Reactive hypoglycemia, postprandial hypoglycemia, or sugar crash is a term describing recurrent episodes of symptomatic hypoglycemia occurring within 4 hours after a high carbohydrate meal in people who do not have diabetes. The condition is related to homeostatic systems utilised by the body to control blood sugar levels. It is variously described as a sense of tiredness, lethargy, irritation, or hangover, although the effects can be less if one has undertaken a lot of physical activity within the next few hours after consumption. The alleged mechanism for the feeling of a crash is correlated with an abnormally rapid rise in blood glucose after eating. This normally leads to insulin secretion (known as an insulin spike), which in turn initiates rapid glucose uptake by tissues either accumulating it as glycogen or utilizing it for energy production. The consequent fall in blood glucose is indicated as the reason for the "sugar crash".. A deeper cause might be hysteresis effect of insulin action, i.e., the effect of insulin is still prominent even if both plasma glucose and insulin levels were already low, causing a plasma glucose level eventually much lower than the baseline level. Sugar crashes are not to be confused with the after-effects of consuming large amounts of protein, which produces fatigue akin to a sugar crash, but are instead the result of the body prioritising the digestion of ingested food. The prevalence of this condition is difficult to ascertain because a number of stricter or looser definitions have been used. It is recommended that the term reactive hypoglycemia be reserved for the pattern of postprandial hypoglycemia which meets the Whipple criteria (symptoms correspond to measurably low glucose and are relieved by raising the glucos Continue reading >>
Post-workout Insulin Spikes
Many authorities speak of high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates post-workout to spike insulin levels. One of the most common is 80–100 grams in the form of dextrose/maltodextrin. But what are the benefits of consuming carbohydrates post-workout to spike insulin and is this really necessary? Insulin is often called the “most anabolic hormone in the body.” However, this is only partly true. Insulin is really mostly anabolic towards fat. Its anabolic effects on muscle come from its strong anti-catabolic effects. When insulin levels are elevated in the body, it is physiologically impossible to burn muscle for energy (on a cell to cell basis). So, by spiking insulin levels in the body, you stop muscle burning and allow the protein you eat to better be used for the synthesis of new muscle. The problem with dextrose and maltodextrin is that they have a relatively low molecular weight. This creates a low osmolality so there’s not much osmolalic pull for them to pass through the digestive tract. With an osmolality similar to blood, you essentially get an almost isotonic solution with those two products. So, while they may spike insulin very rapidly once they enter the blood stream, they can take longer than you want to actually reach the small intestine where they can enter the blood stream. You can also notice “bloating” as water mixes with the dextrose and maltodextrin in the stomach. Personally, I take Waxy Maize (WM). It has a very high molecular weight and low osmolality, which creates an environment similar to a bowling ball through the digestive tract. The WM powers through the stomach and reaches the small intestine where the bulk of nutrient uptake occurs. Because it passes through the stomach so quickly, water doesn’t have time to pool there with the WM, Continue reading >>
Here's Why You Don't Need To Spike Your Insulin After A Workout
“What should I eat after a workout to get the best insulin spike?” — PRADEEP R., LANTANA, FLORIDA It’s time to clear up one of the biggest misconceptions about post-workout nutrition. It’s been (correctly) reported that your body needs a rise in insulin to drive protein and carbohydrates into the muscles to help them recover and grow. Starchy foods accomplish this, which is why rice and potatoes are staples in any bodybuilder’s diet. But here’s the funny thing: The one time of day you definitely don’t need to boost insulin is immediately after a weight workout. Research from the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that muscle contractions facilitate glucose transport into muscle cells, essentially mimicking the work insulin does. In other words, lifting primes the pump for you, so you don’t need a sharp rise in insulin to get nutrition into the muscles. Play Video Play Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% Remaining