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Sugar Belly – Part II

Sugar Belly Blues – Part II

Belly fat is influenced by cortisol and insulin. This is important to understand because when you are trying to lose weight, if you are just counting calories, you may find that the fat around the belly seems to burn off at a much slower rate or not budge at all. Belly fat is as much hormone induced as it is calorie caused. The single biggest influence over the levels of insulin in your body comes from the amount of starchy and sweet foods you eat. Increased cortisol is correlated with stress levels.  Sleep quantity and quality, food choices, and how you respond to the day’s events really influence your cortisol levels.

Cortisol increases fat storage due to the actions it has on the major fat storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL). But ironically, it also speeds fat burning by stimulating the major fat releasing enzyme hormone sensitive lipase (HSL). Cortisol can be your best friend or your worst enemy. By itself it does not impact belly fat unless it is paired with insulin.

Insulin activity shuts down the fat releasing activity of other hormones like cortisol and therefore accentuates fat storing effects. Adding insulin to cortisol is sort of like pouring gasoline on a fire. The two combined with excess calories are the  culprits in fat gain around the middle.

Starch and sugar along with fat represents the worst combination for fat gain. Starch and sugar raise insulin level— fat is neutral. While fat supplies calories, it has very little impact on insulin production. But when it is added with sugar and starch in foods like doughnuts, pastries, French fries, pizza, pancakes, and burgers, you get a huge fat storing bomb of insulin release. Insulin and fat also raise another fat storing hormone called ASP (acylation stimulating protein). When they are combined, they drastically enhance a second fat storing hormone called GIP (glucose dependent insulinotrophic peptide). Also, the combination of fat and starch usually means a hefty dose of calories. Add stress on top of this and the impact is multiplied further forcing excess weight gain around the belly.

While you prepare for Memorial Day Weekend, think about snacks that don’t offer a lot of starch or sweeteners.  You’ll be happy when you look at your belly.

4 comments

  1. Darlene DeGroot

    Looking for Part I of Sugar Belly Blues

    • It was in last newsletter; Guilt Free Chocolate Pudding.

  2. Does this include the sugars in fruits? I am staying away from pasta, breads, white sugar but am using coconut sugar and eating a large portion fruits…

    • Avoid sweet fruits like oranges, bananas, and watermelon.