It is commonly believed that carbohydrate consumption causes insulin resistance. It’s the classic oversimplified and overly reductionist thinking that is all-too-common in health discussions. It’s the same as saying fat makes us fat. Well fat, has fat in it, and if we eat it, it will magically appear on our bodies. No. Wrong. You already know that.
The idea that carbs cause insulin resistance sounds exactly the same. Carbs raise insulin. Too much causes insulin resistance. As Dr. Axe says, the insulin receptors go “deaf.” Great salesman. Let’s clear up the confusion.
What are the accepted causes of insulin resistance?
I’m all for alternative views on health, medicine, and disease, but there just aren’t any when it comes to insulin resistance. The picture is fairly clear from the research and reading I’ve done on this subject, which is one that has fascinated me due to my obsessive desire to lose body fat in the past.
There are two things that contribute to insulin resistance that make carbs irrelevant. They are:
- WEIGHT GAIN
Do you see carbs on that list?
For carbohydrate consumption, even simple carbohydrate consumption, to cause insulin resistance, it would have to cause weight gain and inflammation. Weight gain often causes inflammation so we will just focus on weight gain.
Refined carbohydrates can certainly cause weight gain. But in general, you have to consume more calories than you’re burning to gain weight. You can thus gain weight on a ketogenic diet with no carbohydrates whatsoever. This could cause you to become insulin resistant. There are plenty of “high-fat” studies that demonstrate that in mice, high-fat diets cause insulin resistance. We can’t just blame carbohydrates because they “raise insulin.”
Those are the types of beliefs that perpetuate strange diets. For optimal health, eat a balanced ratio of carbs according to your intuition. Carbohydrate consumption does not cause insulin resistance independent of weight gain and inflammation. This is a primer on the subject; there will be many more posts on this topic here.
I need some pad thai.