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Real Mechanism of Fat Gain

Understanding the Real Mechanism of Fat Gain


When we think of insulin we think of diabetes and blood sugar. Although they are directly related, insulin plays a much more profound role in how our body uses and stores energy.

Insulin is the master key to understanding the real mechanism of fat gain. The other piece of the puzzle is the super hormone leptin that also regulates how our body stores and metabolizes energy. I will discuss leptin on another posting.

First let’s have a close look at insulin.

KETO insulinCarbohydrates are nothing but chains of sugar molecules. Consequently, as soon as we ingest carbohydrate rich foods, they get broken down in our gut into simple sugars (primarily glucose) and absorbed in the blood stream.

A healthy adult can only have at any given time one teaspoon of sugar in the blood.

  • Volume of blood in an average person = 5 liters (50 dl or 10.5 pints)
  • Normal fasting blood sugar level for a borderline diabetic person < 100 mg/dl
  • This corresponds to 5,000 mg of sugar in 50 dl of blood volume
  • 5,000 mg => 5 grams of sugar in 5 liters of blood
  • 5 grams of sugar = one teaspoon of sugar


Let’s have a look at an example case.

Now consider that there are 57 grams of carbohydrates in one large plain bagel. This is equal to 11 + teaspoons of sugar. Now this carbohydrate gets broken down in the gut and those 11 + teaspoons of sugar get absorbed into the blood stream. This is when insulin needs to step up to the task. Why? Because excess glucose in the blood is dangerous.

The primary duty of insulin is to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Excess glucose in the blood can stick to proteins and disrupt their ability to regenerate our cells. That’s why diabetics don’t heal a wound.

Excess glucose in the blood also causes nerve and organ damage. There are only two possible options as to what happens to the excess glucose in the blood. Excess glucose needs to be:

  • used up as energy

The way glucose is used as energy is in the form of glycogen that is stored and used up in the muscle cells during physical activity.,

  • or taken out of the blood stream (stored).

One of the critical tasks of insulin is to help the liver convert the excess glucose into glycogen and store it in the muscle cells. The liver also stores some glycogen for later use to supply glucose to the brain and other vital organs when the blood glucose levels are low.


KETO Sugar-infographicWhat happens to the excess blood sugar left behind after the liver and muscle pool is full?

The liver takes up the left over excess sugar from the blood and converts it into little fat molecules known as triglycerides.  These triglycerides then travel through the blood stream and get stored into the fat cells. It is also insulin which signals the fat cells to start storing the converted triglycerides.  

Bottom line:

Insulin is the sugar police so that no extra sugar is left behind circulating in the blood stream.


What about fat in our diet?

Does fat bring forth the same response from insulin? Does fat also cause insulin to store away fat?

In a study researchers tested the glucose and insulin response to a pure carb (100g) and a pure fat (40g) meal. There is no glucose response from a pure fat meal and as a result no insulin response either.  So fat in diet doesn’t cause an insulin response and as a result no fat storage.

The conclusion is …

Fat doesn’t cause one to gain fat, carbs do!



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