Insulin can be a tricky thing. It can make you fat or it can make you lean and muscular - it all depends on your insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance.
If you do not have proper insulin sensitivity, it does not matter how much protein you eat over the course of a day, it will never get delivered to your muscles and will instead be stored as fat. And although many people believe that constantly eating a carb reduced diet will help them control an insulin release and lose weight, this isn't actually the case.
You can optimize your insulin and start using your carbs as muscle building tools! Here are some strategies that will help you:
1. Eat Protein and Fat First
When it comes to meal time, make sure you eat your protein, vegetables and fats before you dig into your carbs. If you eat your non-carb foods first, you will have lower post meal glucose and insulin levels. And guess what else? If you eat in this order, you will find yourself feeling less sleepy after your midday meal! Eating protein first can interfere with the production of the sleepy neurotransmitter, serotonin. The only exception to this is before a workout. You want an insulin surge before your workout to maximize nutrient uptake in the muscle so that is a good time to grab some carbs.
2. Take Cyanidin 3-Glucoside
Cyanidin 3-Glucoside (C3G) is a naturally occurring anthocyanin found in many dark coloured berries. When isolated and taken in a larger quantity, like in a supplement, it has blood glucose lowering properties. C3G acts a little differently than most insulin-modulating substances in that it is a AMPK modulator which increases glucose and lipid uptake in muscle cells. It also increases adipokinectin levels while decreasing leptin levels which can lead to loss in body fat.
3. Pour Vinegar on Everything
Vinegar is your friend. Vinegar weakens the glucose and insulin response after a carb meal and it increases glucose sensitivity. Actually, one study reports that vinegar raised insulin sensitivity at the 60-minute post-meal point by 34%! Use vinegar for salad dressing or take one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before you have your biggest, most carb heavy meal of the day.
4. Take Psyllium Twice a Day
Psyllium is not only good news when it comes to your regular bowel movements, it also lowers post meal blood sugar levels. One study took 34 men who had type 2 diabetes and divided them into two groups. One group took 5.1 grams of psyllium twice a day for eight weeks while the other group took a placebo. The psyllium group showed post-lunch blood sugar levels that were 19.2 percent lower than placebo and all-day blood sugar levels that were 11 percent lower than placebo. So, grab a teaspoon of psyllium with water twice a day. The results seem to be independent of meals but you should avoid doing it before your pre or post workout meals.
5. Take Fish Oil
So many people in previous generations grew up taking fish oil to avoid, and in some cases, help clear up, a variety of health conditions. And they did so with good reason. Fish oil does real damage to insulin insensitivity. In fact, it has been said that fish oil can actually rival the effects of exercise on blood sugar levels. Fish oil not only makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, it can also decrease the secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
So don't be afraid of carbs, use them to your advantage! For more insights, head here.
Are these changes you can make to your meal/daily routine?