When it comes to putting on size and strength, we’re thankful for any help we can get! One of the most important things when it comes to building muscle is insulin. Maintaining low insulin levels is key to getting the results you want. Here’s our helpful guide on how to keep your insulin levels low.
What Exactly Is Insulin?
Produced in the pancreas, insulin is a hormone which is important for things like:
- Muscle gain
- Blood sugar control and energy storage
- Keeping you full
- Bone strength
For those of us that are healthy, these are the things insulin is responsible for. For the unhealthy, however, insulin metabolism can be very, very different. Many people in the United States suffer from an impaired insulin metabolism, known as diabetes. For those with diabetes, insulin works much differently. For those with Type 1 Diabetes, the body produces no insulin at all, and for those with Type 2 Diabetes, the body doesn’t respond properly to the insulin it does produce.
Insulin and Muscle
Insulin is a protein. If your pancreas is functioning properly, your body will release insulin when you eat carbohydrates, proteins, or both. Unlike other proteins, however, insulin is a functional protein, much like growth hormone, making it essential for adding muscle mass.
Secreted from the pancreas, insulin enters the bloodstream and then travels to the body tissue, including muscle. When the insulin docks into the corresponding receptors in the muscle fibers, the muscle fiber is able to allow amino acids, creatine, and glucose to enter the muscles.
When the insulin docks with the muscle cells, it also begins a biochemical reaction which increases protein synthesis. This helps create new muscle out of the amino acids entering the cells.
How to Control Your Insulin Levels
The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly carbs from the food you eat will end up as glucose in your blood sugar. Crabs can essentially be broken down into two categories: low and high GI carbs.
High GI carbs are fast digesting carbs. These cause insulin spikes in your blood sugar, which allow your body to utilize the glucose. Some common GI foods are:
- White potatoes
- White Rice
- White Bread
Low GI foods are those which pass more slowly through your digestive system and keep your insulin levels more consistent, as they gradually enter the bloodstream. Examples of low GI foods include:
- Whole wheat pasta and bread
- Sweet Potatoes
- Most fruits
If you are looking to keep your insulin levels low, it is best to try and stick to low GI carbohydrates. These will help you maintain energy levels throughout the day. This can help you avoid the energy drain which can occur when those who eat only high GI carbs workout.
According to research, whey protein appears to spike insulin levels. This is a result of the amount of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) it contains. Despite this, however, whey protein appears to aid in fat loss over the long term. According to Jim Stoppani, s personal nutrition and health consultant with a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Connecticut, using whey protein, along with the milk protein micellar casein, can provide you quality protein while still keeping your insulin levels low.
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