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-   -   Meal Size and Insulin Response (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3710)

Patrick Poblocki 01-21-2009 02:19 AM

Meal Size and Insulin Response
Hi all.

After skimming through Sears's book again, I came across a point he makes about meal size: he states that a large meal can also trigger an insulin response, regardless on how "zoned" it is. To what extent is this true?

I've dabbled with both Zone and IF, both of which where based in Paleo foods. I'm wondering if the insulin response of two big meals per day (e.g., 8 blocks per) or one really large meal per day (up to a lb. of meat!) was negatively impacting my insulin levels. I guess my question is simply how much of a response does this have? Would a large meal of steak and eggs have a triggered insulin kick? Seems odd to me. But, perhaps this is one area where the Zone's small portion sizes makes more sense than a OMPD.

I don't want to start a "which is better post" because I've tried both and have had progress of each. I think this is purely from a scientific standpoint, and what I think is an interesting difference between the two approaches. I have read, too, and understand that small meals spaced out through the day DOES NOT promote a "revved" metabolism--this is not about that!



Mike ODonnell 01-21-2009 06:06 AM

Ratios do matter


Postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses to high-carbohydrate vs high-protein meals in obese normoglycemic subjects with varied insulin sensitivity

Volume 25, Issue 6, Pages 535-548 (June 2005)

The aim of this study was to investigate whether metabolic responses to diet composition differ between obese subjects with varied insulin sensitivity. Fourteen healthy obese normoglycemic male subjects were divided according to their homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) values: group A, HOMA-IR ≤2.6 (n = 5); group B, 2.6 < HOMA-IR < 5.0 (n = 4); and group C, HOMA-IR ≥5.0 (n = 5) and given, on 2 separate days, either a high-carbohydrate (HC) (58% carbohydrates, 12% protein, and 30% fat) or an equicaloric high-protein meal (52% protein, 18% carbohydrates, and 30% fat). Glucose, insulin, and lactate were determined before and during 4 hours after ingesting the meals. Results showed that within the HC meal, postprandial glucose and insulin responses and the area under the curve for glucose, insulin, and lactate were significantly higher in group C than group A. Comparing meals, the HC meal resulted in significantly higher area under the curve for glucose and insulin in groups A, B, and C and higher lactic acid in B and C than the corresponding values on the high-protein meal. This study illustrates that diet composition should be an important consideration in dietary management of obesity when accompanied by insulin resistance.


Patrick Poblocki 01-22-2009 05:56 AM

But does the size matter too? (pardon the loaded question) I understand that the proportions are important, but lets say that keeping insulin levels low is important, how does a large meal affect insulin levels, even if it's a high protein/fat, low carb meal? Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to understand your post, Mike...Just thought it might be a down-side of eating one or two meals per day, if I were going low carb and IF.

Would the size of the meal negate the insulin control I was attempting with eating low carb in the first place?

Thanks for any clarification,


Mike ODonnell 01-22-2009 06:43 AM

If you are doing IF....eating low carb...and do have some sort of higher insulin response to a larger meal....the fasting hours with less insulin release should help balance the equation. Low carb eating will also prevent high blood sugar issues. Of course remember IF is supposed to be intermittent....so mix it up.

Plus if you are exercising you are also improving insulin sensitivity.

Honestly if you want definitive answers you could get your fasting insulin tested every month or so to see what is really going on.

Patrick Yeung 01-22-2009 04:28 PM

From what ive read, meal frequency had a negative correlation with insulin sensitivity. More meals means less sensitivity.

I think that the fact that you havent eaten anything all day, and are eating a large meal all of a sudden, youre going to spike. I usually 'prime' my stomach with some kind of liquid calories, milk or shake with a high protein:low carb ratio, and I dont experience that crazy spike I would feel when I didnt.

Scott Kustes 01-22-2009 04:55 PM

I think it's Stephan at Whole Health Source (or might be Peter at Hyperlipid) that has discussed the impact of insulin spikes vs. having high fasting insulin. He points out that many traditional groups relied heavily on roots and even grains (though properly prepared grains...not like what we have in the store) and had fairly carby diets, to the tune of 10-15% protein and 50-60% carbs. Their insulin no doubt spiked on such fare, but their fasting insulin remained low.

Basically, I don't think the spike to digest real food is a huge issue. The spike when it's sugar and processed grains on top of a high resting insulin is likely no helping. I may be completely off base too.

Mike ODonnell 01-23-2009 05:50 AM

There is probably something also to the time it takes to normalize from just "elevated" insulin with slower more natural digesting carbs....then the "bum rush" spike to take care of quick and skyrocketing blood sugar from processed sources. Also the damage factor could be higher in the very quick and high spikes vs just elevated insulin.

Darryl Shaw 01-23-2009 06:06 AM

I think we need to factor activity levels into this because you can't really compare a physically active hunter-gatherer or third world peasant farmer with the average fat assed desk jockey/couch potato because we know that exercise improves insulin sensitivity independent of all dietary factors.

Patrick Yeung 01-23-2009 07:41 AM

Well, lucky for me, my job includes running up and down flights of stairs and walking all over the hospital for about 8 hours. Ill get as many as 5 miles in a day, its nice.

Between that, and walking to school, about 4 mile commute, I havent had to do any cardio at all.

All that walking around throughout the day has to have a positive effect on my insulin sensitivity. Not sure how good it is though for HGH and Testosterone levels...

Mike ODonnell 01-23-2009 09:57 AM


Originally Posted by Patrick Yeung (Post 48455)
Not sure how good it is though for HGH and Testosterone levels...

Eat enough protein/fat/calories and train the muscles a couple times a week....you'll be lean and mean.

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