I ran into an incredibly interesting academic article while browsing through my school’s online library. It was titled, “Meal-Insulin Cycle: A visual summary of the biochemical events between meals.”
This article caught my attention for a couple of reasons. First, it was not published in a diet and nutrition journal, like one might expect. It was actually published in an academic journal called Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education. The article stated that the visual demonstration provided was intended to teach “metabolism or biochemistry” to graduate students in Nutrition or other fields of science. There was no experimenting or hypothesizing about which foods keep you fuller longer, or whether protein burns more calories than fat. It provided a simple, uncomplicated explanation of the biochemical events that occur within the body when we are not eating.
The other thing that caught my attention was that the authors placed an emphasis on insulin, which I rarely see. Oftentimes, the importance of blood sugar is stressed when discussing metabolism. Blood sugar is definitely a significant factor in maintaining health and weight, but insulin is a key player in hunger and energy consumption that is often overlooked. The researchers also wanted to include the shift that occurs in the metabolic process during the fasting state, not just immediately after eating. Surprisingly, the authors noted that a demonstration of how eating and fasting impact major hormones “in a concise and accurate way” could not be found elsewhere…at least in academia. Several depictions could be found on the internet as part of popular science or personal websites.
Finally, the visual presentation clearly indicates that once the body enters a fasting state, it starts metabolizing fat for fuel. Simple and straightforward. No special diets, gimmicks, or eliminated food groups necessary.
This fascinating demonstration can be seen here, and the full-article can be found at the link below. It’s an easy read and provides a great understanding of the metabolic process, so I encourage you to read it if you’d like to learn more on the topic.