Time -0:00 This is a modal window. Foreground --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Opaque Background --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Window --- White Black Red Green Blue Yellow Magenta Cyan --- Opaque Semi-Transparent Transparent Font Size 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% 175% 200% 300% 400% Text Edge Style None Raised Depressed Uniform Dropshadow Font Family Default Monospace Serif Proportional Serif Monospace Sans-Serif Proportional Sans-Serif Casual Script Small Caps Defaults Done So, rather than spend money on fancy post-workout supps that spike insulin, eat a piece of whole fruit. Fast-digesting carbs are still important after a workout because they halt muscle breakdown, so a mere banana will get the job done. Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., is the Men’s Fitness training di Continue reading >>
The Inside Scoop On Insulin- Why Spikes Cause Acne
Insulin… a necessary evil in life, and one where the scales can be tipped with the slightest breeze. Too much, or too little, blood sugar can cause some serious issues in your body, but did you know it’s also linked to acne? THAT’S RIGHT! Blood sugar, particularly when it’s spiked can cause breakouts, even the super sore cystic kind. Here’s how: Spikes in your blood sugar can occur when you eat something sugary, skip a meal, drink a cup of coffee and even experience a cold or flu. When your system becomes overloaded with sugar, your pancreas has to go into “hare mode” to produce enough insulin and insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) to restore balance to your blood sugar levels When your system is burdened by an abundance of insulin (or IGF-1), it begins to produce androgen hormones BUT WHY IS THIS A BAD THING??? When we have an excess of androgen hormones in our body, it reacts by producing excess sebum (oil), leading to clogged pores, congestion AND breakouts (both in the forms of black and white heads). When congestion and oil are present, it can increase the inflammation in the skin, and even lead to cystic acne when left untreated. Basically – it’s a VICIOUS cycle! One wrong move can lead to a bad reaction, which leads to another bad reaction, and another…. well you get the point. If left unattended, the long term results can lead to insulin resistance (basically meaning, it takes way more insulin to restore balance than it did before, and the pancreas is required to produce at much higher levels). This also means the production of androgen hormones (and oil) is put into overdrive, eventually leading to acne chaos! SOME OTHER TID-BITS TO NOTE: When we exacerbate the levels of inflammation it only propels our acne into a downward spiral further (i Continue reading >>
Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause An Insulin Spike?
178 Comments The notion that artificial sweeteners (and sweet tastes in general) might produce an insulin response is one of those murky memes that winds itself around the blogs, but it’s never stated one way or the other with any sort of confidence. I briefly mentioned the possibility of non-caloric sweeteners influencing satiety hormones in last week’s diet soda post, and a number of you guys mentioned the same thing. Still, I’ve never seen unequivocal evidence that this is the case. This whole idea first came to my attention some time ago when my dog Buddha got into a bottle of “alternative sleep assists” which contained, among other things, 5 HTP (version of l-tryptophan) and xylitol (sugar alcohol). Long story short, dogs can’t take xylitol because it causes a spike in insulin, which then severely depletes blood glucose. Buddha got past this with a trip to the vet’s at 10:30 Sunday night (thanks, Dr. Dean). But it occurred to me that the same effect might be seen in humans, which is why I pose the question today… Do artificial sweeteners induce insulin secretion (perhaps via cephalic phase insulin release, which is sort of the body’s preemptive strike against foods that will require insulin to deal with)? One of the reasons a definitive answer is rarely given is that the question is improperly framed. Artificial sweeteners is not a monolithic entity. There are multiple types of sweeteners, all of them chemically distinct from each other. A more useful question would be “What effect does [specific artificial sweetener goes here] have on insulin?” So let’s go around the circle and ask. Does aspartame (aka Equal and Nutrasweet) affect insulin? Aspartame is pretty gross stuff, what with its awful taste and hordes of people who get terrible react Continue reading >>
Does Caffeine Cause An Insulin Spike?
