What is the connection between insulin and body fat?

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While people are dying of starvation in many parts of the world, obesity is the threat to another group of people. The world is becoming obese, numerous health reports say. And most of the fat people blame the hormone insulin rather than their less than ideal eating habits.

Insulin plays a huge role in our health matters. It is a hormone released by pancreas when the blood sugar rises above the normal level i.e. when we eat food. Our normal diet includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. The food we consume needs to be broken down into basic nutrients for our body to metabolize them. The protein breaks down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and carbohydrates into glucose. They all make their way into the bloodstream.

These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and it is facilitated by insulin. The rise in sugar levels in blood stimulates the beta cells in pancreas to release insulin which signals the fat cells, muscles and liver to absorb the nutrients, especially glucose. The insulin level drops once the nutrients are absorbed, and maintains a normal level. This is a constant cycle. Every time we eat food, pancreas releases insulin which is essential in regulation of the blood sugar levels. The glucose is stored in cells in the form of glycogen.


Insulin has a significant role in controlling the body fat storage. As said above, insulin discourages the breakdown of fat cells and enhances the creation of body fat. If we consistently consume more amount of calories than we burn, it gradually results in insulin resistance. It means the muscles and liver stop responding to the pancreas' release of insulin. They have only a limited capacity to store glucose and send it to the fat cells, creating more and more body fat.

The insulin resistance prompts the pancreas to release more insulin, and finally the cells fail to respond to the pancreas. This leads to pancreas stopping the release of insulin, making the blood sugar levels go high and result in type-2 diabetes.

Considering its duty, insulin tends to take the blame for making people overweight. However, the problem lies in the eating habits. It is the excess amount of glucose that is stored as body fat. So the simple way to regulate the body weight is controlled diet.


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