Day 086-2 (M, 120326) — Do Carbs Cause Insulin Resistance?; Walking, Week 4

Carbs Don’t Cause Insulin Resistance.  Matt Stone of 180degreehealth says the real culprit is cortisol.  In a guest post over at, Matt says:

Eating carbohydrates doesn’t raise glucose levels in the blood. Especially not on a chronic basis. I regularly help people lower their blood glucose levels by increasing the carbohydrate content of their diets. . . . And eating more carbs most certainly doesn’t raise baseline insulin levels. . . . Insulin resistance, in my experience, is a condition that is easy to overcome assuming you are consuming plenty of carbohydrates and doing other important things to stimulate metabolism and decrease stress hormone secretion. . . . If anything, insulin resistance is a natural state to be in when metabolism is low and/or stress hormones like cortisol are too high. . . . abdominal fat, severe insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, astronomical risk of heart disease – these are all brought about by excesses of cortisol.

He goes on to say:

So please, enough with the carbophobia. In the right context, carbohydrates are an absolutely essential tool in achieving many physiological improvements – certainly raising metabolic rate, decreasing insulin resistance, lowering blood glucose levels, building muscle, increasing fertility and sex drive, improving mood, lowering inflammation, and just about anything else that you could attribute to increased metabolism and decreased insulin resistance. You can even rebuild your gut and change your gut flora by changing your metabolism – a process that simply cannot happen without adequate carbohydrate intake.

The belief that carbohydrates, or any basic constituent of food, is single-handedly responsible for our modern disease epidemics is extremely foolish, and holding us all back from openly exploring the true medical use of dietary change. In more plain language… Don’t be no tater hater!

In a comments he adds:

It’s not necessarily a new theory of insulin resistance. Just saying that carbohydrates don’t cause insulin resistance, which is common scientific knowledge outside of the realm of low-carb make-believe science. Insulin resistance can be caused by hundreds of things. To blame it, along with many other issues, on one of the 3 macronutrients exclusively is where people are making a mistake.

Mark talks about cortisol and stress here: The Definitive Guide to Stress, Cortisol, and the Adrenals: When ‘Fight or Flight’ Meets the Modern World

Among other stress-health associations, the link between elevated cortisol and weight gain has already been established.

That link takes you to an page which lists lots of information connecting the hormone to health problems and suggests, as Mark does, that we relax.  Neither page says that not eating carbohydrates is the problem.

In fact, an article at cites two studies which found:

In two separate studies — one published in the July 2002 issue of “Metabolism” and the other in the December 2008 issue of “Nutrition Research” — low-carbohydrate diets did not significantly affect blood cortisol levels over long periods of time in a group of normal-weight individuals. One study lasted six weeks; the other lasted more than a year. This suggests little if any adverse metabolic consequences due to cortisol levels. Maintaining carbohydrate intake during long periods of endurance exercise appears to be the main concern for adherents of a low-carbohydrate diet.

Another article on cites a third study relating to carb intake and cortisol:

Researchers at the department of human biology, Maastricht University, Netherlands, reported that cortisol levels decreased in the 3 hours following high-protein and high-fat meals and increased in response to a high-carbohydrate meal in obese study participants, over four consecutive days. The researchers concluded that protein and fat decreased the cortisol response but that adding carbohydrate prevented a drop in cortisol. The study was published in the December 2010 issue of the journal “Physiology and Behavior.”

So how does it all work?  Matt says we should eat carbs (in some proper way, I am assuming) and that will help but doesn’t really explain why (though perhaps his book might explain it all).

Others just say to relax and eat anti-oxidants/anti-inflammatory foods or supplements.

Anybody know of a good resource to figure out this complicated subject?


Moving Along.  I dropped a mile from the previous week’s totals, making only 14.32 miles last week (including a bonus walk on Saturday morning).  So far this month, I’ve gone 47.8 miles.  It’ll be interesting to see just how high it goes.

Monday. If this were large enough to walk through, I wonder where it would lead?

We're on a road to nowhere . . .

Tuesday. No walk today.  Mooyah instead with a friend.

Wednesday.  I went looking for interesting bumper stickers.  I found a graveyard instead.

Bacchus Cemetery

Thursday.  Blue bell, blue bell, melancholy play . . .*

Bluebonnets near Frito Lay HQ

Bluebonnets near Frito Lay HQ 2

Bluebonnets near Frito Lay HQ 3


Fountain and Flowers near 121

Saturday.  Bonus walk while I was having my car serviced.  Yeah!  No picture.  I forgot.  Boo!


* From a half-remembered poem by a friend of mine years and years ago.

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