Metabolic Hormones 101: Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the usage and storage of the energy we get from food. Insulin is made by the beta cells of the pancreas and helps regulate blood sugar levels. When there’s a high amount of energy in the blood (for instance, after a meal), the pancreas releases more insulin.
Insulin then regulates the amount of energy in the blood by:
  • moving glucose into various cells (some of the energy will be used immediately, some will be moved to short term storage [glycogen] and the rest will be converted to fat for long-term storage in the fat cells).
  • suppressing lipolysis (the breakdown of stored fat)
So the more insulin, the more fat is stored and when insulin levels are high, the body cannot burn fat. As you can see, while regulating blood sugar levels is critical for good health and for best weight management, it too is helpful to keep insulin levels low. We can affect our insulin levels by moderating our intake of carbohydrate, avoiding high glycemic foods, managing our weight and exercising regularly.