No it doesn't. If it did I would have a low blood sugar each time I had a cup of coffee. I can't say for sure, as I am not a doctor or an expert in human biology, but as a diabetic for 27 years I have collected a bit of knowledge on the matter, and another explanation might be as follows: Ketone comes from burning fat. Simple as that, If you burn too much fat your kidneys cannot keep up and it starts to build up. This is what causes diabetic keto-acidosis in diabetics. I don't know, but I would guess that sugar helps our bodies in metabolizing the ketone, or that as our bodies would immidiately start metabolizing the sugar, it would for a time produce less ketone, giving the kidneys time to get rid of it. If there are any doctors or other real experts out there reading this, please skip in! Continue reading >>
What Are Insulin Spikes?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Just a quick reminder that CFC will be having classes at 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday this week, to help you earn your way to that turkey & stuffing dinner! Today we’re talking about insulin spikes, and how they affect your health and fitness. What are insulin spikes? Many of the most common foods we eat have a moderate to high level of carbohydrate content. Some of those carbs are simple, like table sugars and candies, while others are complex, like whole oats. When you eat carbs, your body digests them into their component sugars – typically glucose or fructose – and those sugars are shunted around the body to be used in other areas. Glucose goes directly into the blood stream to be used for energy, while fructose takes a more roundabout way through the liver where it is processed into glucose, and then shunted into the blood stream. When the sugars reach the blood, your aptly named Blood Sugar Levels go up and the body has to deal with it. Enter the protein Insulin, which is released by the pancreas in response to increased blood sugar. When your body releases insulin into the blood we call it an “insulin spike”, and we could accurately say that’s it’s released in response to a “sugar spike”. This action is natural, but it can also “wear out” when too many carbs are eaten too often. Over time, excessive intake of sugars can lead to perpetually high blood insulin levels, and the body starts to become insulin resistant. This leads to poor functioning and, eventually, the body stops producing it completely. This is called type-2 diabetes and it’s bad, mm’kay? What do insulin spikes actually do? Insulin acts as a messenger molecule that tells muscle and fat cells to “open up” so they Continue reading >>
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Spiking Insulin Levels
Q&A With Matt Fuller Hi Matt, I would love to know your thoughts on insulin spiking. What exactly is it? I've been advised that I need to eat something sweet after my training for the sugar rush (which will then spike my insulin levels). Apparently, this will assist with my weight loss - is that true? Thanks, Lynsey." Hi Lynsey, That’s a great question! There’s a ton of scientific research available regarding insulin production, so here’s a quick overview to break it down for you... Firstly, what is insulin? Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to detected increase in blood sugar. It controls glucose levels and keeps and regulates the levels of blood glucose so it remains at a constant and safe medium within our bodies. What is an insulin spike? Insulin spiking simply means that the insulin levels in our bodies rise and fall quickly. This is good for a quick burst of energy, but not for sustained endurance and as a negative could lead to putting too much sugar and/or excess carbohydrates into our body that could in the longer term lead to diabetes, rapid weight gain and fat storage amongst other things. My thoughts on this subject... After training, body builders will regularly combine simple sugars/carbohydrates to feed their muscles to aid in the repair of muscle tissue damage caused by resistance training. These sugar and carbs gives them a quick burst of energy to replace the energy (calories/sugars) lost during training. When researching this subject, Lynsey, I found this article from Flex Nutrition extremely interesting and I hope you do too. “In 2007, a group working out of Maastricht University in the Netherlands examined the impact of adding carbohydrates on post-exercise muscle protein synthesis. They had 10 healthy 20-somethings w Continue reading >>
7 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar
1 / 8 7 Foods That Spike Blood Sugar If you have type 2 diabetes, you know about the importance of making healthy mealtime choices. But just as important is staying away from the wrong foods — those that can spike your blood sugar. That's because simple carbohydrates, like white bread and sugary soda, are broken down by the body into sugar, which then enters the bloodstream. Even if you don't have diabetes, these foods can lead to insulin resistance, which means your body's cells don't respond normally to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Here are seven foods you should avoid for better blood sugar control. Continue reading >>
The Facts About Insulin
