The Impact on Hormones continued


Insulin is a hormone that plays a critical role in regulating our metabolism. It is produced by the pancreas and helps to regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose from the blood into cells for use as energy or storage. Insulin also plays a role in the regulation of other metabolic processes, such as protein synthesis and lipid metabolism. It promotes the uptake of amino acids into cells, which can be used for protein synthesis and repair. Insulin inhibits the breakdown of stored fats and promotes the storage of excess glucose as fat.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this important hormone.

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of insulin production

  • Glucose: Glucose enters the bloodstream after a meal and signals the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Beta cells: The pancreas contains specialized cells called beta cells, which are located in the islets of Langerhans. When glucose levels rise, beta cells are stimulated to release insulin.
  • Proinsulin: Insulin is produced in the beta cells as a precursor hormone called proinsulin. Proinsulin is then processed and packaged into secretory granules within the beta cells.
  • Release of insulin: When glucose levels rise, the secretory granules are stimulated to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then travels to target tissues, such as muscle and liver cells, where it signals these cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
  • Glucose uptake: Insulin binds to receptors on the target cells, triggering a cascade of events that leads to the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and maintain glucose homeostasis.

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity refers to how responsive the body’s cells are to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows cells to take in glucose (sugar) for energy or storage. When your body is insulin sensitive, a smaller amount of insulin is needed to lower blood glucose levels. This is considered healthy and beneficial, as it helps maintain optimal blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and use it for energy. When insulin resistance occurs, despite the pancreas producing insulin, glucose is not efficiently absorbed into the cells. This results in higher levels of glucose in the blood, which can lead to prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if left unchecked. Furthermore, to compensate for this resistance, the pancreas may produce more insulin, leading to high insulin levels in the blood, a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. Factors that contribute to insulin resistance include a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, obesity, and certain medical conditions.

Healthy Insulin Levels

The anti-inflammatory diet can support healthy insulin levels. This is primarily achieved through the elimination of processed foods and the emphasis on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, all of which have been shown to help regulate insulin levels and improve insulin sensitivity.

  • Low in processed foods and sugars: The diet discourages consumption of processed foods and sugars, which can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and thus require a large insulin response. By reducing these foods, the diet can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and the associated insulin surge.
  • High in fiber: Fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods promoted in the diet are high in dietary fiber. Fiber slows the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, leading to a slower and more steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. This helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and reduces the demand for insulin.
  • Rich in lean proteins and healthy fats: Protein and fats, both key components of the diet, have minimal impact on blood glucose levels and thus require little insulin for metabolism. By increasing the proportion of calories from these macronutrients, the need for insulin can be reduced.
  • Promotes a healthy weight: Following an anti-inflammatory diet can also lead to weight loss in overweight individuals. Excess body weight is associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin. By promoting weight loss, the diet can improve insulin sensitivity.


Leptin is a hormone that is produced by your body’s fat cells. It’s often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or “starvation hormone.” Leptin’s primary target is in the brain, particularly an area called the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell your brain that, when you have enough fat stored, you don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate.

Healthy Leptin Levels

  • Reducing Insulin Resistance: The diet is low in refined and processed carbohydrates, which can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is thought to interfere with the brain’s response to leptin. By improving insulin sensitivity, the diet could also help restore leptin sensitivity.
  • Promoting a Healthy Weight: Overweight and obesity are associated with elevated leptin levels, but the brain seems to stop “listening” to the leptin signal in these cases – a condition known as leptin resistance. By promoting weight loss, this approach could help restore normal leptin signaling.
  • Adequate Protein Intake: Protein is a satiating macronutrient, and eating adequate protein can lead to a natural reduction in caloric intake and subsequent weight loss. Some research has suggested that dietary protein may also improve leptin sensitivity.