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What’s an insulin response?

On Monday, November 3, 2008 by dotFIT experts

Question: What’s an insulin response?

Answer: This is almost a trick question because insulin responds to virtually everything you put in your body.  Its role in the body, after all, is to take amino acids, glucose and fatty acids and put them into storage for later use. In addition, insulin is a hormone that promotes protein synthesis (tissue building).

If you eat pure sugar on an empty stomach, you will get large quantities of glucose in the blood quickly, which will trigger an immediate insulin response and may lead to an overreaction of insulin release. This can send your blood sugar plummeting to the low side of normal, making you temporarily weak or dizzy. This is often referred to as rebound hypoglycemia. If you are healthy this feeling should pass quickly. If not, you may want to eat something that contains carbohydrates, but is less sweet and contains fewer calories, to bring blood sugar back to normal. To prevent this, avoid eating pure “sugar” by itself or very sugary, high calorie foods on an empty stomach, and try to eat some protein and/or fat with carbohydrate foods.


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Insulin is the primary hormone the body uses to keep blood sugar within a steady, healthy range. When you consume foods, especially carbohydrates (because they are the first foods converted directly to blood sugar), insulin responds in order to keep you alive. Inadequate secretion of insulin (poor response) results in the improper metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat. This can lead to significant health problems characterized by high blood sugar and high blood levels of triglycerides (bad fats associated with coronary artery disease).

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