week so that I won’t have carb loaded muscles when I work out. I try to go really low carb but I have to have some kashi to give me enough energy to run. I usually have some slimfast powder with skim milk for breakfast. It’s low on the G.I. and low in calories. Good stuff. I’m able to run three miles in 27 minutes now! I’m getting pretty good looking 🙂

HoldenC May 15, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Great post Rusty. I’m only now beginning to understand how much nutrition plays in getting/being fit. A little bit of knowledge and self-discipline up front pays off big in dividends later. A bit off-topic but I wanted your thoughts on my situation. I’ve gone from about 25% to 15% body fat in the last year (36 year-old male) or so from a combination of running, slight improvements to my diet and weight training. The difference has been amazing (I’ve needed an entirely new wardrobe, people who haven’t seen me in a while are amazed, my face looks totally different, etc…) but I’m looking at what’s next. Like just about everyone else who visits this forum, I would like to get down to below 10% body fat AND add some lean muscle mass/density/definition. Based on what I’ve read on your site, I gather that you would recommend that I first get to the body fat level that I’m looking for (I’ve got some fat remaining in my lower abs, chest, and triceps) while maintaining my muscle mass; and only then start building lean muscle mass? My rough plan was to go with a 500 calorie deficit per day while doing cardio (combo of steady-speed and HIIT on different days) 3-4 times per week. I do a modified 6-day split for lifting (chest, legs, biceps/triceps, abs, shoulders, back, abs again). Once I get to the fat level that I’m looking for I was planning on increasing my lifting (weight/volume with the same split), cutting back on cardio (once per week?), and increasing my calories to a slight caloric surplus based on my weight. What are your thoughts? I’ve been trying to lose fat AND gain muscle at the same time over the past few months with limited success (at least to my eye). Regards and great job my friend. I hope you realize how much we all appreciate your knowledge, insight and help.

admin May 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

Brad,

I think this applies more to a zero carb Atkins type diet that is high in fat. I don’t recommend this way of eating. Eat low carb, with healthy foods and you should be fine. Drink a lot of water if in doubt.

Ron,

Good deal on the HIIT. It works well, yet very few people do it. Kind of crazy. As far as the protein shakes go…If you want to make the tasty homemade ones, drink those after your workout…drink Myoplex on your non-workout days (good call on your part). Slimfast isn’t a high quality protein shake. There are hundreds that are better. It is marketed very well!

I wasn’t super-religious until I tasted this beer…then I realized there must be a god. I went over to Youtube and I’m listening to Whitey as I type this. I LOVE this group. The singer sounds like the main singer of The Stone Roses…who I think has a great voice. I may download their cd on iTunes…I am in need of some new music. I am going to post the Visa commercial here with Non-Stop by Whitey.


[Here is a video for the girls with a naked man running to one of Whitey’s songs]

TJ,

You may want to go a bit higher in carbs. There isn’t a diet in the world that makes it worth it to have headaches. You will just need to add a bit more cardio to make up for it.

Tesa,

Heck yeah…we want everyone to become more attractive! Great to hear you are doing so well!

HoldenC,

I like your plan. The main thing that is extremely important is that you want to just have a “slight” surplus of calories when you are trying to build muscles. Your muscle gaining workouts will have many more sets and reps. Keep the reps and volume low for now and kick butt on cardio until you get around 8-10% body fat. Then go on to your gaining routine.

Great comments everyone!

Rusty

Bill Shankly May 16, 2008 at 12:07 am

Hey Rusty,

What do you think of this ROM machine? Exercise in 4 Mins
http://www.fastexercise.com

Is it a scam?

Ron May 16, 2008 at 1:21 am

I really recommend the song “Wrap It Up.” Like that one a lot. Had no idea he did a Visa commercial. Looks like Electro is getting pretty popular, just as I figured. Time to seek out the next great thing (and keep listening to the old great things too, of course – I’m no dummy).

Eleni May 16, 2008 at 10:51 am

hey rusty!
u hit the nail on the head! that’s me. i do the perfect workout, circuits 3 days, hiit 2 days and one day long runs. but i put a tbsp of sugar in my coffee immediately after a workout and usually have something sweet after every other meal.
i also have been snacking on these fruit and nut bars (Larabar and andrew weil), and i noticed that my weight hasn’t budged despite staying around 1700 calories (if i burn 500 calories).
so after reading your post, i tried to find more information in a book but i can’t seem to pick one. do u recommend any one in particular?
thank u 4 shedding some light!
ps maybe that’s why my bf is so high??? duh!!

Bill Shankly May 16, 2008 at 11:19 am

Hi Rusty,

I dont know if you remember but I wrote you in January, when I was 170lbs and 16% bf. Now I am 150lbs and 11% bf. I am 6ft tall and I am ectomorph. Still cant really see my abs yet, but everyone is saying that I am too thin and that my face has sunken in. I know i have lost muscle mass since i cant lift as much as I did before.

