Category Archives: Insulin Resistance

Top five reasons why you should remove grains from your diet for good

by Eric Hunter 

(NaturalNews) Government guidelines and advice from medical doctors can often lead people to believe that cereal grains are the foundation of a healthy diet. The food pyramid, now renamed the food plate, dictates that people should eat several servings of whole grains each day to provide an adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This advice is given despite the fact that humans are poorly adapted to the consumption of cereal grains and that the scientific literature shows that grain consumption is linked to several health problems.

Grains have only been a part of the human diet for about 10,000 years, which is a very small time in the context of evolution. Just because humans can tolerate grains to a certain degree doesn’t mean that we are designed to consume grains or that we can achieve optimal health on a grain-based diet.

1) High-carbohydrate density and increased insulin load

Carbohydrates are eventually converted into a simple form of sugar, glucose, after they are consumed. Insulin is secreted and allows glucose to be transported into various cells throughout the body. Individuals who aren’t very physically active don’t have the need to continually refill their muscle and liver cells with glycogen, and these cells often start to become insulin-resistant on a grain-based diet.

Regular consumption of high-density carbohydrates is not only linked to insulin resistance and overweight, but also leptin resistance, altered gut flora and inflammation.

2) Antinutrients

Grains are the reproductive material of the plant, and plants don’t make the reproductive material to give away for free to animals. Cereal grains have evolved Lectins, Phytic Acid, Protease Inhibitors and other anti-nutrients that potentially disrupt normal gut physiology when they are consumed over time. Only certain anti-nutrients are problematic in humans, and they seem to operate in a dose-dependent manner.

Regular consumption of anti-nutrients in grains may lead to poor mineral absorption, autoimmune disease, leaky gut and low-level chronic inflammation. More studies on human subjects are needed to fully understand the detrimental effects of Lectins and other anti-nutrients on human health.

3) Gluten

Studies and anecdotal reports indicate that gluten intolerance is much more common than previously thought, and many asymptomatic individuals react to gluten with some type of inflammatory response.

4) Insoluble fiber

While fruits and vegetables contain heart-healthy, soluble fiber that promote good gut flora, cereal grains are high in insoluble fiber that shouldn’t be eaten in excess. More insoluble fiber is often recommended for healthy digestion, despite the fact that healthy gut bacteria is the key to relieve constipation and achieve healthy bowel movements.

5) Dietary imbalances

Cereal grains have several dietary shortcomings, and a grain-based diet can disrupt adequate nutritional balance. Cereal grains are poor sources of fiber, minerals, vitamins and protein compared to animal products, fruits and vegetables. They contain no vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium nor sodium, and several animal studies show that grain consumption can induce vitamin D deficiencies and alter the metabolism of several minerals.

Cereal grains only supply some of the essential amino acids, very few essential fatty acids and are also characterized by a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

Traditional grain preparation
Some traditional cultures have been known to consume grains on a regular basis and still maintain excellent health. However, these populations have usually used soaking, sprouting and fermentation to make the grains easier to digest. These preparation methods remove or deactivate some of the anti-nutrients commonly found in grains, and fermentation is especially effective when trying to make grains more digestible.

Sources for this article

Cordain L. Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword
World Rev Nutr Diet. 1999;84:19-73.

Freed DL. Do dietary lectins cause disease?
BMJ. 1999 Apr 17;318(7190):1023-4.

Miyake K, Tanaka T, McNeil PL. Disruption-Induced Mucus Secretion: Repair and Protection
PLoS Biol. 2006 Sep;4(9):e276.

Dalla Pellegrina C, Perbellini O, et al. Effects of wheat germ agglutinin on human gastrointestinal epithelium: insights from an experimental model of immune/epithelial cell interaction.
Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 Jun 1;237(2):146-53. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Biesiekierski JR, Newnham ED, Irving PM, et al. Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Am J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar;106(3):508-14; quiz 515. Epub 2011 Jan 11.

