What Happens When I Cheat? With Insulin…

Hunger and Insulin, aka: What happens when I cheat.

Reference: Rodin, Health Psychology, Schloegl Diabetes Metab Res Rev

What happens with appetite and insulin when I’m on a low carb diet, high fat diet, and then eat some carbs (cheat)?   If I read the medical literature, there isn’t a clear consensus because it gets so complex, you get lost in a maze of contradictory claims and literature. There are many hormones that affect hunger and appetite, and the maze becomes confusing.

I am putting forward a hypothesis there in which I will insert the facts, as I understand them, in order to attempt some accurate simplification.   See if you agree or disagree and send me your thoughts.

My hypothesis is that eating a small amount of glucose (or flavor sweet), when you are in ketosis, will make your insulin burst up, and lead you to eating MANY more calories because you get much more hungry right away.   In this situation, insulin increases appetite.

  1. Losing weight reduces the size of your fat cells, lowers your blood glucose and reduces your risk for heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke. Hmmm, I want to lose weight.
  2. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume.
  3. There is good evidence that high fat diets turn off insulin and assists weight loss from fat cells – which neither low fat nor high protein will do.
  4. High fat diets lower insulin and blood glucose levels promptly, resulting in reduced calorie intake, but opening up fat cells. Aka: weight loss.
  5. Ketosis results from high fat intake, with low protein and low carb intake.
  6. Ketosis means you are burning fat, either from diet or fat cells, but your fat cells are open and releasing their stored calories. You can lose weight.
  7. Exercise is a potent form of insulin substitution, so your insulin goes down and stays down, relative to a sedentary person, for at least 24 hours.
  8. The brain can run on ketones just fine, but will switch back to carbs on a moments notice. (Insulin levels < 5)
  9. To get back into ketosis takes a couple of days – up to 10.
  10. Once exposed to carbs, insulin level rises and appetite goes up. (My teleological explanation for this is the brain senses glucose, which in human history meant it was September-October, the season to gain weight to prepare for winter. Time to gorge.)
  11. Once we put on weight, our fat cells get insulin resistant and our signals get all messed up. Insulin then has no effect on appetite, or increased effect, but we have high insulin levels relative to ketosis season. (Insulin > 5)
  12. Modern medicine calls normal insulin 2-24.   Normal is <5. Most modern American’s are badly insulin resistant: hence we are getting heart disease.
  13. Someone in ketosis will instantly switch to “Gorge Mode” when given enough carbs to stimulate insulin. (Chocolate cake) At this point, insulin turns on appetite.
  14. A TINY dose of insulin reverses ketosis (both in dieters and in diabetics in ketoacidosis. Dieters still have an alert, functioning pancreas, so ketosis is healthy and natural.)
  15. You can stay in ketosis longer by eating 20 grams of carbs from spinach (low glycemic index) versus the alcohol in beer (which gets metabolized faster than glucose) or orange juice (pure sugar – bursts into your liver), or bread.
  16. Cheating once a week may be sufficient for you to plateau and stop losing weight.  Cheating with as little as a cashew snack (which you thought was all fat and ignored the carb content) might do the trick and sabotage your efforts.

WWW.   What will work for me.   I find I see all these changes in myself when I follow a ketogenic diet, and then experiment with having some chocolate cake.   I can feel the pull of appetite, which is very hard to resist.   On some days I can, and some days I can’t.   What starts out as a great day, with good fat content, can degenerate into a spasm of gorging on too many calories when I have a chocolate truffle, a piece of cake, a half scoop of ice cream.   Before I know it, I’ve eaten other foods in addition.     I would love to hear from anyone with any evidence to the contrary.

Pop Quiz

There is consensus in the medical literature on insulin and appetite. T or F

False. It’s all over the map, because no one has identified normal insulin.

  1. Normal insulin should be defined by what state of metabolism you are in, with < 5 being normal when you are trying to lose weight, and >5 when you are trying to gain weight to make it through the winter.

T

  1. Exercise confuses everything, but is explained by it’s persistent insulin like effect. T or F

True.   I may be hungrier, but I’ve burned more calories.

  1. Ketosis is our natural state during winter? T or F

True, until 10,000 years ago when we got civilization and started storing carbs to spread around all year.

  1. All of our modern diseases can be traced back to the dysfunctional metabolism too many carbs cause in our blood.

That, my friend, is true.

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