Do I need to go and gain weight now? But I am scared I will put on fat. What exercise regimen should i use?

My regimen is

Day 1 – WEIGHTS_ 30mins weights 5×5 reps x 5exercises
Day2- CARDIO -HIIT -15mins, 10mins stairmaster, 20mins ellipical
Day 3- REST
Day 4- CARDIO
Day5- WEIGHTS
Day 6- Rest
Day 7- CARDIO

Km May 17, 2008 at 10:24 am

I read up on this interesting article that talks about ammonia-scented sweat after an intense workout. If this is the case, then it means that your body is dipping into protein sources for energy as it has depleted itself of carbs. What’s your take Rusty? I think this is a pretty useful indicator as to tell whether your body is in a carb-depleted state or not, especially if you’re working hard on cardio to get really lean. NOTE: Another health article states that ammonia-scented sweat could also indicate liver or kidney disease…

http://www.starling-fitness…ammonia-scented-sweat/

http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/DS/00305.html

admin May 18, 2008 at 2:22 am

Bill,

The ROM machine addresses one of the ways to get lean…measuring the oxygen consumption of a cardio workout. A large oxygen consumption burns calories. This large calorie burn can help you lose fat by creating a larger calorie deficit…burning off more calories through your basal metabolic and exercise than what you ingest.

The ROM machine uses a high amount of oxygen in a short period of time. It is a strategic way to burn calories in a short period of time. It isn’t bad in that regard…although it is very expensive. I suggest 10-15 minutes of “old school” cardio to get the same effect, but I don’t tell you to stop there…

I also suggest that you try to use fat energy “while you workout” as well. This is what lower intensity steady state cardio does. There isn’t a way of doing this in a short period of time, because at a high intensity level…you are switching over to oxygen consumption as a way to measure progress. The ROM machine doesn’t address this way of burning fat at all.

Another reason I’m not super enthusiastic about the ROM machine. I encourage people to get “functionally fit” as well…the ability to actually be a fit person who can run a few miles, sprint, etc. My advice…save your money. The ROM machine is a breakthrough, but I wouldn’t recommend it for most people.

Ron,

I’m a sucker for the alt-rock and electro combo…Kasabian is good, Bravery, Shiny Toy Guns, etc.

Eleni,

You really have to back off the sweets and carbs a bit. I’d also suggest going lower in calories quite a bit of the time. Here are some names to lookup in Google. Articles by these guys will keep you busy for a while with good info…Lyle McDonald, Ori Hofmekler, Christian Finn, Tom Venuto. I’ve been reading a lot of Lyle McDonald recently. Google his name and dig in deep. He has great stuff.

Bill,

If you are working out 5 days a week…why not lift all 5 of those days and include 20-30 minutes of cardio 3 days a week right after. You probably do need to lift more and back off on cardio for a while if you are a big time ectomorph. Try this…

Day1: Chest, Back, Abs, 30 minutes Cardio
Day2: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps
Day3: off
Day4: Chest, Back, Abs, 30 minutes Cardio
Day 5: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps
Day 6: 60 minutes of Cardio
Day 7: off

I think this would work for someone in your position.

KM,

Great links. I certainly think that odd body odor means that something is wrong. I am certainly not an expert on this subject, but I have gone very, very low in carbs and have done pretty intense cardio without smelling like ammonia. These are great resources for someone with this issue.

Cheers,

Rusty

Bill Shankly May 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

Thanks Rusty. Great comments as usual.

Eleni May 18, 2008 at 8:37 pm

thank you again, Rusty, for the great advice! I didnt know those guys discussed the GI diet. My dad is a diabetic too so I really need to watch. I will keep you updated on my progress!
eleni

gerald May 26, 2008 at 11:29 am

HI rusty!

On a recent trip to italy, I’ve noticed that italian diet is all carbs and high glycemic index foods: pasta,pizza & gelato.. and yet most italians are not fat! and most don’t even workout!
Could it be their genetics?

admin May 28, 2008 at 2:17 am

Gerald,

A lot of the reason Italians don’t gain weight is that they don’t eat as many meals as we do in the U.S. and many other countries. Their dinner portion sizes can be big, but their overall daily calories are low due to not eating big meals all day long.

Rusty

Daisy May 29, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Hello Rusty!
WOW, talk about digging deep….ever since I found your article about the IF lifestyle while googleing “how to drop 7 lbs in 2 weeks” I’ve been addicted to your blog! I should be studying for finals but hours just pass reading all this info.

