Insulin has two critical roles in the body that we cannot live without, yet it can be the root of many health problems, including diabetes. Insulin carries sugar (glucose), fat and protein into your cells where they are used for energy and the repair of your cells. When you eat, a certain amount of the food will be converted into glucose and enter the bloodstream. As the sugar levels rise, the body senses it and the pancreas secretes insulin to lower the sugar. This is insulin's second main function.
If you eat too much of any food, especially carbohydrates (starch and sugar) the levels of glucose in the blood rise to very high levels. In turn this triggers a large release of insulin from the pancreas. Your cells will take what they need and then insulin will begin the process of converting the excess glucose, fat and protein into fat and then put it all away in your fat cells. By combining foods the right way for your body, you will maintain optimum levels of insulin throughout the day.
The best way to control insulin and fight sugar cravings is to eat protein snacks when you are hungry or when you have severe "sweet" cravings. Also, try to limit yourself to three carbohydrate-containing meals per day and try to eat vegetables with most meals and snacks.
A particularly good snack is non-fat cottage cheese and salsa. The only vegetables to avoid in the evening are corn, yellow or orange squash, peas, beets and carrots. They have high simple carbohydrate (sugar) content.
Good natural sources of protein for meals or snacks are:
7% or less Ground Beef
Non-fat cottage cheese
Non-fat cream cheese
Non-fat sour cream
Fat-free Ham or Canadian bacon
You can also try protein powder and protein bars.
I recommend Labrada ProPlete Protein powder. It is low fat, low carb and high protein. It comes in several flavors and you can probably get it at GNC stores or any vitamin store. It does not have artificial sweeteners. It is sweetened with Stevia, which is all-natural and it made from the root and leaves of the Stevia plant.
Labrada also makes good low-carb, sugar free protein bars. Other good protein bars are Ultimate Lo-Carb, Ultimate Lo-Carb2 and Premiere Elite. These are good as a "pretend candy bar" when you're having a craving. Just don't over do it. The last three bars I mentioned do have artificial sweeteners. You can find them at GNC, Trader Joe's and many vitamin stores.
The key is to eat frequently throughout the day and also have a real sweet treat once a week if that will help you stay away from sweets the rest of the week.
My fat loss and fitness plan "Every Body Loses" will give you the tools you need to begin a healthy weight loss program. The style of eating and exercising outlined in my book is one that you can follow for life without feeling deprived. If you're serious about losing fat and getting fit go to www.aim4nutrition.com and get started TODAY!
Good Luck and Be Well,
Personal Trainer & Nutrition Analyst
AIM 4 NUTRITION
Aimee Deak is a certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Analyst,
author of the nutrition and fitness book "Every Body Loses" and
owner of AIM 4 NUTRITION.
She offers online personal training and training by phone.