Did you know that insulin is the main fat-storing hormone?
When you eat, you have an insulin spike.
When you don’t eat, or you fast for a period of time, blood sugar and insulin levels are lowered and this improves your insulin sensitivity.
But what happens when you eat again, and does it matter what you eat?
The Insulin To Glucagon Ratio
When you eat, you have an insulin spike. However, there is something called an “Insulin to Glucagon Ratio” that tells a more in-depth story than just insulin. The higher this ratio, the more the body is prone to storing fat, trigger inflammation, and lead to obesity, auto-immune issues, and chronic disease. The lower the ratio, the more the body is prone to be in an anti-inflammatory, healing state and triggers autophagy, anti-aging, and fat loss.
Glucagon is the fat-burning hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas and is the hormone of Catabolism, or “Fasting and Burning”.
Insulin is the fat-storing hormone made by the alpha cells in the pancreas and is the hormone of Anabolism, or “Feeding and Storing”.
Muscle tissue has no glucagon receptors; so glucagon can’t tell the muscles to do anything.
On the contrary, muscle tissue does have insulin receptors, and insulin can tell the muscle to grow. So, insulin has a small positive effect on muscle growth.
Fat, or adipose cells, have glucagon and insulin receptor sites, so both hormones can trigger “Lipogenesis”, or fat storing by the insulin, and “Lipolysis”, or fat burning, by the glucagon. In the liver, you will see that when insulin is up, glucagon is down and vice versa.
What are the Benefits of a Low Insulin to Glucagon Ratio?
- Insulin Sensitivity. This is in reference to your body’s ability to release insulin in small, healthy levels when glucose or carbs are consumed. On the contrary, Insulin Resistance occurs when the blood sugar has been chronically high and more and more insulin is needed to lower the blood sugar to healthy levels. This is what occurs in pre-diabetics or Type II Diabetes.
- Autophagy and Mitophagy. This is the recycling of diseased and damaged cells and the recycling of mitochondria in the cell. If insulin is shut off temporarily, the body has the energy to clean up the damaged mitochondria and cells. As soon as you eat and insulin is triggered, it shuts off this healthy, anti-aging process in order to put its energy towards digesting food.
- Lipolysis. This is the mobilization and utilization of fat molecules for energy. Glucagon activates this mechanism, unlocking the ability to burn stored body fat for energy. Likewise, insulin shuts this off and activates fat-storing processes.
- Brown Adipose Tissue Activation. This is the process of turning white fat into the more metabolically fat burning brown fat. Brown fat gets its color from the dense amount of mitochondria used to generate thermogenesis and heat in the body. A low Insulin to Glucagon ratio will encourage this to occur.
How Does the Food You Eat After Fasting Affect Your Fat Burning?
When you break a fast with carbs or sugar, insulin increases, completely halting any fat-burning, stopping autophagy and the conversion of white fat into metabolically healthy brown fat. Simultaneously, glucagon will decrease. As a result, the body is primed to store incoming fuel as fat.
When you eat just fat following a fasting period, only glucagon increases, leaving insulin almost at zero. This may maintain or increase your state of ketosis and continue your fat burning.
When you break a fast with protein, both insulin and glucagon increase. But the amazing part is that if the protein is ingested along with carbohydrates then insulin increases significantly, increasing fat storing while glucagon decreases. When protein is ingested alone after a fast, then glucagon almost doubles and insulin stays the same or increases slightly, increasing the fat burning beyond the level that it reaches when eating just fat.
How Does the Food You Eat While Eating the Standard American Diet Affect Your Fat Burning?
When you are in a fasted state, eating protein is beneficial for fat burning, but what happens if you are in a “fed” state, eating the typical high carb American diet?
When you are in a fed state, the insulin to glucagon ratio is 4.0, a very high level, and the body is in an anabolic and fat storing state. This turns off any autophagy and ketogenesis.
How Does the Food You Eat While Eating a Low Carb Diet Affect Your Fat Burning?
When you are on a low-carb diet but not in a fasted state, the Insulin to glucagon ratio is low at 1:3. You are in a catabolic state and experiencing ketosis.
What Happens When you Eat Protein In Each State?
Low Carb State
When you eat just protein while in a fed, low carb diet, the Insulin to Glucagon ratio stays the same at 1:3; there is no change and you are still in a fat burning state.
Standard American Diet
When you eat protein with a Standard American Diet, not only does the insulin to glucagon ratio increase above 4.0, it increases to 70— almost 20 times! This is where protein can have a negative effect depending on the food it is paired with. It is increasing fat storage in the body with a high carb Standard American diet, but will increase fat burning when paired with a ketogenic, fasted state.
This is the key to increasing your fat burning! When you are in a fasted state, after fasting for about 24 hours, your insulin to glucagon ratio is about .8. In that fasted state, your body is engaged in a catabolic and ketogenic state. That means that your insulin level is really low and your fat burning hormone glucagon is higher.
Glucagon stimulates fat burning and glycogen to be released and used as fuel. When we eat pure protein after a fasted state, it actually drives up glucagon even further to increase fat burning and improve that Insulin to glucagon ratio from .8 to .5. This drives up a small amount of insulin but increases even more glucagon. This will actually increase your fat burning even more than during the fast. This may last an hour or so.
In order to make ketones in the liver, low insulin is needed and increased glucagon is needed. Low insulin by itself doesn’t produce the ketones. One other important component of ketones being produced is carnitine; carnitine escorts fat into the mitochondria for oxidation. It is taking the fat into the mitochondria and turning it into the ketones. In fact, ketogenesis doubles with additional carnitine.