Insulin is one of the most misunderstood hormones in your body. There are some diet plans that say to keep it as low as possible and there are some bodybuilders who want a lot of it, there are those who inject it for survival but the wrong dosage can send you into a coma. Is insulin as deadly as some say it is? What is the real truth? In this article I’ll separate fact from fiction so you can determine for yourself if this is the cause of all evil in your body or what can help you perform at your peak. What is it? Insulin is one of the most powerful hormones in the body. For starters, it regulates the carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are in the blood. When there is too much sugar (glucose) in the blood the body will regulate this by causing the pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin will then lower the glucose level by absorbing it into the body. This is something that is necessary, since too much glucose in the blood can be toxic. The body can also make insulin if too much protein is detected in the blood. The glucose can be stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. When the blood glucose levels fall, the body can convert the glycogen back to glucose and use it as energy. The insulin can also cause the excess glucose to be stored in your adipose (fat) tissue as excess body fat. When insulin levels spike too quickly, usually it will be the fat tissue that will absorb the extra glucose. This is why you don’t want too much sugar when you are trying to lose weight. Insulin and Weight Loss Yes… insulin is very good at creating stored fat, so if you are trying to lose weight you need to keep your insulin levels in check. That is a fact, but what the heck causes this fat gain to happen? The reason insulin is very good at increasing body fat is because it doesn Continue reading >>
How Insulin Really Works: It Causes Fat Storage…but Doesn’t Make You Fat
Many people believe that insulin is to blame for the obesity epidemic. When you understand how it actually works, you’ll know why this is a lie. Insulin has been taking quite a beating these days. If we’re to listen to some “experts,” it’s an evil hormone whose sole goal is making us fat, type 2 diabetics. Furthermore, we’re told that carbohydrates also are in on the conspiracy. By eating carbs, we open the insulin floodgates and wreak havoc in our bodies. How true are these claims, though? Does it really make sense that our bodies would come with an insidious mechanism to punish carbohydrate intake? Let’s find out. What is Insulin, Anyway? Insulin is a hormone, which means it’s a substance the body produces to affect the functions of organs or tissues, and it’s made and released into the blood by the pancreas. Insulin’s job is a very important one: when you eat food, it’s broken down into basic nutrients (protein breaks down into amino acids; dietary fats into fatty acids; and carbohydrates into glucose), which make their way into the bloodstream. These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and that’s where insulin comes into play: it helps shuttle the nutrients into cells by “telling” the cells to open up and absorb them. So, whenever you eat food, your pancreas releases insulin into the blood. As the nutrients are slowly absorbed into cells, insulin levels drop, until finally all the nutrients are absorbed, and insulin levels then remain steady at a low, “baseline” level. This cycle occurs every time you eat food: amino acids, fatty acids, and/or glucose find their way into your blood, and they’re joined by additional insulin, which ushers them into cells. Once the job is done, insu Continue reading >>
Will You Experience A Huge Insulin Spike Or Rise In Blood Sugar After Cheating On A Keto Diet?
Ever hear the phrase, “I can look at food and get fat.” It turns out that there is more than a bit of truth to that phrase. The human body is a remarkable machine even if it can go wrong in some ways. When you think of it, it makes sense that the human body needs to prepare itself for a load of carbohydrate coming its way. One way this happens is through the tongue. Things like sweet receptors in the tongue can cause the pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin. This is the mechanism that makes artificial sweeteners so problematic. Even though it contains zero calories and no nutritional value, consuming the sweetener Splenda/sucralose spikes insulin 17%. It turns out that even seeing or smelling food spikes insulin. Again, this makes sense because often when we see or smell food that means we’re going to eat it. However, how strong of a response is very much an individual response governed by a person’s metabolism. See, I’m 1/4 Native American. I likely inherited a gene that makes things in the modern diet cause hugely abnormal responses in things like insulin and blood sugars. This makes a lot of sense since I was an obese 5 year old when obese 5 year olds were highly uncommon. The phrase I like to use is “carbohydrate tolerance.” You may be very carbohydrate intolerant. If so then it’s likely that a high carb cheat meal will lead to a huge insulin spike and a (somewhat transient) rise in blood sugar. If you have historically had a problem with insulin, your individual response may be a huge insulin spike and a long term rise in blood sugars. This is not good. Continue reading >>
Insulin…an Undeserved Bad Reputation