OK, so here goes. I’m 5’3, 125, muscular legs and arms, and have been trying to get the ever elusive flat stomach since I was 15.
I’m now 24. I’ve done Yoga, Pilates, Strength training, the ABS diet, and now getting big on the cardio although I HATE it. I can drop down to about 118 if I stay really motivated and work out like a mad women for 3 months straight…which I did last summer when I was unemployed. My breasts got small, my thighs, and my face, but my damn pudge, smaller yes, but still there….it just wont go! I want my skin to stick to my my abs, I have that disgusting layer over them. I feel pretty fit already, but I like to look mind blowing half naked too!

I also have congenital heart disease which basically due to an underdeveloped heart, my heart works double time when I get physical. My relaxed BPM are around 98, but as soon as I begin doing some light exercise it jumps up high! I try to push myself to sweat but I get tired sooo quickly that i have to stop often to catch my breath and slow down my heart. I want to try the HIIT! I have a trip to Vegas in 2 weeks and want to shape up quickly. I began the IF yesterday and ate 1100 calories, I was trying to stay @ 1000, but I mis calculated and ate a few too many almonds. Darn! I have no problem fasting and working out on an empty stomach since I usually do that ’cause I’m always running late to school that I don’t have a chance to eat. So my second day and I’m doing well. I just had 1 cup of cheerios with half a cup of soy milk….are the cheerios bad?

Finally, my last dilemma…I moved from California to NY to live with my fiance, he’s Italian. It’s Sunday dinner every week that screws me up. Every Sunday they open the homemade wine, baked ziti, veal marsala, prosciutto and mozzarella, and we go through like 2 rolls of Italian bread! My mother in law pores olive oil over EVERYTHING! Then we always have desert, usually fruits, but on special occasions its cakes. Espresso with sugar! I try to limit most of it and stick to some meat and salad, but then I get the evil eye from the aunts and they start telling me I wasn’t so picky when I moved there, why the change all of a sudden. I try to explain my goals, but they just laugh as if I’m joking and argue that as long as I work out every day I can eat whatever I want! Of course they have no idea how hard this is since they’re all about 100 lbs and my boyfriend eats like a pig and still keeps a gorgeous body only working out a couple times a week.

I need some advice…oh and sorry about the loooong post.

Daisy

admin May 30, 2008 at 12:10 am

Daisy,

First off…I clicked on your name and went to your MySpace page. You look amazing! I swear I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many readers here are models or look like models in your case.

Okay…on to your questions. Since you have a heart condition you are going to have to attack your weight loss a bit more from diet and less from cardio. Obviously you still want to do cardio, you will just have to be a bit tighter with your diet.

Here is what you should do…go extra low carb on Friday and Saturday. You want to go into Sunday carb-depleted, so eating excess carbs will have less of an impact. Also…before going over to Sunday dinner, eat a large Fuji apple and some sort of seltzer water. The pectin from the apple will expand with the water and you will be full before the feast begins…you won’t be able to eat a ton even if you wanted to.

Hope that helps!

Rusty

rome June 2, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Rusty, question regarding insulin spikes:
I work out in the morning, and follow it an hour later with a protein shake, and 1/2apple, 1/2 orange(or grapefruit), and some berries.
The fruit varies, but thats roughly what it is most of the time.

Is it bad if I have the remaining 1/2s of the above fruit later during the day (say at bout 2-3pm)? i.e. Will there be an insulin spike?

My main meal is usually between 6-8pm.

admin June 2, 2008 at 11:42 pm

Rome,

Fruit is a good carb that won’t spike your blood sugar levels. I used to think it would as well, but it provides steady energy. You can eat the other bit of fruit at 2-3 pm. Read this post about this amazing food:

Incredible Fruit Facts: Why Fruit Should Be A MUCH Larger Part of Your Diet!

Rusty

Barry June 7, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Hi Rusty. Correct me if I am wrong, but high insulin levels without a caloric surplus won’t cause weight gain. Conversely, a caloric surplus even with very low insulin levels will result in weight gain.

Barry June 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Also, I am sure you’re familiar with Alan Aragon. He regards the GI as an irrelevant way to measure the worth of a given food.

After all I believe that the GI is based on fasted subjects who consume the food in question alone.

I’ve pointed this out at other forums (Mark’s Daily Apple for instance) where they go on and on about the GI.

Nobody eats a baked potato in a fasted state all by itself. They usually combine it with fats and protein, the way I plan to do in a few hours when I eat a big juicy steak with a baked potato.

What do you think?

admin June 8, 2008 at 3:33 am

Barry,

What is tough here is that when your insulin levels are too high your body won’t use body fat for energy. You still can lose a bit of weight with “up and down” insulin levels if the calorie deficit is high enough, but you will lose more if the insulin levels are held stable with the same calorie deficit.

The calorie deficit does play an important role…but more weight will be lost if the insulin is held at stable levels -vs- up and down spikes.

