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In the previous article in this series we looked at how the pancreas reacts when blood glucose levels rise. I concluded by saying that we have known since the 1960s that insulinogens are not just carbohydrates.

Dietary fat, although realistically speaking it raises insulin to negligible to low levels, does so for a long time and can be considered non-insulinogenic, although exogenous ketones which are fats, raise it to levels comparable to those of carbohydrates.

Compare the rate at which each macronutrient is converted and how long it takes for it to drop. Keep in mind that this is a naive chart, as there are other parameters that can affect the levels.

Protein usually doesn't raise it as much as carbohydrates, but insulin will be raised for longer than with carbohydrates and less than with fat. Note this usually, as there are protein sources such as milk which are known insulinogens, something we have known since the 1960s! Right, a survey in 2005 in children concluded that milk-rich diets can lead to insulin resistance! But yes, otherwise, carbohydrates are to blame for obesity, not eating mindlessly. Easy Sell.

glucose+insulin-response proteins
Comparison of glucose and insulin levels as affected by different proteins. On the left, the increase in glucose levels is not beyond what is expected (less than 2 mmo/L), whereas insulin levels after milk and cheese are spiked (0.4 nmol/L). Source: Nilsson M, Stenberg M, Frid AH, Holst JJ, Björck IME, "Glycemia and insulinemia in healthy subjects after lactose equivalent meals of milk and other food proteins: the role of plasma amino acids and incretins" Am J Clin Nutr, 2004 Nov;80(5):1246-53

Moving on, we understand that there are serious problems with GL and GI indices if we want to take them into account as factors that will help us lose weight.

The most important of these is the incretin effect.

You see, the measurements on these indicators are made under scientific environments. Or to make it clearer, the "feeds" taken are not taken orally, but by intravenous drip.

You got it? Naturally, the body will react differently to a food when it is introduced through your oesophagus and distributed as nature intended, and differently when the food suddenly appears in your bloodstream. So in reality, the glycemic indexes and loads are different from what the research reports.

Incretins are mainly responsible for this phenomenon. Incretins are a group of hormones secreted by the stomach and among their purposes is to increase the levels of insulin in the body and slow down the emptying of the stomach.

The latter is obviously adding to his feeling of how long you will feel full after eating and thus indirectly hungry. Because the role of one of the incretins is important in how the body works in terms of feeling hungry, a topic we will deal with in the future, I must mention the incretins we have identified so far:

  • GLP-1
  • GIP

The secretion of incretins begins shortly after food intake and reaches its maximum level about an hour later. In short, you don't need glucose to raise insulin levels unless you are diabetic. In diabetics, the incretin effect is not found. This is why I noted in the previous article that if you are diabetic and want to lose weight, then to a certain extent it is understandable to be concerned with glucose levels and not insulin levels.

Σύγκριση της εκκρίσεως ινσουλίνης δύο ατόμων: ενός με αντίσταση στην ινσουλίνη (κόκκινο) και ενός με κανονική ευαισθησία (μπλε). Πηγή:

But for now I want to turn to the two graphs in the previous article to observe something extremely interesting:

My own, simplistic and generalized graph has insulin being secreted relatively sharply and falling slowly. The University of Austin's graph, which is closer to reality, has one meal in which insulin rose sharply and came down sharply and the other two meals with insulin coming down more smoothly.

We can observe a lot in this graph, but for now let's say the following: We can, with the knowledge we have gained so far, figure out what foods this man has eaten (and when he slept, but let's not be pretentious). Don't tell me it's not impressive!

It is obvious that his breakfast was carbohydrates and even with a high glycemic index, a typical breakfast. Maybe cereal, maybe bread with honey or jam, etc. The other two meals also had protein.

Other? That this person's first meal didn't fill him up and so his next meal was pretty close, at least compared to his third.

Of course, there is also the Staub-Traugott effect to which some of the fluctuations can be attributed, but this is not the present case.

From all of this, let's keep in mind that the incretin effect is extremely important in terms of feeling full after a meal and therefore can be of great help in fat loss.

And with that I think I've given you a lot of information for an article.

I have the impression that you can already see the usefulness of the knowledge I have provided you with so far.

More in the next article of this series!

Next: How our body works IV  >

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Author: Nick Krontiris

Founder, Suprastratum


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