All foods increase insulin and the following graph shows how fats, proteins, super-refined carbs (candy bars, sugary soda drinks, cakes, pastries, muffins) and refined carbs (rice, pasta, bread etc.) affect blood insulin levels. Note at the whisperer, we hate refined and super-refined carbs and they are not a necessary part of the diet. We love fats and proteins and we really love unrefined carbs, like what our mums always called our greens. Loads of fibre to keep our bowel and gut bugs healthy.
And here’s the rub; that chocolate digestive with your elevenses, renders your body anabolic for two hours, until lunch. And then the snack at teatime, before supper, the same. Before you know it, your insulin is raised 24 hours a day. Then you wonder why you’re not losing any fat! It’s not the number of calories, it’s the type of food and the frequency of food. If you have any food other than water and black tea or coffee, your fat storage hormone, insulin is raised. In fact at the whisperer, we replace the word snack with meal. Just one cracker puts your insulin up for several hours. And when insulin is circulating, you cannot burn any fat at all.
So, snacking traps your fat inside your body, by keeping insulin up. Now if you understand that, you’re really on the way to understanding why snacking is bad. And what is really, really bad is sugary drinks. Eureka?
Let’s cut to the quick. Frequent meals or snacks, however small, will put your insulin up for most of the day (see chart in Soda Drink Syndrome below). The only normalised insulin levels will be overnight. And even then, if you have a bedtime snack, you’ll be hours into your sleep before your blood insulin levels fall back to zero. And, dare I mention getting up at night for a snack or soda drink. I’m afraid all of this just puts you right into the epicentre of your own hormonal shit storm. Not only will you be unable to shift fat, but insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, are lurking just around the corner. Maybe a decade, maybe a year or maybe tomorrow.
Fat causes the lowest insulin release, followed by protein and the highest is unsurprisingly the carbohydrates. And what’s worse, the more refined the carbs, the higher the levels (see graph above). Now you can see the danger in that last thing at night biscuit with your hot chocolate. It’s a hormonal car crash. On my 50th birthday, I realised I had to make a choice; booze, puddings or biscuits? The puddings and biscuits lost.
And so, to the corollary; what if we were to eat just one fat filled meal a day? Say, 65% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates. “That much fat”, I hear you say. Well, here lies the truth. Your insulin will hardly rise and will come back to normal after a few hours. The paradox is clear for all to see. If you want to lose weight you have to reduce your insulin. To burn fat, you must have periods when insulin is not in your blood stream. Eat less frequently and you’ll burn more fat. Eating fat, causes the burning of fat. And with absolute certainty, cut out all forms of snacking, but particularly with refined and super-refined carbohydrate foods and drinks.
Soda drink syndrome
Too often we see obese teenagers, walking along, swinging at their side, a 2-litre (4 pints) plastic bottle of soda drink. They keep their soda drink close, to continuously refuel the fire of their sugar addiction; what we call soda drink syndrome (SDS). The teens don’t know why they are trapped in this cycle of ever-increasing obesity. They don’t need to eat any food to be trapped. They are not only trapped by increasing weight and fat but are laying down new fat cells; something unique to children and adolescents.
Let me terrify you with some figures. We have an orange flavoured soda drink in the UK that comes in 2 litre bottles. They cost £ 1.85 ($ 2.29) and anyone can buy them; and sugar addicted teens frequently do. Each bottle has the equivalent of 71 sugar cubes. Let me tell you how you can work this out simply with some very easy maths.
Soda drinks come with 10 grams of sugar in 100 ml. A sugar cube is 2.8 g and we know that 1 gram of sugar is 4 calories. So, 2 litres is 2000 ml which is 200 grams of sugar. Multiplying by 4 gives us 800 calories in one bottle. If we divide the 200 by the weight of the sugar cube, we get 71.43 sugar cubes in each bottle.
A teenage girl at 16 has an energy requirement, or BMR, of 1800 calories for the whole day. The worry from these drinks is SDS; a circular pathway which is, have a drink - spike your blood sugar - insulin released to chase the rise in blood sugar - blood sugar rapidly falls - insulin is still circulating, and the blood sugar falls below the normal level - and we get symptoms of low blood sugar, a “hypo” or hypoglycaemia symptoms; pallor, shakes, irritability, tiredness and lack of concentration - we take another drink. And repeat. (See diagram above).
Even worse the HFCS in this this soda drink bottle stimulates another hormone ghrelin, which is our hunger hormone. The HFCS also inhibits our satiety hormone leptin. This results in further hunger for more soda drink. This is SDS and is the cycle of doom. It is refined carbohydrate addiction; it terrifies me that so many teenagers have this. It will, undiagnosed and untreated, lead to a reduced healthspan and lifespan. In other words, they’ll constantly feel terrible, get horrible inflammatory diseases and die early. More dangerous than cigarettes, and anyone can buy them.
And now for an even bigger surprise. Fruit juices freshly made, or out of a carton, contain just about the same amount of sugar as soda drinks. The only benefit over the soda drinks is that they contain a few vitamins to boot. Wow, great. Yep, they’re just another nonsense that we’ve been sold as a healthy adjunct to our breakfast. The reason my mother did this for us, was because she didn’t know. It wasn’t a lack of love; it was a lack of knowledge. This is the very essence of the whisperer family; not dying of ignorance.
When you had your last orange juice, did you feel sleepy an hour or two later? I’d put good money that you did! And the solution? Elevenses, pastry and coffee. Soda Drink Syndrome can be applied to any and every refined and super-refined carbohydrate addiction that we have. Remember, we have 50 times the refined and super-refined carbohydrates in our diet than just 100 years ago. And insulin is there to help us store our un-refined carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It expects to have to hang around for ages as the cabbage and carrots are slowly digested and absorbed. It doesn’t expect that blood glucose rush from orange juice or cake. They weren’t available to our body’s designer. So, it’s no surprise that we get those horrible hypoglycaemic symptoms after eating this highly refined junk. Hunger is caused by eating carbohydrates. The more refined, the greater the hunger in 1-2 hours’ time.