You are correct about combining high GI foods with fats and proteins to lower the total GI of the meal. This is a great strategy. The problem is when people eat a baked potato without butter or protein or something like “rice cakes” as a snack.

Great points,

Rusty

One more thing…there are some major benefits of insuring insulin levels are stable before working out. A lot of people sabotage their fat loss efforts by drinking sports drinks before exercising.

Phil June 16, 2008 at 9:12 am

I’m confused about something, say something like Lentils which are high in carbs but low in sugar, can you eat them at any time of the day?

Should you still limit your carb intake if sugar levels are low or are low GI carbs ok?

Do you still have to worry about Fat/Carb levels if calories are low?

Done June 26, 2008 at 8:24 am

Hello Rusty!

Did you have a good holiday…. you should load up some photos!!! Congrates on your site – it is, by far, definately the best one!!!! No other site comes close…

Im a little confused 🙂

Im cutting out sugar and carbs (to min insulin levels for fat loss and ive bought Yohimbine and Caffeine as well)

But i just see sugar everywhere… for eg. in the ingredients section – it will list sugar. but then in the nutritional bit – it will say.. carbs = so much grams – of which sugars = this much. (example natural yogert) Then sometimes it wont list sugar in the ingredients part – but will still show it coming from the carbs… Good example here is fruits. ( i know fruit is always good… but cant think of any other examples at the moment)

So im not to sure which is safe to eat, because yogert apparently doesnt spike your insulin level – but it still lists sugar as ingredient.

Also…. ive been battling to find the GI value of peanut butter (since i love the stuff so much) and i found this atlast…

*********
Combining high GI foods with low GI foods will also reduce the speed at which sugar is released in your blood. For instance, if you ate a rice cake (GI = 99) you would have an insulin spike because the rice cake is converted into sugar very fast. However, if you had a tablespoon of peanut butter (GI = 15) with your rice cake, the total GI of the meal is only 57. Yes, the peanut butter adds more calories to the meal, but because you have less insulin in the blood those calories are more likely to be burned instead of being stored as fat.
**********
Is this true?

And my finale question (sorry but you’ve been away for so long hehe 🙂 )
Ive started taking the yohimbine this week mixed with caffeine and im telling you – im buzzing hehehe 🙂
But it only states to take it 30-60min before training… but what about the days off? Can you take it in the morning as well – or should you only take it when you going to gym?

Thanks man – you’re an absolute star – as always!!!!

xoxoxox 🙂

Cheers
Doné

admin June 29, 2008 at 2:23 am

Phil,

You will be good if you keep the GI levels low, even if the carbs are high…just make sure that you burn more calories than you eat each day. For quickest fat loss results don’t touch a calorie 4-5 hours before working out.

Doné,

I’ll show some photos as soon as my girlfriend gets the camera downloaded. Thanks for the compliments.

What you want to avoid is just sugars and high GI carbs by themselves. You can combine protein and a bit of fat to lower the GI of any food you eat. A good rule of thumb is to not eat carbs by themselves, with the exception of fruit.

Fruit is a different animal because the fiber slows the absorption of the carbs. You could take yohimbe every day as long as it doesn’t make you feel too jittery. Yohimbe actually is a substance that actually works better over time. It is slightly unique in this way.

You are a star!

Rusty

Gigi July 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Hello Rusty,
I’m new to your site and have read quite a few comments in search for the answers to my questions. I’m really confused about so many things I’ve read. So let me just ask specifically my questions about losing weight and working out. Please excuse me if you’ve heard all this before, but I really need some answers once and for all.
I am 5’2′ weigh 195 pounds. Yes, obviously I have a lot of weight to lose! : ) I’ve done a lot of yo-yo dieting throughout the years and as a result have lost muscle and gained more fat EVERYWHERE. I’ve been diligently working out 5-6 days a week after reading that it takes 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. Here is a sample of a typical week at the gym:
day 1: 30 min. circuit training, arms & back (15 reps, 4-5 sets @ 10-20 lbs)
45 – 60 min. interval program (level 1 & 8) on elliptical

day 2: 30 min. circuit, legs (same as arms, but 20-50 lbs),
45 – 60 min. interval program (level 1 & 8) on elliptical

day 3 – 6: alternate and repeat day 1 & 2

day 7: OFF

I really want to be healthy and lose the excess weight once and for all. I’m really confused if maybe I’m working out in the right way to lose weight steadily (and quickly) and to gain muscle tone at the same time. (is this even possible???) What is also the best way to eat? I’ve cut down my portions and trying to eat 5 mini-meals. Trying to cut down on bad carbs, but I admit not always successful! Do I have to worry about food combinations?
I’ve also noticed the “ammonia sweat smell” after working out. Is this a bad thing and I’m I really losing muscle???
Sorry for all the questions, but I’ve heard so many different things and don’t know which way to move forward. I’ve bought every infommercial product imagineable and like the Michael Thurmond the best, but can’t deal with not having sodium in my food.
I need some guidance, please help!!!