Drago S, El Asmar R, Di Pierro M, et al. Gliadin, zonulin and gut permeability: Effects on celiac and non-celiac intestinal mucosa and intestinal cell lines.
Scand J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;41(4):408-19.

About the author:
Eric is the editor of and a writer for He’s an independent writer with a strong interest in personal health and the power of nature to help us heal. 
He studies Public Nutrition and specializes in the human microbiome, inflammation and gut permeability.
Eric works as a personal trainer and currently coaches a few dedicated clients on their way to a better physique. He specializes on barbell- , kettlebell- and sprint- training. Subjects like mass building and weight loss are some of his favorites.
Eric believes that lifestyle choices have to be made on an evolutionary basis!

Do you need an insulin relief day?

Pulse Fast For Mass Phases

Bench Press

Pulse Fasting – Why Bother?

As soon as I heard about the Pulse Fast, my interest was piqued. The Pulse Fast was something aggressive that I could do just once per week, leaving the rest of my week alone.
Here’s the deal: I’m in the midst of a fall mass-building phase. I’ve already planned my diet very well. I’ve gained 16 pounds of lean mass since early summer. The Pulse Fast was something I could easily do once per week without changing the rest of my plan. 
So, perhaps ironically, I planned to “fast” during my bulking phase.

Insulin: The Jekyll and Hyde Hormone

I purposefully keep endogenous (internal) insulin flowing when gaining mass. But it’s been a while since I’ve done this, and I know insulin is a “Jekyll and Hyde” hormone – both friend and monstrous foe. Elevated insulin concentrations can help you build muscle or it can make you fat and lead to disease.
With chronically elevated insulin concentrations, particular genes get turned on and the fat-building machinery of cells gets overproduced, setting the stage for triacylglycerol creation and storage (fat gain).
Further, with my family history of Type II diabetes and obesity, I was aware that I may be a poor carb-handler, particularly now that I’m in my early 40s and no longer a multi-sport, hyperactive youth. Unwanted fat gain would be tougher to strip off in early spring.
I had to give my physiology a break from the past eight months of gain, gain, gain. I needed to re-train my body so the Hyde side of insulin didn’t begin to overpower the Jekyll side. In short, I needed insulin relief.
Still, I needed insulin on my muscles’ side, and in sufficient quantities to work with my other anabolic hormones. This is where Pulse Fasting came in.
By simply doing this augmented version of a protein-sparing modified fast (PSMF) once per week (when I’m crushed with work at the university and find it difficult to eat anyway) I could remove insulin’s presence to some extent and give my genetic machinery a break.

Insulin Relief: Not Gobbledygook

Okay, reality check. Genetic and cellular machinery? Temporal adjustments to hyperinsulinemia? Acetyl Co-A carboxylase?
Holy carboxylations, Batman, is this just all intellectual gobbledygook?
No, it isn’t.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I’d create one to illustrate to myself just how much “insulin relief” I’d be getting by employing a MAG-10 Pulse Fast one day out of seven.

Here it is:

Bench Press

Looking at the graph, you can see that moderately-sized casein and casein-plus-fat meals are mildly insulinogenic. Not quite at the magnitude of a 524 kcal mixed meal (19% protein, 63% carbohydrate, 18% fat) but that’s the point, isn’t it? As stated by Tipton (2004): “The magnitude of insulin response [to 20 g casein] was not great.”

The Right Magnitude of Change

Let’s consider peak insulin values across a day. The comment in the upper right of the graph shows that a pretty standard six meals for a grown man (about 3000 kcal per day) results in 400-500 units of peak insulin over six meals. That equals 2400-3000 total units secreted just at these peak times.
By contrast, the casein “pulse” values are clearly much lower. Even at 20-50 grams per dose or with 1g/kg of fat added, there’s not a whole lot happening. No carbs, less insulin. That’s pretty straightforward.
Multiplying-out the peak insulin values we get 65-79 units for ten pulses. That equals 650-790 total units secreted at peak times.
And it’s worth noting that Pulse Fasting is more along the lines of just 10g casein hydrolysate boluses – a smaller dose than 20-50g and that would lead to a somewhat smaller insulin response. On the other hand, MAG-10 is spiked with leucine, so we might be back up near 70 after all.
Leaving other issues to the side, this low and steady insulin effect puts my “Oh my God, I’m shrinking!” thoughts at ease, even as I take a day off of forced eating and start to retrain my biochemistry away from fat storage.

