Safe and Permanent Weight Loss Cannot Be Achieved in the Fed State
Weight Loss Axiom Number Three
Insulin and Glucagon
These are the two major hormones that control energy
metabolism in the human. They are much like yin and
yang, hot and cold or happy and sad. In order to really
enjoy the good days, we all have bad days. Extremes of either
too hot or too cold and soon everyone complains about the
weather. Too much yin or too much yang and according to
traditional Chinese Medicine, you are sick. Too much insulin
and you are sick, hypertension, overweight, cancer, heart
disease and stroke. Too much glucagon and you are too
thin, emaciated and weak.
As we have mentioned previously, when man evolved there would
be times of famine, between times of feast. The biochemistry
of this evolution allowed man to survive the periods of famine
by using insulin to "store" energy. Some typical "fuel"
reserves in a 70 kilogram man:
Organ ***************** Available energy (kcal)
************ glucose/glycogen ***** fat ***** protein
blood *********** 60 ************** 45 ********* 0
liver *********** 400 ************* 450 ******** 400
brain *********** 8 *************** 0 ********** 0
muscle ********** 1200 ************ 450 ******** 24000
adipose(fat) **** 80 ************** 135,000 **** 40
from Stryer Biochemistry 4th Edition page 771
Look at the chart and find the biggest number. The largest
amount of available energy in an average 70 kilogram
human is overwhelmingly stored in -fat. For the purpose of
this discussion let's think of each of these numbers above
as fuel tanks, for our energy needs. When we fill up our
cars with gasoline (our old Mercedes B100 biodiesel) we have
to have a fuel hose to get the fuel into our gas tank. In
order to use that fuel in our gas tanks, we have to have a
fuel line leading from the gas tank to the motor in our
car. Without these fuel lines, we could not utilize our
engine / car.
Human biochemistry is composed of many different enzyme systems.
One such enzyme is phosphofructokinase that catalyzes the
reaction of fructose 6-phosphate to fructose 1,6-bisphosphate.
As with any biochemical reaction that is dependant on an
enzyme system, the more it is used, the more developed it
becomes. If there is no need for an enzyme, then the levels
in the body will be very low. If there is much demand for
an enzyme, then the body will synthesize more of it to meet
Filling your tank with gas
The fuel line for the human body to fill its energy storage
tanks, especially the largest energy storage tank fat, is
insulin. Insulin is the hose that energy (gasoline, biodiesel)
flows from the storage tank (breakdown products of your
recently ingested meals) into your gas tank for future use.
Without this fuel line insulin, you will eventually go into
a coma (hyperosmolar) that if not treated, can result in less
than optimal outcomes.
Using the gas in your tank
When we drive our cars, we use the energy stored in the fuel
tanks. In order for us to use that fuel, it must get from
the storage tank to the motor. In the human, that fuel line
is glucagon. Remember, insulin stores energy, glucagon
utilizes that stored energy. Just as insulin stimulates
energy storage and the necessary enzyme systems, glucagon
stimulates energy utilization and the necessary enzyme
systems required to accomplish this.
Life in the Fed State
The problem today is that we have evolved from creatures that
did not have consistent daily feedings to our "modern" fast
food insanity and the notion that now we need three "square"
meals a day plus snacks. What happens to our energy metabolism
when we start out putting insulin stimulating foods in our
stomach three times a day? When we eat, our biochemistry
reacts by secreting insulin, so that we can store all this
energy for future needs -most of it going into fat. Long
before we have used any of this energy, we are having another
meal -lunch. More gas in our tanks, -none used yet. Then
comes dinner -more gas into our tank. Snacks -more gas in.
We spend our whole day and most of the night in a "fed" or
Huge fuel tanks full of fat -everywhere
Because we never allow our body's insulin level to drop enough
so that the glucagon level will rise, we never get into a
"glucagon" state. Our whole car is now filled mostly with
gas. There is hardly any room for a driver in the front seat.
Huge fuel tanks full of fat are everywhere we look. Your
car is loaded with gas, but you can't drive around the block
because you haven't developed the enzymes of energy utilization
to establish a fuel line between all these gas tanks full
of fat and our motor, which is now also encased in fat.
While insulin is the fuel line to fill our energy stores,
glucagon is the fuel line to use this stored energy. Without
proper stimulation of the glucagon system, our tanks just
keep filling up with fat. We never develop the necessary
enzymes to use all this energy. You don't have to travel too
far to see people totally encased in their stored energy.
Livin' la vida de glucagon
To break this cycle, we need to stop eating for at least a
portion of the day, or at least every other day. I don't know
how many of you have ever fasted for 24 hours or more, but
the feeling is incredible. You get a lot more work done,
you don't get lethargic after eating and you start to actually
feel thin. I don't recommend fasting more than 24 hours
and I am not actually recommending a 24 hour fast. What I
am recommending is that during some portion of every day or
at least every other day, you refrain from eating anything
so that you can get into a glucagon state and begin to induce
the necessary enzymes to use all the energy the human body
Like it or not, three meals a day plus snacks is just
Copyright © John Mericle M.D. 2005 All Rights Reserved
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