Frustrated and lost,

gigi

Lurker September 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Hey Rusty,

I’ve read many different sites about the “right” time to eat meals (including yours of course). There has always been one thing that bothered me about this idea: wouldn’t I burn the same number of calories no matter when I ate?

Let me just elaborate a bit:

If I followed your suggestion (i.e., not eating before exercising), then I’m burning fat when I exercise. However, I would still need energy for the rest of the day, which would presumably come from the food I ate after exercising.

But, lets say I went against your suggestion (i.e., eat a meal and then exercise soon after). Then I’m burning off the energy in the food I just ate during the exercise. However, I would still need energy for the rest of the day, so where would I get this energy? If we make a simplifying assumption that my food provided exactly enough energy for my workout, then wouldn’t my body turn to burning fat to get the necessary energy?

In a given day, I would think that my body uses the same number of calories regardless of when I ate. As well, I would think that the number of calories I ingest is independent of when I ingest them (e.g., a Big Mac is 540 calories whether I eat it in the morning or afternoon). If we assume that I consume the same amount of food either way, and exercise the same amount either way, then it seems (calories_in – calories_out = constant).

Just to be clear, I’m not picking on you, this is just a question that I’ve always had about the idea of a “right” time to eat meals.

Thanks,
Lurker

C November 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Hi! I’m finding your page to be soo informative. Kind of answers my questions of why I have such a high body fat % (obese?) but only look slightly chubby. Can you please post a typical day’s diet? I eat 3 meals a day plus usually 2 snacks. Thoughts? What would be “typical”??? Thanks!

Tom December 24, 2008 at 12:23 pm

This is pretty spot-on although I question your advising people to eat carb-heavy foods at night, post workout. I personally have found that if I am going to eat carb-heavy fooods that lead to an insulin spike, it is best to do so in the early hours of the day. Eating them at night, in my opinion, is not the best idea and I try very had to limit carbs at night.

That said, you obviously know your stuff and walk the talk, so to speak, so I guess it is really a “to each his own” kind of thing. I just don’t find it works for men when really trying to lean out.

Tom

Katelyn September 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

This is why I eat a zero carb diet. Meat only. No need to count carbs, eat 6 meals a day, care about the GI index. No carbs are needed for endurance or weightlifting. I do intense weightlifting and cardio intervals 4 days a week on zero carbs. I am 5’4″ and 100 lbs., flat, lean stomach and I have defined shoulders, triceps and biceps. I would advise everyone to ditch carbs, eat only protein and fat (mostly saturated). Your energy will skyrocket (the body prefers fat not carbs for energy) and you will get super lean while RETAINING muscle mass.

Mike January 8, 2010 at 2:47 am

I wonder if I can run a four hour glucose tolerance test on you guys? LOL that’s fantastic. Glamorous. My family typically runs with autoimmune deficiencies; while mine is spiked as a result of my active lifestyle (and spiked immune system). I believe in working hard, that’s how I condition and still after sports and the Army — even if the stress levels produces that fat hormone (which I need to get checked). Today, I’m being checked for pancreas cancer. What I do know – in contrast to my pessimism – is that you probably are [not] glucose intolerant because you exercise. Its obvious, because you are all so cheerio; the opposite may, symptomatically, constitute a hypoglycemic problem (o’ vanity). What a wonderful wright – to think I was allowing myself to get fat drinking beer, and spiking my insulin levels; because I was doing nothing. Watch out for hyperthyroid. Blessings.

Michelle January 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

Where can I find the list of foods that are Low GI?

Keith February 13, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Rusty, would you say you changed your view on insulin by now. People such as John BArban and Brad Pilon both state that insulin does that matter at all, and that you will lose weight even if you eat white bread all day long, as long as you are in a caloric deficit.

Veronica Guzman April 28, 2010 at 2:32 am

I was just a told that I should lower my insulin in order to loose weight, and correct a few other health issues, but they didn’t explain why or how. Mind you, this was a physician.

Thank you for writing this article! It was very informative in my search on how to lower my insulin. Much appreciated…

Michael August 31, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Rusty, I have a couple of questions that I would appreciate if you could please answer:

1) What does the body burn when insulin levels are high? If you would normally burn say 50 kcals in an hour, but your insulin levels are high, what would you be burning instead? Surely the body needs energy from somewhere?

2) Why do bodybuilders take exogenous insulin if it burns muscle?

If you could also respond to Keith’s comment then that would be great. Cheers.