“Muscle-Sparing” vs. “Professor Pudge”

Another figure is called for to illustrate my thinking on “muscle-sparing” levels of insulin versus “Professor Pudge” levels of insulin:

If I’m theoretically producing roughly 75% less insulin one day per week, on that day my physiology reflects the lower half of the figure. That is, on Mondays I produce enough insulin to maintain muscle mass but not enough to keep my cellular machinery in fat storage mode.

The Final Verdict

A week-long computation suggests that I’m secreting 11 percent less insulin per week. That is, if I set my previous chowhound insulin levels as 100 percent max secretion for seven days, I’m now at just 25 percent output on Mondays, plus 100 percent on the other six days.
Eleven percent sounds perfect to me. It feels like the right magnitude of change at this point in my year-long macro-cycle. And this is just concerning the insulin side of the equation.  
Next time, I’ll ramble on about what else I see besides insulin underlying the MAG-10 Pulse Fast and I’ll offer some other thoughts, like what else a 40-something bodybuilder does to shift his physiology and mental state from mass-crazed off-season fork fiend to in-season lean freak.
Do you need an “insulin relief day” in your mass phase? Think about it. And let’s discuss below.


1. Keske M., et al. Obesity blunts microvascular recruitment in human forearm muscle after a mixed meal.Diabetes Care. 2009 Sep;32(9):1672-7.
2. Tipton, K., et al. Ingestion of casein and whey proteins result in muscle anabolism after resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Dec;36(12):2073-81.
3. Westphal, S., et al. Postprandial lipid and carbohydrate responses after the ingestion of a casein-enriched mixed meal. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;80(2):284-90. 