How to Take Advantage and Maximize your Fat Loss
The goal is to increase fat burning, lower fat storing and inflammation while maintaining muscle mass. So, in summary, how does understanding the Insulin to Glucagon ratio help maximise fat loss?
Low insulin and high glucagon act trigger increased fat burning. By eating strictly protein to break the fast, you trigger a deeper level of ketosis, lowering the Insulin to Glucagon ratio even more, and maximizing fat loss.
You can help burn even more fat, increase energy levels and support your overall health with the tools below:
By starting your morning fasting period with Accelerated Keto®™ following a night time of fasting, you will not only be kicked into a higher level of fat burning, but it will also give you sustained physical and mental energy all day long, and suppress your appetite. All of these factors support longer fasting periods and a decreased Insulin to Glucagon ratio. Furthermore, Accelerated Keto®™ has additional fat-burning and muscle-sparing ingredients to enhance your results.
Take Acceleradine® 3 times a day on an empty stomach and your ATP production increases from 2 to 36 per mitochondria, representing true cellular energy. It helps lower blood sugar and appetite, increase energy, and alleviate brain fog. These are all factors that will help support a low-carb diet coupled with intermittent fasting.
Accelerated Ancient Salt™ “plumps up the volume of fluid inside and outside the cells which help clean the liver, lower blood glucose, supports apoptosis, induces DNA repair, and cleans the body of excess estrogen. It also helps with bile production, breaking down fats in the liver, and encourages improved digestive health.
The liver is responsible for glucose and fat metabolism, optimal thyroid function and detoxification— all factors that contribute to insulin resistance and weight loss. The supplements in the Liver Flush Cleanse work together to soften liver stones and prep the liver to release those stones out of the body. As a result, detoxification, glucose metabolism, fat burning and metabolic rate increases. Cleansing the liver is enhancing the benefits of intermittent fasting.
In addition to helping with Phase 2 liver detox, methylation of estrogen, and cell membrane support for Phase 3 detox, choline may help facilitate the burning of stored fat and has been shown to prevent abnormal or excessive liver accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides. The Inositol helps support insulin sensitivity and overall hormonal balance.
Berberine HCL helps lower glucose and insulin levels, reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and toxicity, and increases nutrient absorption.
Eat low fat protein only to break your fast
When you do so, you will decrease the Insulin to Glucagon ratio from .8 to .5, giving you a bump of extra fat-burning for 60-90 minutes.
Following that protein snack with low-intensity cardio like a walk, rebounding, or standing on a vibration machine will improve that fat burning right after you eat the protein. This will utilize the mobilized glucose and triglycerides resulting in glucose depletion, and your body will become more adapted to burning fat for fuel. You actually have to move to engage “fat oxidation”, so that mild cardio will increase fat oxidation.
It is important to supplement with minerals for increased cellular energy. Mineral salts are essential to our body. At least 24 of them are involved in enzymatic reactions and at least 64 are essential to read the genetic code. They help the immune system, muscle function, wound healing, digestion, strengthen bones, blood-sugar metabolism, and regulate heart function. Quinton, contains all the minerals needed by the human body in the proportion of the blood plasma.
Energy Enhancer Patch
These increase ATP production in the mitochondria, increase Heart Rate Variability, improve the bioelectrical measurement or “phase angle” or integrity of the cell walls, reduce inflammation, and increase endurance. Just after 20 minutes, the capacity of each cell increases. With age, the cell walls become rigid and hard to penetrate with nutrients coming in and toxins going out. The Energy Enhancer Patches soften that cell wall and improve that phase angle within five minutes of applying the patch.
Additionally, it improves digestion and circulation which are essential for nutrient absorption that leads to improved energy. Lastly, it increases beta-oxidation which is the fastest way to increase cellular energy. As a plus, it increases fat burning and muscle growth. They work synergistically with the Accelerated Keto®™ in your fat burning and tapping into an endless supply of fuel source on your body. All of these mechanisms support fasting, suppress sugar cravings, and an improved Insulin to Glucagon ratio.
Carnosine is a naturally occurring antioxidant in the body, of which production declines with age. Studies on carnosine show that it plays a vital role in overall health, neuroprotection and anti-aging. In clinical studies, carnosine has also been shown to improve flexibility, strength, balance and endurance. For athletes, it has been shown to blunt the lactic acid effect that slows muscle and endurance progress. All of these factors support improved fat burning in the body.
Keep carbs under 20-50 grams a day
By focusing on slow-digesting carbs from whole foods like squashes and green vegetables, insulin sensitivity is improved and the insulin to glucagon ratio stays low.
Focusing on protein will give the body the essential amino acids for muscle growth, lower the insulin to glucagon ratio, improve fat- burning and suppressing the appetite. Studies show that those who eat more protein end up eating less calories in general because of the appetite suppressant action protein provides. Furthermore, we do need more protein as we get older to support muscle maintenance.
Fill in With Healthy Fat
These fats will help with satiety and get it from animal foods or healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, and ghee. Stay away from canola oil and all vegetable oils; they are inflammatory and wreak havoc on your digestive system.
Sara Banta is a Stanford University Graduate with a Degree in Economics and Psychology, and a certified Natural Supplement Expert & Graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Sara is the Founder of Accelerated Health Products and host of the health & wellness podcast, Accelerated Health Radio.