I am about to recount a horror story that might be headlined: Innocent Human Is Turned Upon By Own Hormones! But we did it to ourselves, you know. Remember, no culture in world history has ever consumed even a fraction of the sugar we twenty-first-century Westerners do.
Perhaps you’ve been overweight for a long time. Once there was a stage in the progress of your metabolic disease when you could lose weight pretty easily, if you sharply cut your caloric intake. You’d gain the pounds back, but at least at the price of hunger, you could shed them again. Then, although your weight continued to yo-yo up and down, you began to notice that the yo-yo went up easily, but getting it to fall down again was harder and harder.
Now maybe you’re past even that stage, and you simply cannot drop pounds. If you are, insulin has really closed the trap. The pancreas, faced with your abuse of simple and refined carbohydrates, has become so efficient at secreting insulin that just a touch of blood sugar will release a flood. In response to high insulin levels, your body has become intent on storing fat by the process I’ve explained. Group A responders (see pages 34-35) will recognize the role that excess insulin plays in preventing weight loss by giving you an ongoing sensation of hunger that can be satisfied only by constant overeating.
Now that you’ve reached this understanding of the metabolic basis of being overweight, imagine going into your doctor’s office after diligently eating a low-fat diet that was quite possibly high in sugar and carbs. And imagine being told, “Well, if you just had a little more 42 willpower…” Sad, isn’t it? Willpower is not the issue. To lose weight, you’re going to need the controlled carbohydrate nutritional approach offered by this book. You will also need the two other legs of the Atkins triad: regular exercise and nutritional supplementation.
I know I’ve produced a really heart-sinking analysis of how and why fat accumulates on your body. So, what do you do now? You adjust the insulin spigot. And so far as weight loss goes, the answer lies in two entwined concepts: burning fat and controlling carbohydrates, which we will explore in the upcoming chapters.
• Insulin is the hormone that transports glucose from your blood to your cells, where it can be converted to energy. The liver will convert excess glucose to glycogen, which is stored in the liver and muscles for additional, accessible energy.
• Remaining glucose will be converted to fat and stored throughout the body.
• Excessive carbohydrate intake results in an oversupply of glucose, and thus insulin, in the body.
• An ongoing cycle of excess blood glucose overproduction and insulin overproduction eventually results in hyperinsulinism and ultimately diabetes.
• Hyperinsulinism is what makes it hard for many people to lose weight.
• Atkins can stabilize insulin production to make it easier to lose weight.
• High levels of triglycerides in the blood are a proven risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
• Atkins can sharply reduce your risk of blood-sugar disorders-and by extension, heart disease and other serious ailments.