Donna December 9, 2010 at 1:33 am

Hello Rusty, I just happened on to this site , So glad I did, I have been dieting for about five years and can not lose weight so nagging the doctors on WHY I can’t lose weight and she ran lots of test and just came back with this high insulin and put me on Metforman . I am lost on what diet is best for me and I know nothing about the GI diet or what to do. I could sure use some help as I am discouraged.
Thanks Happy Holidays Much appreciated !!!!

Brack Smith February 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm

We have started to avoid white bread in our house. Just this simple adjustment has been extremely beneficial to our family. It has made going to our local seafood possible since they do wheat noodles with most of their dishes.

Sarah August 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I don’t know if anybody stil even reads this, much less comment, but I need some help. I’m 18 years old, 5’8″, a size 16, and a former gymnast. I’ve had knee reconstructive surgery, diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and recently have been told my insulin levels are 7x higher than a normal person, however my blood sugar is perfect.

I need help. I’ve been trying and trying to lose weight.. I reduce my carb intake drastically, and replace it with forms of chicken and green vegetables such as peas and green beans. I go to the gym for a 20 minute aerobic workout 3x a week, but I’m not seeing any results. I’ve been overweight since I was 12, and I want to be a size 6. If anybody knows how to help with these ridiculously high insulin levels and losing a lot of body fat, please help me!

Kyung October 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Re: Sara;

Peas and green beans are great veggies, but in moderation. You should probably opt for broccoli, and leafy veggies instead. I’m not sure if it would make a huge difference, but it’s a suggestion.

Karen October 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I was recently tested and my insulin level is 48, which is really high. I am scheduled to do more test this coming week. However, I started a no carb diet since I found out about my insulin level and I feel better. I think this article is the best I have read so far. It is very clear and I so can relate.
Thank you for putting this out.

TRIGYY November 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

once again. the insulin level most important in our life.. 🙂

crossfitgirl December 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

This is a great article! I eat paleo but I still was not losing weight because I was eating dried and fresh fruit. I had my blood glucose levels tested and it was 41 after two hours! That is almost coma! My body was so stinker sensitive to carbs that it spiked my insulin so high. No wonder I couldn’t lose weight! Its definitely not calories in calories out. I’m an athlete and train harder and more frequently than a lot of people but it just shows how nutrition is 98% of the equation. I try to get this through my client’s heads but they still struggle with the concept. For sarah I’ve learned that I cannot compare the “healthy diets” of others with my body. For me I literally have to eat plain chicken and lettuce. Most people would lose weight if they ate half as well as me but for my body i have to be extra strict! Its hard but it can be done. What’s healthy for one person may not be for another. Try sticking to only leafy greens and lean protein. Try limited amounts of good fat like olive oil and coconut oil. Paleo is a good way to start!

Ios On Android Phone January 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’ve noticed that italian diet is all carbs and high glycemic index foods: pasta,pizza & gelato.. and yet most italians are not fat! and most don’t even workout!

Bob February 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Wow!!!!!! What an eye opener. I appreciated your content on insulin and the glycemic index. I have hypoglycemia and have learned how to balance proteins, carbs and fats to a certain extent. Your content has confirmed what I always suspected but could never really verify. I didn’t start loosing weight until I cut out white flower, rice, and white potatoes. Now I understand why.
Thanks, Bob Williams

Lee April 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Hi..I’m new to this site..I have been a type 2 since 1998, thats not to say maybe before..I had dropped down from 205 to 156..About 3 years ago I dropped down to under 115..I went from exercise to glyberide to metformin..When I dropped down to under 115 my Doctor at the time listened to what I had to say told me to go to the hospital and talk to some lady who told me I was too skinny and got me on insulin..I have blossomed out and cannot stand to look at myself in the mirror..I have no desire to go out or travel with my husband..I could go on but cannot see for tears..I need to know what I should bve eating as I have tried every diet out there..

Brianna May 2, 2012 at 8:46 am

You all should watch the Documentary Fat Head… It was very good and give very good information.

David May 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Hi, Very interesting article, in fact I would say this provides a perfect reason to understand my problem. You see I have an Insulin problem in that I am pre Diabetic or Syndrome X. This means my body produces too much insulin and I have become insulin resistant. I eat well but my blood sugar spikes at every opportunity and I have become bloated and mildly obese without any means of controlling this. I have gone from a lean muscular frame to an obese flabby frame in 5 years weighing in at around 2225 lbs. I think this article will help me now try and understand how to turn the fat burning back on. so thank you very much.

sahil June 10, 2012 at 5:18 am

i have a insulin level of 52.96
can you tell me what to do?
i’m tired searching the doctors medications?

Brenda June 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Hi there, I found your site very educational and interesting. As I read through your info and answers to some of the questions I started to understand more about how my body works. Thanks for that, it does make sense now that I see it the right way. I am wondering though, is there a natural “pill form” that I can take to reduce my insolin level?

