Insulin spikes? - AnabolicMinds.com

Insulin spikes?

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    someguy1984's Avatar
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    Insulin spikes?


    Can someone properly explain this to me? I understand you get them from having high carb meals? Or, maybe having a soda, juice, something like that?

    How much carbs/sugar does it take for you to have an insulin spike?

    How long does the spike last?

    Are they a bad thing?

    Can they promote weight gain?

    Can they help muscle gain?

    Also, if your happy with your size/weight and workout 5 days a week, is it ok to go out and have ice cream on occasion, or eat pizza, etc? I don't eat fast food, but every now and then having ice cream with a date or something...I mean, as long as i stay within my maintenance calories, I'm not going to get fat by eating unhealthy food, right?

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    FWIW I am diabetic so I am somewhat more familiar with insulin than the average Joe.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    Can someone properly explain this to me? I understand you get them from having high carb meals? Or, maybe having a soda, juice, something like that?
    Insulin is an 'energy uptake' hormone. There is a small amount that is always present to allow normal metabolism function; this is called basal insulin. Elevated levels are triggered when the digestive system absorbs excess energy-providing nutrients into the blood stream; this is called bolus insulin. All macro nutrients that lead to excess energy will trigger an insulin response. Carbohydrates just require more insulin per calorie to metabolise than others.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    How much carbs/sugar does it take for you to have an insulin spike?
    It is not that simple. Low GI and whole food carbs take less insulin than high GI and processed carbs. Additionally, insulin sensitivity changes depending on your energy balance. If you are on low calorie cutting diet, less insulin per calorie is required versus if you were on a high calorie bulking diet.

    To give you an idea, I take about 12 units total insulin per day when on a 2000 calorie cutting diet versus about 26 units on a 3000 calorie slow bulking diet.

    Also, a 'spike' is subjective. It generally refers to a tall peak with a narrow base. IMO attempting to define this just leads to misconceptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    How long does the spike last?
    Depends on how much you eat. I generally keep my meals to about 500 calories and 30% protein, 45% carbs, and 25% fat. These take about 2 hours to digest. 1500 calories of pizza could keep my blood sugar soaring for more than 6 hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    Are they a bad thing?
    Deliberately trying to 'spike' one's insulin by taking large quantities of high GI carbs is bad IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    Can they promote weight gain?
    As far as they facilitate energy uptake yes. However, insulin reacts to the food that you eat. Therefore diet is the ultimate cause of weight gain.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    Can they help muscle gain?
    Just like the last question. Yes but ultimately the food you eat determines what your insulin does. I do not believe that one needs to 'spike' insulin post workout and then keep it flat the rest of the time. A steady surplus of nutrients throughout the day (so yes, eat more when active) is best for lean gains.

    Quote Originally Posted by someguy1984 View Post
    Also, if your happy with your size/weight and workout 5 days a week, is it ok to go out and have ice cream on occasion, or eat pizza, etc? I don't eat fast food, but every now and then having ice cream with a date or something...I mean, as long as i stay within my maintenance calories, I'm not going to get fat by eating unhealthy food, right?
    Yeah I wouldn't sweat it. If you are already tracking calories and eating quality foods then you have the important bases covered. Healthy people have no way to measure insulin levels so IMO trying to manage them is a complete waste of time. Keep focussing on what you are doing.
    Last edited by Nitrox; 03-09-2009 at 10:57 AM.
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    Thanks a lot, great post.

    I do want a little more muscle, but i'm not going to bulk for it...I'm just going to keep working out and get bigger slowly eating around maintanence...I go out a lot, so it's nice to be able to have some cheat meals, lol. I can't tell you the last time i had ice cream...

    My diet consists of:

    Breakfast: 1 cup of oatmeal, 2tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 scoop of whey protein
    Snack: Some almonds, maybe banana
    Lunch: Small turkey sandwich on 100% wheat bread and maybe 2 eggs...
    Snack: Fat free cottage cheese, or maybe some peanuts...
    Dinner: Chicken breast and veggies...

    Every morning i have the same breakfast. Generally, dinner is the same to. Lunch and snacks vary, but i try to get in some EFA's if i can. Hell, if i need a quick snack and need about 300 calories, i grab a tbsp of olive oil and mix it with either natural PB, or some peanuts, lol.

    I don't have cheat days. So, now i think i might relax a little and enjoy foods a bit before i leave for the navy...I'll still fit it into my calorie range though.
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