11 Fasting efficiently reduces insulin resistance

QUOTE from Dr Fung (emphasis mine):

“Regular fasting, by routinely lowering insulin levels, has been shown to significantly improve insulin sensitivity. This finding is the missing piece in the weight-loss puzzle. Most diets restrict the intake of foods that cause increased insulin secretion but don’t address insulin resistance. You lose weight initially, but insulin resistance keeps your insulin levels and body set weight high.

By fasting, you can efficiently reduce your body’s insulin resistance, since it requires both persistent and high levels. Insulin causes salt and water retention in the kidney, so lowering insulin levels rids the body of excess salt and water. Fasting is often accompanied by an early, rapid weight loss. For the first five days, weight loss averages 1.9 pounds (0.9 kilograms) per day, far exceeding the loss that could be expected from the caloric restriction, and is probably due to diuresis. Diuresis reduces bloating and may also lower blood pressure slightly.” [1]

NOTE – What does it say?

Basically, as I understand it, insulin in the body does two things. When there is room in the cells of our body for more sugar, insulin facilitates the importation of sugar from the bloodstream across the cell membrane. When the cells of our body are full of sugar, insulin converts sugar to fat and stores it in our body. When blood sugar is at a high level, this signals the pancreas to automatically release more insulin in order to decrease blood sugar to a healthy level in the bloodstream.

One mistake of the diabetes industry is the claim that a person with type 2 diabetes literally has insulin resistance. Instead, a person who eats too much sugar actually has the result of literally too much sugar in the bloodstream. Instead of asking that person to decrease the sugar coming into the body, thereby lowering blood sugar, the theory is presented that the cells of the body are lacking in sugar and starving for sugar because the cell membrane has become resistant to glucose. 

The reality is that the cells are flooded with sugar and as a means of self-protection have turned off the valves by which insulin transports sugar into the cells of the body. Insulin resistance is not, as it is so often explained, a resistance in the cell membrane, but a resistance of the cell to the function of insulin to force it to accept more sugar. There is too much sugar in the body! It is both astonishing and stupid to assume that eating more sugar is not the primary cause of too much sugar in the bloodstream and to avoid that cause when considering a solution – as if there must be some other cause for high blood sugar than sugar in the diet.

If insulin cannot put sugar into the cells of the body, blood sugar remains high in the bloodstream. And the pancreas responds to that signal by increasing the amount of insulin released. Higher insulin levels have some ability to force the cell to accept more blood sugar but, eventually, a point is reached where there is no more room in the cell for sugar. This reinforces the problem of the pancreas releasing even more insulin, which it will as long as blood sugar is high. The bloodstream now has high sugar and high insulin, and a person is said to have insulin resistance because insulin seems to not work properly.

Over time, the insulin will lower blood sugar by converting it into fat. People become fat because high insulin slowly converts high blood sugar to fat as a means of storing energy. People have high insulin because they have high blood sugar. And they have high blood sugar because they consume too much sugar and sugar causing nutrients, such as carbohydrates and other substances. But it is too much insulin acting on too much sugar that converts sugar to fat. So insulin levels are a factor in the cause of human obesity.

Regular fasting, by routinely lowering insulin levels, has been shown to significantly improve insulin sensitivity.

With insulin resistance, the body becomes accustomed to high blood sugar, accustomed to high levels of insulin, and accustomed to some level of obesity. This customary level of obesity, the body’s comfort zone of obesity, is known as the set point. When people diet, they lose weight but the body puts the weight back on the minute that food is available in order to get back to that comfortable set point. There is a fat thermostat, and the level of insulin controls the setting, higher or lower.

By fasting, you can efficiently reduce your body’s insulin resistance, since it requires both persistent and high levels.

To lose weight permanently, the set-point needs to be adjusted to a lower level, and that lower level happens when there are low levels of insulin for an extended time. These lower levels of insulin (which accompany lower levels of blood sugar) allow the body to adjust to a new normal and a new set point.

Dieting does not decrease levels of insulin as much as fasting. And the normal response of the body is to decrease the metabolism to the amount of calories coming in. Reduction in calories – simply eating less – often results in a corresponding reduction in metabolism.

MY STRATEGY: I will focus in fasting on decreasing insulin, and decrease the input of sugar-producing foods: sugars, carbs and excess protein.

What gets my attention?
Do I understand the need or problem?
Do I understand the potential solution?
Do I understand how to apply that strategy?
What questions do I have for the experts? What might be the answers?
Who needs to hear this?
What do I do next?

[1] Quote from The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Dr. Jason Fung; Greystone Books (March 3, 2016). Page 240.  

Photo Fasting-a-glass-of-water-on-an-empty-plate, via Wikimedia Commons

Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.
Key: Fung-12 Shipped: 05/04/2021. Updated 01/11/2022.

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