Link of the Week.
More New HRH Pages.
Review: The South Beach Diet
4. Feature Article: Insulin
Resistance and Exercise.
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More New HRH
As I mentioned last week,
I’ve been hard at work on getting some new pages
up on the web sites. You should check our pages on HRH Program Resources and
The South Beach Diet
Please click here to go the
Book Review section of the site.
Article: Insulin Resistance and Exercise
For Halloween, I sent you a
note detailing the spooky return of the “Phantom
Sweet Tooth,” which foretold the story of how my
mind still wants sweets even though my body is
essentially opposed to them now. Then, I
promised I would send you another installment
about putting that phantom to rest.
But then, another spooky
thing happened. I just couldn’t bring myself to
write it! What happened? Was my mind opposing me
even talking about how to shut it up? Possibly,
but I thought of another reason.
It occurred to me that I
was getting ahead of myself. In that piece, I
had talked about how the HRH Program reverses
the symptoms of insulin resistance—especially
the cravings for high-glycemic snacks and
treats—but I hadn’t actually talked about how
that works. And unless you’re well into the
program, you may very well not know what the
heck I was talking about. So let’s dive in now
exercise can improve insulin resistance and
drastically lower your cravings for sweets!
Insulin Resistance and
Have you ever had the
experience of wanting less food on days that you
exercise? If so, then you may be experiencing
one of the many known effects of insulin
resistance syndrome, which left untreated will
eventually lead to diabetes.
At first glance, it makes
no sense. Shouldn’t you want more food after
burning up extra calories? But once you
understand how exercise influences your body’s
use of its blood sugar, then this experience is
perfectly reasonable. Moreover, repeating it
regularly can make for quick and easy weight
Let’s cover the
of insulin resistance first. Insulin is
the hormone responsible for opening up our cells
to take in energy for use during the day. Sugar
and fat are the energy sources our cells use.
After we eat a meal, foods
are broken down into sugars and fats and
absorbed into the bloodstream. This raises our
blood sugar and circulating free fatty acids,
which we won’t cover in this article. When the
pancreas senses increased blood sugar, it
releases insulin into the bloodstream.
Ideally, the insulin
quickly unlocks the cells, the sugars enter the
bloodstream, and the whole process is over and
done with within an hour or two. However, the
cells become less able to take up insulin due to
a number of circumstances, including aging, lack
of physical activity, becoming overweight, and
eating too many high sugar foods.
When this happens, it is
necessary for the pancreas to secrete more
insulin, as having high blood sugar in the
bloodstream is highly damaging to the body over
the long-term. (Diabetes
is the condition of having high blood sugar, and
it can be thought of as a disease which causes
the aging rate to double in sufferers,
dramatically shortening lifespan due to
complications like heart attacks.)
As this process continues
over the years, the insulin resistance syndrome
worsens, and the day-to-day effect of this
becomes evident to the sufferer as wild swings
in blood sugar lead to a roller coaster effect
on energy and hunger, as well.
been proven that low-blood sugar causes cravings
for high-sugar snacks, because the body senses a
need for quick energy. High sugar
treats, such as candy bars, break down in to
energy faster than other foods, and this gives
you the sensation of feeling better, even if the
effect lasts just a short-time.
Regular exercise has been
shown to interrupt this process of blood sugar
swings by helping us to regulate our blood sugar
better. How does this happen? Researchers are
unsure about the exact way that exercise has
this effect, even though they know for sure that
it does. Using what we now know about it,
though, we can make an educated guess that makes
When we exercise, our body
senses an immediate need for energy. The body
is great at distributing resources to the places
where they are needed. So when we exercise, all
of the sudden the insulin starts to work
better at getting the energy into our cells.
This means that less
insulin is needed, and when less insulin is
needed, there swings in our blood sugar are less
severe throughout the day. And when the blood
sugar swings are lessened, so is our appetite.
Thus, for someone with insulin resistance,
exercise can actually cause him or her to want
to eat less.
Researchers have found that
little as one workout can have this
effect on our blood sugar. But the effect is
enhanced when the exercise is done regularly,
both many times per week and at the same time of
the day. It becomes part of our daily rhythm.
And when the body expects to need the energy
even before it actually needs it, it will react
by pre-positioning the energy in the cells that
are going to be using it when the workout
commences. Thus, insulin sensitivity is
increased, and the march towards diabetes is
One warning is necessary,
however. The exercise must be done a certain
way so as to avoid burning up too many sugar
calories. Given what we know about blood sugar,
it is easy to understand why.
much sugar is removed from the bloodstream
through highly intense exercises, then the
swings in blood sugar and energy will continue
instead of decline.
Researchers have found that
exercising in the fat-burning zone, like that
recommended in the HRH Program, is the best for
decreasing insulin resistance and preventing