Protein, Insulin and Metabolism

ppProtein Power, a book by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades, provides a wealth of information on this subject…some basics:

Insulin is not a “bad” hormone.  You could not function properly or live very long without it. But in excess, it causes big problems.

The role of insulin:

*lowers high blood sugar.

*puts the metabolism in storage mode.

*converts protein and blood sugar to fat.

*causes fat in the diet to be stored in fat cells.

*increases cholesterol production by the body.

*causes the kidneys to retain water.

*stimulates the growth of artery wall cells.

*stimulates the use of blood sugar for energy.

There is a second hormone involved in these processes known as glucagon and it works against insulin and has the opposite effects:

The role of glucagon:

*raises low blood sugar.

*puts the metabolism in burning mode.

*converts protein and fat to glucose.

*causes dietary fat to be used for energy.

*releases fat from fat cells for energy.

*reduces cholesterol production.

*causes the kidneys to release water.

*causes artery wall cells to return to normal.

*stimulates the use of fat for energy.

Reducing insulin and raising glucagon is in our best interests and keeping the proper balance between these two.  How?  Balancing protein and carbohydrate intake!

The book cited above provides helpful information on calculating the right percentages for you.  Until then, they recommend women start with 3 ounces of protein foods per meal and men start with 4.  Carbohydrate intake must be reduced to 10 grams three times a day if there is obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats, or type II diabetes.  For a person just wanting to lose a few pounds, a reduction to 55 grams a day of carbohydrate is a good place to start.

Some Senior News:

Limit the intake of sweets and desserts that accompany celebrations.    One notable exception is antioxidant rich dark chocolate.

Other “super foods” for seniors that are beneficial to include in holiday meals include blueberries, flax seed, carrots, eggs, nuts and salmon. 

Lean meats, such as turkey breast, serve as healthy alternatives to red meat and…as always…eat in moderation.

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