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Does anyone know anything about the insulin index?

(37 Posts)
capsium Tue 02-Feb-16 13:09:29

I've been generally reading around the subject of low carb diets, intermittent fasting and the blood sugar diet but came across this 'insulin index' which threw me, rather - there are some surprising results. For example meat producing a higher insulin response, in the body, than some cereals.

The role of glucagon in terms of the release of the body's fat stores seems to be linked too.

Here is what I have read:

I am confused. confused

capsium Tue 02-Feb-16 18:27:38


The first link, I posted, mentions gluconeogenesis, so I assume, when blood sugar is low the body utilises protein for glucose. However does that mean protein is more detrimental, regarding reversing insulin resistance, than some carbohydrates or does the glucagon release protein promotes act against this, in that fat in the liver and pancreas can be metabolised?

Anyone know anymore?

hefzi Tue 02-Feb-16 21:57:48

I'm just giving you a bump - I'm afraid I am a complete dunce and couldn't work out completely what it was saying: but I think the issue is that though the insulin response is the same between beef, say, and brown rice, you feel more satisfied having had the meat, so in fact, you end up more likely to lose weight eating more meat than more carbs. The issue of protein seems to be the key, because of the satiety effect. Also, by avoiding carbs (generally interpreted) you are also going to consume less by default, as there are fewer options available.

StuntNun is brilliant at explaining things in a way that's comprehensible: she'll probably be along and post on your thread at some stage - because I am not totally sure I even understood your second question, never mind the science grin! (Because I am dim, not because it was phrased badly, I hasten to add!)

capsium Tue 02-Feb-16 22:16:04

Thanks hefzi. I'm struggling to 'join up the dots' myself, so just as dunce like grin

I've felt the difference in satiety myself between higher carbs versus higher protein but something does seem to be missing, somehow, regarding (my) understanding how exactly (in what conditions) bodily fat is most effectively metabolised.

capsium Tue 02-Feb-16 22:21:22

Thanks, hefzi I'm struggling to join all the dots up myself regarding this, so if you're a dunce you're in good company! grin

I've felt the difference in satiety myself between eating more protein versus more carbs but something still seems to be missing, somehow, regarding (my) understanding the best conditions for bodily fat to be metabolised.

capsium Tue 02-Feb-16 22:24:59

^ sorry, iPad is being jittery.

antimatter Thu 04-Feb-16 12:05:12

I am wondering if this somehow is linked to research quoted in this book:

The 8-week Blood Sugar Diet: Lose weight fast and reprogramme your body Kindle Editionby Michael Mosley

you have 800 cal daily diet with generous usage of beans

antimatter Thu 04-Feb-16 12:54:17

I think this is worth remembering:

The Insulin Index of a food represents how much it elevates the concentration of insulin in the blood during the two hour period after the food is ingested. The index is similar to the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, but rather than relying on blood glucose levels, the Insulin Index is based upon blood insulin levels.

After reading a bit about Insulin Index it makes sense perfect to me now why diary products are stalling me. They have high Insulin Index!

capsium Thu 04-Feb-16 14:11:19

Just read the book, yesterday, antimatter. Yes, I definitely think it does all link up, somehow, although I'm not exactly sure of the detail. It certainly is a puzzle which I'll enjoy ruminating on.

I'm glad, anyway, that this might have provided you with an explanation of why dairy products might be 'stalling' your weight loss.

antimatter Thu 04-Feb-16 14:34:20

yes, every little nugget of knowledge helps to make our secisions a bit smoother
I am lucky that I don't "need" diary products. I knew since my childhood that drinking milk makes me feel unwell.
THis may be related, I think i probably don't digest lactose. Bot it never bothered me as I can avoid milk and don't like ice cream.
Now the plot thickens..... with the info about it's Insulin Index grin

hefzi Thu 04-Feb-16 17:28:27

Ah - I wish I'd come back to this thread before posting my shame on the main thread: perhaps this is why, after a cheese-heavy start to the week, I've apparently gained 9lb since Monday?

I can't tolerate milk or, apparently, cream, and only a minimal amount of FF yoghurt, but cheese is one of my main proteins as a veggie (soya and tofu also out, unfortunately) - I was all egged out after the first fortnight, but I am urgently recommitting to eggs as we speak! I seem to remember, too, that essentially there is a fair amount of sugars in dairy, albeit natural from the lactose, so that would make sense with the insulin index.

capsium Thu 04-Feb-16 18:42:03

Ah I have re-read the articles I linked to and, I think, I understand this better now.

What was troubling me was why protein causes insulin release when it doesn't raise blood glucose levels.

The second article, I posted, says it is because insulin also has a role in sending the amino acids from the protein to cells. However this insulin in the blood, when there is little blood glucose, could cause hypoglycaemia so the liver releases glucagon to counteract this. Other books I have read (eg Patrick Holford -Low GL Diet) say the release of glucagon promotes 'fat burning', Wiki talks about glucagon's role in using up glycogen stores.

So I think my conclusion is the downside of eating high protein is that it elevates insulin levels - which some researchers believe might have a detrimental effect, long term. (Although the 'fat burning' it promotes might counteract some of these effects.)

Taking this into consideration, I have decided to eat more of an adequate protein, low carbs (and only those which are 'natural' and unrefined) including (as unprocessed as possible fats and oils), with some intermittent fasting to boost weight loss.