Hope to hear from you soon!

Nick June 21, 2012 at 12:34 am

Hi,

I just found out that i have high insulin level…41% to be exact. Now I’m taking a medicine called the Glucopage. I have been reading a lot of articles and research saying that there are a lot of side effect of Glucopage. It is safe to take Glucopage at the age of 28yrs old?

Further, I been reading this one articles by some Doctors in US…they say that the danger of having a high level of insulin could have a high risk of breast cancer. Is this true?

Please help, I am scared! ;(

alli June 22, 2012 at 4:21 am

Hi, Rusty!
Thank you so much for this information–carbohydrates and insulin levels get so confusing for me.

i really like your tip about consuming the majority of carbs after the afternoon workout, because i always feel that need for carbs then, and I worried about that affecting my weight goals. I’ve been trying for a more lean body, focusing on muscle gain and healthy fat loss, but it’s been a real pain–I gained a sudden about of weight after being put on the birth control pill, and now I’ll lose a little bit of that weight, then lose sight of my goals (usually in a sugar craving of some sort) and gain most of it back. i’m really hoping that your tips will help–

After ready this article, I had a breakfast consisting of two small to medium sized eggs with a little bit of skim milk in them, lettuce and blueberries. Am I on the right track? Also, what are your takes on the green tea and coffee fads to lose weight, as long as they don’t have added sugar? How about splenda?

Joe Koppel June 22, 2012 at 9:53 am

Like your article about high insulin. Blood sugar and diabetes is out of controls from all this junk we eat made from white flour.
Nice article!

Naomi June 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Good evening! The messages that I have read are old, I am not even sure if you still read this section, however I sure hope so! My son was told today from his doctor that a 600 calorie diet would basically cure or do away with diabetes…..so if that is true, how could I not at least investigate that opinion. So my question is: I take insulin every day… I would like to know how would my body would react if I reduce high GI carbs thus reducing my overall calorie intake. (Reducing the amount of insulin as needed) The truth of the matter is, I have lost muscle tone and I do deal with being tired, however I am not a young chic either. So what should I try- to get a better lifestyle, it seems the usual medical or social opinion is just go ahead and eat and off set it by taking insulin. Which, by the way is not much fun! Thank You for your insight!

paddy June 29, 2012 at 4:44 am

Let see if I understand all this right – Try to have Low GI food at all the time except after training where all glucose will go into the blood/muscle etc… as you have depleted it by working out – So I have ate all day low GI , my blood / muscle are full and because of low insulin nothing goes into my fat cells , then I work out , during the work out my muscle are feed by what is in my blood / muscle because it is ready for them , then as long as I work hard or long enough I deplete those and my body due to the low insulin level start to get the extra energy from my fat cells , happy days ! then I go home and I have some protein +my delicious warm French baguette with nutella and it doesn’t matter, it is a little on a high GI side so insulin will go crazy but it will still pass it down to my muscle /blood and not my fat cells because my muscle/blood have nothing left ( as long as I find the right quantity to not go over board ) then come the eve and again I am back on my low GI stuff .
Also am I right into thinking that quantity and GI goes hand to hand , IE I could have a small tea spoon of sugar and although it is high GI because of the quantity I am consuming It will not create enough glucose to get the insulin going and the opposite is true too if I eat 6 apples at a low 35 gi in one go it would may be create enough glucose to trigger an insulin spike ? right ? sorry for the long post and the crap English ( I am French )

Brian July 9, 2012 at 8:03 am

Hi Rusty, does red wine effect insulin levels, thanks.

Carlie July 21, 2012 at 3:03 am

Hi!

I’ve been told I have pre-diabetes with naturally high insulin levels. I found this out after going to the doctors with complaints of not being able to lose weight and also having extreme energy loss and black outs.
I don’t suffer blackouts as much anymore, I’ve got back into gym appx 6 days a week. I go every morning at 8:30 and do an hour class with an hour weights!
My weight loss has not moved if anything I’ve gained. I feel I get muscle tone so easily but I’ve NEVER budged any fat!! I’m sure people think I eat crap constantly since I’ve had no fat loss and am at gym all the time..
My diet consist of;
Morning : Jack3d or Oxyelite (just started these- otherwise it was nothing or maybe a egg)
During workout; Extend (sugar carb free drink)
After workout; Protein drink (Proto Whey)
Lunch about 12-1pm; Sandwich with ham/lettuce or I must say I have had a pasta dish at times
Afternoon tea 3ish : Apple and tin tuna or and yoghurt
Tea 6:30 – 8pm; steamed veges broccoli carrot corn, steak or chicken pieces in mustard sauce. Some nights maybe roast dinners with steamed vegs and baked potato sweet potato and pumpkin..
At times we may have a dessert of some kind too..
I know it’s not a strict diet or anything but with the amount of energy I put into gym I would think it was ok and I should at least get some type of fat loss by now. It’s been 4 months of fulltime gym..?
Please Help Me!!!? I finally found someone who can!!
Is my gym pre and during supps really bad for me?