I feel sorry for insulin. Insulin has been bullied and beaten up. It has been cast as an evil hormone that should be shunned. However, insulin doesn't deserve the treatment it has received. Insulin: A Primer Insulin is a hormone that regulates the levels of sugar in your blood. When you eat a meal, the carbohydrate in the meal is broken down into glucose (a sugar used as energy by your cells). The glucose enters your blood. Your pancreas senses the rising glucose and releases insulin. Insulin allows the glucose to enter your liver, muscle, and fat cells. Once your blood glucose starts to come back down, insulin levels come back down too. This cycle happens throughout the day. You eat a meal, glucose goes up, insulin goes up, glucose goes down, and insulin goes down. Insulin levels are typically lowest in the early morning since it's usually been at least 8 hours after your last meal. Insulin doesn't just regulate blood sugar. It has other effects as well. For example, it stimulates your muscles to build new protein (a process called protein synthesis). It also inhibits lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and stimulates lipogenesis (the creation of fat). It is the latter effect by which insulin has gotten its bad reputation. Because carbohydrate stimulates your body to release insulin, it has caused some people to argue that a diet high in carbohydrate will cause you to gain fat. Their reasoning, in a nutshell, goes like this: High Carbohydrate Diet -> High Insulin -> Increased Lipogenesis/Decreased Lipolysis -> Increased Body Fat -> Obesity Using this same logic, they argue that a low carbohydrate diet is best for fat loss, because insulin levels are kept low. Their logic chain goes something like this: Low Carbohydrate Diet -> Low Insulin -> Decreased Lipogenesis/Increase Continue reading >>
Understanding Our Bodies: Insulin
Almost everyone has heard of Insulin. You probably know that people with type 1 diabetes need to inject themselves with insulin to survive, and must constantly monitor the amount of sugar they eat. But what do you really know about insulin? What is its purpose in the body, and why do we need it? How does it relate to our diets? What happens when things go wrong with it? And why should anyone who doesn’t have diabetes give a hoot? Insulin is one of the most important hormones in the human body, and yet most people don’t really understand why our bodies make it or how what we eat affects the levels of insulin we produce. More so than any other hormone, our diet is key in regulating insulin levels, and thus a number of biological processes. As you’ll soon see, everyone should think about how what they eat impacts their body’s insulin release to be at their happiest and healthiest. Why We Need Insulin Every living thing requires energy to survive. In cells, energy is stored and shuttled around using a molecule called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, or ATP. Whenever the cell then has an energy-requiring reaction, enzymes can use the energy stored in ATP’s phosphate bonds to fuel it. Cells rely on ATP to survive, and to create ATP, they rely on glucose. All cells, from bacteria and fungi to us, take glucose and use it to generate ATP by a process called Oxidative Phosphorylation. First, glucose is converted to an intermediate molecule called pyruvate via a process called glycolosis. As long as there is oxygen around, this pyruvate is further converted to Acetyl CoA, which enters a cycle of reactions called the Citric Acid Cycle. This takes the carbon to carbon bonds and uses them to create high energy electrons, which are then passed down a chain of enzymes which use the e Continue reading >>
The Insulin Response (video)
(YouTube link: This video is part of the interview I did for Open Water Source, but most of what I talk about will interest non-swimmers and non-athletes. (See the rest of the videos in this series.) Transcript Open Water Source: In simple terms, can you describe the insulin response? Peter Attia, MD: Sure. Insulin is a hormone secreted by an organ in our body called the pancreas. It’s the only organ that can secrete this hormone. The pancreas sits in an area called our retroperitoneum. It’s behind our stomach. This is probably the most important hormone when it comes to how we digest food, take food into ourselves, and how we regulate fat. When you eat something, it will stimulate insulin to varying degrees, depending on what’s in it. Carbohydrates stimulate insulin more than any other food. And even within carbohydrates, there are different amounts of insulin stimulus that result form it, depending on the simplicity of them. Proteins also stimulate insulin, but to a much lesser degree. And fat doesn’t stimulate insulin at all. So, here’s how it works. Let’s say you take a bite of your Corn Flakes. Those Corn Flakes get into your stomach. As it exits your stomach, it enters the first part of your bowel called the duodenum. And all of a sudden, it starts to get translocated and it starts to get absorbed into your bloodstream. So now, we have to get it into the cells of your body. That’s where you need that glucose. How does it get there? Well, that’s how insulin enters the equation. As sugar levels in your blood… And I’m going to use the word “sugar” and “glucose” interchangeably. I apologize for that. Glucose is a very specific type of sugar, and most people, when they hear the term “sugar” they think about table sugar. If I’m ever ref Continue reading >>
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