A basic tenet of various popular diets is that consuming carbs leads to increased bodyfat levels because carbs promote a greater release of insulin in the body than protein or fat. Insulin is a hormone that’s linked to cellular processes that result in increased fat synthesis and storage. An opposing point of view maintains that insulin is only a tool and won’t make you fat unless you take in too many calories in relation to your physical activity. On the other hand, high levels of insulin cause all processes involving bodyfat oxidation, or burning, to stop.
The confusion about the correlation of insulin and carbs to increased levels of bodyfat in humans led scientists from the University of Tennessee to examine the effects of glucose and insulin on fat cells obtained from six nonobese, nondiabetic people.
The study yielded interesting results. When the subjects were exposed to both insulin and glucose, the type of sugar that circulates in the blood, processes resulting in fat synthesis and storage in fat cells were maximized. On the other hand, when cells were treated with either insulin or glucose separately, the effect on fat synthesis was far less. Based on that finding, the researchers concluded, ‘These findings suggest that hyperinsulinemia [elevated blood insulin levels] combined with increased carbohydrate intake may promote fatty acid and triglyceride synthesis in human adipose tissue.’ IM