AliceInHinterland Thu 04-Feb-16 19:33:25

It's so confusing, I've got gestational diabetes so broadly cut out simple carbs, but I don't want to burn out my pancreas with too much meat!! I try to really focus on half a plate of non-starchy veg, quarter of a plate protein (preferably with fat/skin on) and a quarter of a plate or less carbohydrate - generally starchy veg. I figure at least I can aim for lots of micro-nutrients if nothing else! Interesting articles, thank you!

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 10:41:07

Lowest index analyzed food:

Olive Oil (3)
Avocado (5)
Walnuts (6)
Tuna (16)
Chicken (20)

over all nuts and legumes have lowest average insulin index (see p.19)

on p.21:
ƒ* ƒ Most vegetables produce neg gli ible insulin response
as measured by FII.
* Even fats, and protein sources produce largely variable insulin responses, as measured by FII.
ƒ*Imputed FII values track closely to analyzed values.
ƒ*Refined cereals, sweets, and potatoes produce the greatest insulin response, as measured by FII.

also list of foods:

The reason to be concerned about the Insulin Index is that insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess carbohydrate calories and store them in the form of fat in case of future famine. In other words, when we eat too much carbohydrate, we’re sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to the body (actually, to the adipose cells).

The message is “STORE FAT” It is even worse than that. Not only do increased insulin levels tell the body to store fat; they also tell it to NOT release any stored fat.
This makes it impossible for you to use your own stored body fat for energy. So the excess carbohydrates in your diet not only make you fat, they make sure you stay fat.

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 10:51:57

In order to reduce our insulin load we should do the following, in order of priority:

* Increase fibre from non-starchy vegetables (e.g. spinach, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli etc). These will provide vitamins and minerals as well as indigestible fibre that will feed the gut bacteria which will also improve insulin resistance. Increasing fibre in our diet will increase the bulk and weight of our diet without increasing calories or insulin and tend to decrease cravings for processed carbohydrates.
* Reduce carbohydrates, particularly those that come processed in packages with a bar code.
* If you are still not getting the desired results, look to reduce your insulin load by moderating your protein intake until you are achieving excellent blood glucose control and / or your target HbA1c.
* To further enhance your results you could then look at some form of intermittent fasting to improve your insulin sensitivity and to kick-start ketosis.

alco very interesting link:

capsicum - you've opened very worthy discussion here!
I was always fascinated by nutrition facts and processes, I wish I studied it!

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:02:47

antimatter ooh, fantastic to see you found some more food insulin values and extra reading matter. Interesting, isn't it? It certainly will take some time to get my head round it all!

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:08:22

antimatter on the subject of stalling, I have sometimes found my fat measurement (on electronic scales) is lower if I gain the extra pounds are water. [As an aside, what is causing the water gain?] Anyway, if you then work out your poundage of fat, you can find out you are still losing fat.

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 11:11:43

I searched for this in Google:
"insulin index" list of foods

Putting search in "" narrows down your search.

Lots of interesting facts esp in my last post above.
am pre-diabetic and want to get my diet right apart from losing weight.

the fact that most legumes have low FII (insulin index) ties up with that book we both read by Mosley smile
I think as times progresses we are going to get a list of those legumes, let say top 15 with all stats broken down and that would be the best outcome for me.

Lots of veg with high fiber content (easily to establish which ones they are) + beans and pulses + fat = yummy curry!

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 11:15:12

yes, I think I need to find way of how to measure brown fat (this is the culprit of diabetes)
weight gain re:water retention is due to this effect:

It’s all about the glycogen stores — as it turns out, each gram of glycogen is bound to 3-4 hefty grams of water. So, as your body burns its way through the reduced dietary carbs and into the glycogen stores, the water attached to the glycogen flushes away as well — resulting in the phenomenon commonly known as “water weight.” There’s no fat loss here, yet — the glycogen and accompanying water’s simply been squeezed out of your muscles and liver.

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:18:14

Alice Hi, sounds like a good idea to me, regarding what you are eating, in terms of your gestational diabetes - you're not missing anything out, as far as I can see (although I'm not doctor or nutritionist). Michael Mosely in the The Blood Sugar Diet (link up thread) includes beans and pulses so I think a moderate portion of these would be good for you too. Do your HCPs check your levels regularly, so you can see how you are doing in terms of this?

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:22:16

antimatter ooh, I'd not heard that about brown fat. I thought it kept you warm and raised the metabolism.

Ah, yes I've heard that before concerning glycogen being bound up with water. (I don't know how accurate the fat scales are - good for seeing a general trend though.)

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:24:29

...the good thing is that once tge glycogen stores are depleted there is only fat left to burn!

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 11:24:36

I had mine checked over 2 months ago and am due for another one soon.

I think the fasting test will show sensible drop but the HbA1C won't show big difference as this one is looking at an average of 3 months.

I am on Metformin (if I remember taking it!) but really only dramaticaly changed my diet in the last 3 weeks.

It was early November 6.9% up from 6.5% in May.
It should be 4-5.9%.

I am sure in the next 3 months I will improve it dramatically. At least I lost nearly stone since my last visit to the diabetic clinic grin

capsium Fri 05-Feb-16 11:30:56

Wow, good weight loss. Hope all goes well re. those other stats, antimatter.

antimatter Fri 05-Feb-16 11:36:00

I have at least 4 more stones to lose so at least the thought of being 20% lighter than when I started gives me that warm feeling grin

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