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Oct 7 / Jeremy & Kim

Weight Loss Diet Nutrition Basics – Insulin v. HGH


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Creating a caloric deficit and being consistent with your exercise routine will go a long way towards getting you to lose fat.  However, understanding weight loss diet nutrition will help you shed fat faster and turn your body into a fat burning machine all day long.  In this post we’ll cover some of the basics of fat loss nutrition.  We’ll start by discussing two key players, insulin and HGH.

NOTE: we are oversimplifying things a bit just so we don’t get too bogged down by the science.  Please don’t blast us for this in the comments. This is intended as an introduction to these concepts and not a dissertation.

A little inspiration for your battle against fat!

[We love the movie Braveheart.  These scenes really get us pumped up!]

Insolent Insulin

Insulin is an important hormone that helps your body utilize energy as efficiently as possible.  However, when you want to lose fat insulin is the enemy.  Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to hold on to its fat.  It is usually telling your body to store fat because it has identified an influx of carbohydrates that it wants your body to use for energy first.  You see, when given the option, your body will burn carbohydrates over fat every time.  This is why you will hear so much about low-carb diets when trying to lose fat.  If your body cannot find carbohydrates to use as fuel then it will turn to your fat cells for energy.

The Hero, Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

In the battle for fat loss, HGH is on your side.  HGH tells your body to release fat so that it can be used for energy.  When losing fat you want to do everything you can to keep HGH levels up.  The problem is that insulin is able to shut down HGH if there is carbohydrate energy found in your body.  In order for HGH to be able to help you out, you have to keep insulin levels low.

So basically, if you devise a diet that keep insulin down, and incorporate HGH boosters (like exercise or fasting) then you’re body will turn to fat as an energy source all day long.

[This is a fun video that helps illustrate what I’m talking about on this post. We also love that they throw up a map of Jeremy’s home state of Iowa when talking about developing greedy fat cells!]

How do I keep insulin down and increase HGH?

Well, as we’ve already mentioned, you want to reduce your intake of carbohydrates to somewhere between 50-100 grams per day.  If you’ve been counting your calories with one of the online calorie counter we recommended in the Reading Your Calorie Compass post then you should have a pretty good idea of how many carbohydrates you are eating in a day.  If you are currently not on a low-carb diet then you may be surprised to see how many carbs you are taking in on a daily basis.  Trying to get that down to 50-100 grams per day may seem like a difficult task.  Well, let me give you a few ideas on where to start.

Cut out all sugar, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and breakfast cereal!

Do your best to make vegetables your primary source of carbohydrates.  If you do this, your body will quickly use up all the available carb sources of energy, insulin will then drop, and HGH will get busy releasing stored fat to be used by your body as its primary energy source.    My guess is that you will also cut out a tremendous amount of calories from your daily diet by doing this.  In fact, it is probably more calories than you should cut.  Replace the lost calories from cutting out carbs with lean protein and healthy fats.

[NOTE: Completely cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes from your diet is really only necessary when you are trying to lose fat.  Once you’ve achieved your fat loss goals you can increase your carbohydrate intake to around 150 grams per day and reintroduce some of your favorite carb sources such as pizza or roasted potatoes.   Of course, if you start eating more calories than you need in a day, the excess carbs will be stored as fat so don’t go overboard or you’ll lose all that you’ve gained…or gain all that you lost…you know what we mean.]

Following some of the basic principles outline above will really get you started on the right path to fat loss.  Even if this seems like too much of a dramatic shift for you at first, we highly recommend giving it a try for at least 30 days.  As you watch the fat melt away you will develop greater motivation to continue with a life of reduced carbs until your target weight is achieved.  We will eventually post some recipes to help you replace your favorite high carb meals.  Let us know what high carb meals you need help to replace.

Good luck and please share your experiences in the comments below.

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One Comment

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  1. Kelly / Dec 10 2010

    This is a great site! As someone who cut refined carbs (not by choice, but by force of living in Thailand and not liking rice!), I will say the refined carb cravings come fast and furious for a few days! Resist! Eat fruit instead (preferably an apple with peanut butter – protein and sugar).

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