How Insulin Makes You Fat, Even If You’re Not Diabetic!

Written by JJ Smith, certified weight management specialist (NESTA) and nutritionist (ANA)

Posted November 21st, 2011 under Diet/Weight Loss, Hormones and Weight Gain

One of the primary causes of obesity is the excess production of the hormone insulin. Many specialists have stated that it is excess insulin that makes you fat and keeps you fat. Insulin creates fat in the body by taking excess sugar and placing it into fat cells. In order to control your weight, you must control your insulin levels.

Many researchers have found that the majority of people with weight problems produce too much insulin. For most overweight people, insulin is the enemy. The bottom line for most people is that to get rid of fat they have to reduce their insulin levels. If they want to reduce insulin, they have to take away sugar. Sugar (i.e., refined, starchy carbohydrates) stimulates insulin production. And as we’ve learned from many diet books, reducing carbohydrates is a must. Low-carb diets are initially effective for overweight people because carbohydrates cause the overproduction of insulin, and by cutting out carbs, this overproduction of insulin stops.

However, the key thing to understand is why the body produces too much insulin in the first place. It is due to a hormonal imbalance, which once corrected, will stop the overproduction of insulin in the body. The problem with the low-carb diets is that once you go off those diets, you just gain the weight right back. However, my approach goes further in that it addresses the underlying reason as to why the body is producing too much insulin. Eating fewer carbohydrates helps reduce insulin spikes, but correcting the reason why you produce too much insulin will allow you to address your weight issues once and for all.

Carbohydrates, a key element of the human diet, are abundant in fruits, grains, breads, pastas, cereals, rice, and potatoes. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down during digestion into a sugar known as glucose. Glucose, the simplest sugar, is the only one that the body can use for energy; every one of the body’s cells needs glucose in order to function. The amount of glucose in your blood is also called your blood glucose level. A normal glucose level in the blood is 80 to 100 mg/dl.

Now, here’s where insulin comes into play. Insulin is a powerful hormone that regulates the glucose levels in the blood. When you have more glucose in your body than your cells need, insulin takes the extra and stores it as fat in the body, allowing your blood glucose levels to return to normal.

Thus, insulin regulates blood glucose levels. But when those insulin levels are too high, it begins storing fat in the body. High insulin levels mean you’ll have more body fat, while low insulin levels mean you’ll have less body fat. Carbohydrates are the foods that cause these insulin spikes that result in excess fat in the body. When you always have unusually high levels of blood glucose in the body, you have a condition known as diabetes, which is potentially very damaging to the body.

Insulin not only regulates blood sugar levels, it also triggers a biological switch that turns off the production of muscle and turns on the production of fat, particularly around the waist and belly area. That’s why you’ll often hear insulin called the fat-storage hormone. Insulin also interferes with the breakdown of fat cells, making it even more difficult for your body to lose weight.

The discussion of insulin’s role in weight gain is one of the most important discussions in my new book, Lose Weight Without Dieting and Working Out! I even provide a quiz to help you determine if elevated insulin levels are causing excess fat storage in your body. Many people find their permanent solution to weight loss in that one section alone. Could this be what is causing you to gain weight?

JJ Smith ( is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