By now, we all know that being overweight is generally unhealthy – but does that mean that being slim is healthy? The answer is “it depends”…
It is hard to be significantly overweight without the aid of elevated insulin levels. We know that insulin is the “storage” hormone that directs our cells to store energy as glucose (glycogen) and fat. Keep storing energy and you eventually get fat.
So insulin promotes getting fatter.
We all know people who seem to eat all the bread, pasta and cake that they want and do not get fat. They stay slim while those around them pile on the kilograms. We do envy them! Unconsciously, we associate slimness with health.
Hopefully you have absorbed the message that having chronically high insulin levels is very bad for your health. High insulin is bad on so many levels and is the root cause of most modern diseases.
Insulin Resistance (IR) causes insulin levels to rise beyond normal daily fluctuations. IR is just the body’s cells rejecting the call for them to store more energy. Cells that are already full don’t want any more energy because it can damage them. However, the body needs to get the sugars and fats from your last meal out of the bloodstream and thus raises insulin levels higher to try to push more energy into those already overloaded cells. Over months and years, this escalates, leading to chronically high levels of insulin being needed just to store normal amounts of energy from food.
If your body has lots of room for energy storage, it doesn’t require high insulin levels to clear your blood of your last meal. Yes, you get fatter, but you don’t suffer the effects of abnormally high insulin. Its only when your cells get full that they become IR and insulin levels rise. In many ways, being able to put on weight easily is actually a healthy trait. It is also a good survival trait which is probably why many of us share this ability to easily get fat.
Medical doctors deal with some patients that have a condition known as
Lipodystrophy. These patients have almost no body fat and cannot store energy as fat. They often look slim and even “ripped” like a body builder. Virtually all of these patients have chronically high insulin levels and quickly become diabetic. They also suffer all of the associated modern diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and degenerative vascular diseases and organ failures. Being slim is a curse for these people.
What about those people that we envy? Those ‘lucky’ few that don’t put on weight? Well, there is a battle raging inside many of them with huge amounts of insulin being wielded to try to keep the blood clear of excess energy from food. These people just don’t have the fat storage to accommodate it and thus don’t get fat. Many are not healthy – indeed many will be significantly sicker than an equivalent person who is overweight. It just takes time for insulin’s damage to start to show. So let’s not be envious; rather we should feel sorry for these poor people.
So being fat is bad, and now being slim is too? Well, yes and no. It all comes back to the root cause of most modern illness – high insulin levels. If you eat in a way that keeps insulin levels under control, then it doesn’t matter if you are slim or somewhat overweight. Its all about the insulin and not what your scale tells you.
Eat a very low carbohydrate diet and you will avoid high insulin levels and thus provide the best opportunity for long-term good health.