Thanks in advance! Hope to hear back

Carlie

Vidhya Shankar August 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Dear Sir,

My daughter has high level of insulin secretion and is obese. she is around 8 years of age and her weight is 100 pounds. Please guide me what sort of steps should be taken to control the insulin secretion and to bring her weight to proper level.

Regards,
RVS

Wow August 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

“The problem lies in the fact that if you eat a high G.I. carb, you may shut down the body’s ability to burn fat for several hours. ”

The problem is that you are unknowing and think that your insulin levels wills stay high for hours on a calorie deficit.
It will go high and you will start to burn the carbs/sugars, fatty acids and amino acids that are in your bloodstream.. and then? You think your insulin levels will magically stay high and your body get energy from where? Carbs/sugar and amino acids (yes, protein/peptides also increase insuline – shocker, isn’t it?) are gone, gluconeogenesis – which is process that turns muscle into energy so when you say
“The only source of energy in this circumstance is protein. Your body will break down muscle protein when faced with this dilemma.” you are wrong because insulin inhibits gluconeogenesis and with this it also blocks the breakdown of muscle – is “turned off” because of the insulin, lipolysis is also “turned off” because of the insulin so your body does what? Burn air?

This is what happens when you pick one single substance (insuline) and try to interpret it’s effects. You get something full of mistakes.

Beth August 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I have high insulin leavels and weigh about 180 can’t seem tO loose weight. I walk 3 miles at least 5 times a week. What’s going on?

Zack September 27, 2012 at 5:10 am

Hi Rusty,
I was wondering is there anyway I could change my diet at all? I’m 21, Male, 5’5 & weigh 102 lbs… the thing is my diet mostly consist of carbs, I get my protein from tofu (if I eat meat I feel very sick after) & my vegetables will either be a plain salad (believe it or not I just like plain salad lol) some broccoli or some other green vegetable(s.)

So in the morning 7-8 a.m. I’ll have an apple with silk milk chocolate light.

Afternoon 12-1 p.m. I’ll eat a salad; then my dinner 2-4 p.m. will be like half a box of white pasta or rice mixed with tofu & with broccoli or something on the side. And this literally fills me up the whole day.

The only thing I drink is just water. Energy drinks, soda etc make me want to gag same thing with junk food, sweets & fast food I won’t even touch it. I’m somewhat active but like cleaning, giving my dog a walk & mowing the lawn type of active haha.

I’ve literally been eating this way all my life. Mostly all I can afford, my groceries only come up to about 30-40 bucks.

So I was just wondering will this impact me sometime in life…? if so how can I start changing my diet? Also what I find weird as well I never get that crash feeling like some do… and if I go to the docs they say I’m perfectly healthy for my age, yet I don’t know doesn’t feel that way…

Well if you ever get this message I’d appreciate your feedback/opinion.

Thanks.

Terry cullen September 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

Where can I buy a in home tester for insulin

Thanks

Terry

amy October 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Hi Rusty Awesome article, I believe this exactly is my problem as well. My diet is extremely good and low fat, however when i make mistakes such as include stuff like dates or too many sweeteners or bananas or too much dairy in my diet or even stuff like cornflakes, i struggle and never loose more than half a kilo even when im fasting. But besides this the most important thing i learned from you is you can actually burn muscle instead of fat during insulin production which i believe is soooooooooooooooo true. I find it very hard to train when my body has experienced a sugar spike or when i ve had processed foods, and feel weaker too…not just from a low blood sugar lever, my muscles just feel they cannot respond. One thing to add that ou might have missed in this page, is one can get carried away with the low carb stuff and forget about cellulite. you might have a perfectly low carb meal that has loads of sodium or processed stuff, and conservatives…and end up a thin lumpy person with bad connective tissue 😉 …id say go the un-processed way whatever you do….just one question …im 1.72 cm and 63 kg and wanna b 59kg, would u say 1300 cals a day plus excercise would do the trick in 2-3 months?

caroline October 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Hi Rusty – How can Slim Fast stabilize blood sugar? It’s full of sugar.

Diane Garner February 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I am a type 2 diabetic who cannot seem to lose wieght unless I count calories. If I eat only 800 calories a day, I can lose 2 pounds a week. But I can’t work in all the fruits and vegetables I am told I should eat. Dieticians think I should eat at least 2000 calories a day, but I gain instead. I take 80 units of insulin from an insulin pen and several other pills for diabetes each day. Is eating just low glycenic foods the answer?

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