Sounds like a complicated subject doesn’t it? Not to worry — I’m going to save you the time and frustration of having to read countless articles and peer-reviewed studies about fat-loss and tell you that in the end, if you want to effectively lose fat you must learn how to control your insulin.
You see, whenever you eat, insulin is secreted from your pancreas into your blood stream. There, it’s main job is to facilitate the uptake of glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream.
There are 3 main places where your blood sugar gets stored:
- Muscle (where it’s stored as glycogen)
- Liver (where it’s stored as glycogen)
- The rest is converted to FAT and stored in various areas of your body!
Here’s the problem: Your muscle only has the capacity to store 500 grams of glucose and your liver can only store another 100 grams. This leaves the rest to be converted and stored as body fat.
Now you see how insulin controls your fat storage, but what controls insulin?
Ultimately, the level of sugar in your bloodstream is what determines how much fat you store in your body. And since nearly all sugar comes from carbohydrate foods (like bread, pasta, rice, etc.), limiting how many carbs you eat is the most effective way to reduce fat.
…BUT, recently science has discovered that certain natural substances can help prevent your blood sugar from spiking after you eat. This means you can reduce the amount of insulin your body secretes so you can help prevent weight gain.
Here are 4 natural substances that are effective at lowering your blood sugar response:
There are 3 popular kinds of cinnamon:
- Saigon Cinnamon (most expensive and least sweet)
- Cassia Cinnamon (less sweet than Ceylon Cinnamon)
- Ceylon Cinnamon (sweetest)
All three types of cinnamon have shown to be effective at lowering your blood sugar response and in some studies, cinnamon was shown to reduce blood sugar response by up to 29%!
Since Saigon cinnamon is more expensive (and harder to come by), you can stick to either Cassia or Ceylon. The type of cinnamon doesn’t matter too much since the vast majority of studies conducted were based on the active ingredient of cinnamon, which is cinnamaldehyde.
You can add cinnamon in your tea or coffee, sprinkle it on top of fruits like apples, berries or throw some into your favorite protein shake. If you don’t want to eat cinnamon, you can always take cinnamon supplements prior to eating a meal rich in carbohydrates. Although there isn’t any specific guidelines as far as dosage goes, I recommend keeping it between 2 - 4 grams per day (1/2 - 1 teaspoons).
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Studies have shown that taking 1.5 - 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before eating a carb-heavy meal helps lower your blood glucose response. Another study showed taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before nighttime lowered waking blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics.
Although there are other studies that have shown similar blood sugar lowering effects using plain white vinegar, I find taking a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar easy on my palette. If that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, try mixing the apple cider vinegar into your salad dressing or make an apple cider vinegar based dipping sauce for veggies as an appetizer before a meal.
Turmeric is an ancient spice commonly used in South Asian cooking. It’s a part of many alternative medicine systems like traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda because of its proposed healing and health benefits.
More recently, Western medicine has shown interest in the blood sugar lowering properties of turmeric.
One recent study showed taking 300mg of curcumin (an active ingredient in turmeric) daily for 12 weeks lowered blood glucose levels and increased insulin sensitivity.
Because of the potency of turmeric and it’s effectiveness at lowering blood sugar levels, it does have side effects for people taking certain medications. If you’re interested in taking turmeric as a supplement, make sure you visit your doctor first and ask if it’s appropriate for you.
Stevia is a popular natural alternative to sugar. Unlike other chemical sugar substitutes (like aspartame), which have a slew of bad side effects, stevia has no side effects and has many health benefits including improving insulin sensitivity and lowering your blood sugar response to meals.
One of the big downsides of eating foods high in sugar is that you get hungry sooner after you eat. This is one reason why it’s so easy to overeat when you eat high-carb foods. This is also true with most sugar substitutes — even though you’re not consuming any real sugar, your brain doesn’t know the difference and so you still experience hunger soon after you eat.
Stevia, on the other hand, does NOT increase hunger levels and it has even shown to help lower blood pressure.
Controlling your insulin by keeping your blood sugar low is KEY to a healthier and leaner body. By doing so, you’re essentially telling you body to stop storing fat, thereby enhancing your fat-burning process naturally. And now that you know the 4 natural substances that can help lower your blood sugar, you can easily implement them into your daily diet.