Although low carbohydrate diets come in various guises ranging from Dr.Atkin's diet to the South Beach diet to the Protein Power diet and many others, the one commonality in all of them is the absolute need to control insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the beta cells of the pancreas. While it has many functions in the body, the primary role of insulin is as a storage hormone. What this means is that insulin promotes the storage of metabolic fuels, such as fat and carbohydrate. The most familiar role of insulin is that of promoting the uptake of glucose into cells. Whenever you consume food carbohydrates, insulin is secreted from the pancreas and works to promote the uptake of glucose circulating in the blood into cells, where the glucose can be used as an energy source. The only type of sugar that circulates in the blood is glucose and all forms of carbohydrate eventually are converted into glucose. Type-1 diabetes is marked by the destruction of the beta-pancreatic cells that synthesize insulin. As a result, those with this type of diabetes must be on insulin therapy for life. On curiosity about this is that most people with type-1 diabetes, which requires constant insulin usage, aren't fat. This doesn't appear at first to jive with the notion that insulin makes you fat. But an important point to consider is that most of those with type-1 diabetes are not obese. That makes a big difference in regard to whether insulin will promote fat accretion in the body. In addition, type-1 diabetics also take measured amounts of insulin, so that their insulin usage is both controlled and limited. This isn't the case with those who have excessive amounts of body fat. Such people are always hyperinsulinemic, meaning that they always show elevated resting levels of insulin, as well as excessive release of insulin following meals.
The big debate among scientists is which came first: obesity or elevated insulin activity. Those who espouse the low carb, low insulin theory of obesity say that people get fat because they consume too many carbohydrates. Although protein can also promote insulin release, eating excessive amounts of protein never produces fat gains in active people. Most of the superfluous ingested protein as amino acids is oxidized in the liver, with the nitrogen portion of the amino acids excreted as urea. Indeed, many critics of low-carb diets for weight loss often point out that some of the amino acids are potent promoters of insulin release, yet no one ever gets fat from consuming them. And it's true that some amino acids can convert into glucose and promote an insulin release. Most prominent in this regard are arginine and leucine. But what is overlooked here is that the excess amino acids simply do not get converted into body fat in . . .