Therapeutic Diet for Insulin Resistance

This low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein and moderate-fat diet is focused on real foods as the solution to Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IR), sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X. It is mainly refined foods, especially sweets, combined with deficient exercise that gets people into trouble so a program based on whole foods, not more refined food products, is the best long-term solution in IR, and a host of other health problems as well. It is also recommended to take a good multiple vitamin/mineral.
Based on human evolutionary history and physiology this should be your most natural and optimal diet. It reflects what our Paleolithic ancestors (i.e., before agriculture) evolved eating over a million years and, as such, has the highest potential of supporting healing and preventing disease. In addition, this diet is naturally alkalizing, which is considered by some people to be healthier than the typical American acidifying diet. 
If you need more dietary support than this webpage provides, the popular diet that is closest to this IR diet is The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston, M.D. We also recommended reading The Paleo Diet by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. It gives a good background on the problems of the modern diet and the advantages of the Paleolithic diet. However, use this webpage as your main reference and refer to these books only for recipes, background and support.
It will take at least 2 to 3 months to reestablish normal insulin sensitivity. If there is severe IR or obesity it could take much longer to stabilize. However, most people will experience some improvements early on in the program. After stabilization has been shown through lab values, blood pressures, improved energy, loss of weight (especially abdominal), loss of carbohydrate cravings and loss of hypoglycemic symptoms, then switching to the Maintenance Diet for Insulin Resistance is possible. However, it will be essential to continue to monitor the lab values, signs, symptoms and weight.
With this diet you should not be hungry until its time for the next meal. If this is happening try increasing the non-starchy vegetables, nuts, fats and/or protein intake in the meals. Do not avoid naturally fatty foods, but limit saturated fats. Avoid hydrogenated oils and fried foods. For hypoglycemia symptoms eat smaller more frequent meals. Try to eat for hunger and not emotional reasons. If you must eat for emotional reasons, eat non-starchy vegetables or lean protein. Snacks should be non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds or protein foods.
PROBLEM CARBOHYDRATES (refined and starchy) – The cause of the problem!
·    No potatoes or simple sugars/carbohydrates (common table sugar, fructose, sweets, cookies, candy, ice cream, pastries, honey, fruit juice, soda pop, alcoholic beverages, etc.). Anything that tastes sweet (including artificial sweeteners and Stevia) may raise insulin levels, thus aggravating IR and perpetuating the cravings for sweets. As IR improves, sweet cravings usually decrease.
·    Almost no grain products (breads, pasta, cornbread, corn tortillas, crackers, popcorn, etc.) and no refined grains/carbohydrates (white flour products, white pasta, white rice, etc.).
·    Whole grains (whole brown rice, wheat, rye, barley and buckwheat) only in very small amounts.
GOOD CARBOHYDRATES (non-refined and non-starchy)
·    Small amounts of fruit are OK but eat it with protein meals and not alone. Berries are best. No dried fruit.
·    Eat lots and lots of non-starchy vegetables. Raw or lightly cooked is best. These should be the main source of carbohydrates in the diet. Fresh vegetables are best, frozen is OK but canned is to be avoided except for canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.
·   Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, soybeans, soy products, etc.) have a low glycemic index so are OK.
·    Consume moderate amounts of leaner meats, seafood and fish. The best are wild fish, wild game, free-range chicken & turkey, range-fed beef, lamb, buffalo and naturally grown pork. Grain-fed means more saturated fats and omega-6 oils. Wild and range-fed means less of these and more omega-3s. The more omega-3s the better. Feeding grain to animals, like cows, that were meant to eat grass is not healthy for the animal nor the person eating the animal.
·    If you do not have a dairy allergy, some dairy is OK. Interestingly, the lower the fat in milk the more it raises the blood sugar, so low fat milk is worse than whole milk. But the best is no milk, it raises the blood sugar too much, plus cow’s milk is for calves, not people. Other dairy products are okay. Use only unsweetened yogurt. Limit butter and no hydrogenated margarine.
·    Eggs are fine unless you have allergies to them, but the best are eggs from free-range chickens and eggs grown to be high in omega-3 oils. Best is no more than 7 per week due to the high fat content.
·    For most people: moderate amounts of nuts (walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, etc.) and seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc.). Raw are best. Walnuts are high in omega-3s. Nut and seed butters are good (almond, cashew, sesame). Peanut butter and peanuts are legumes.
·    Consume moderate amounts of healthy oils. A low-fat diet is not healthy, nor is it compatible with this diet.
·    Healthy oils are: Monounsaturated oils (olive, canola, nuts). Polyunsaturated oils that are high in omega-3 oils (canola, flax, fish oils, walnuts). Saturated fats from vegetable sources (coconut, palm, avocado).
·    Limit animal sources of saturated fats as found in dairy products (cheese, butter, etc.) and most commercial red meats.
·    Freely add healthy oils to salads, sauces for vegetables and when cooking lean meats. Natural palm and coconut oil are excellent for cooking and frying. Flax oil is high in omega-3 oils but goes rancid very easily so refrigerate and do not heat and add only after cooking.
·    No hydrogenated oils and limit fried foods. Some low-heat frying with natural palm and coconut oil is okay.
·    Drink lots of pure water.
·    Organic is always best when available.
·    Cut down on salt but feel free to use other spices liberally.
·    Except for non-starchy vegetables, the other carbohydrates should be limited to protein meals.
·    It is usually safe to assume that most processed foods will interfere with this diet, even if low-carb.
·    Finally, it must be emphasized that exercise is a very important component of success.
Highly recommended vegetables.
Eat as many of these as possible for the best health.

Beet greens
Bok Choy
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage (green and red)
Chinese cabbage

Vegetables to use in moderation.
Collard greens
Dandelion greens
Lettuce (avoid iceberg)
Mustard greens

Vegetables to avoid.

Peppers(all kinds)
Swiss chard
Turnips greens


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