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5 Ways to Lower Insulin Levels (naturally) for Weight Loss

October 12, 2019

We know one of the key drivers of weight gain
is raised insulin levels. In this video I’m going to give you five ways to naturally help
lower your insulin levels that will help you lose weight.
Hey carb dodgers, my name is Dr. Dan Maggs. I help people who’ve been struggling to lose
weight achieve their goal of long-term sustainable weight loss. I had a life-long battle with
my weight until about three years ago when I managed to find the solution. It is now
my passion to share what I have learned from my own weight loss journey and from helping
others through my medical practice with you. Now I release new videos every Tuesday, so
be sure to hit the Subscribe button and hit that bell to get notified whenever I release
a new video. Last week we talked about the important shift
from thinking about weight loss in terms of calories to in terms of hormones. If you didn’t
see that video, I’ll link to in the description below and up here. In that video I focused
in on the role of raised insulin in weight gain and the importance of maintaining low
insulin levels in achieving long-term sustainable weight loss. In this video I’m going to give
you five ways to achieve and maintain lower insulin levels completely naturally, no medications
or anything like that. Let’s dive straight in with the big one.
Number one, a well-formulated low carbohydrate diet. When we look at the overall scientific
studies about weight loss, low carbohydrate diets consistently outperform low fat diets.
And that’s not a surprise. Carbohydrates are the main nutrient that promotes the release
of insulin in our bodies. If you eat carbs, your blood sugar level rises, your pancreas
produces insulin in order to drive glucose into the cells and bring the blood glucose
levels back down to normal again. Now carbs can be found in the form of things
like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, added into drinks or into foods during the manufacturing
process. But carbohydrates are also found in high quantities in foods like potatoes,
rice, pasta, bread, basically lots of white or beige colored foods. Now starch is just
long chains of glucose molecules strung together, and whenever you consume starch, your body
just breaks down this starch into glucose, which in turns raises your blood glucose levels.
Now, not as quickly as sugar does, but it raises them all the same.
The good news is that carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient for life. In fact, we
are designed to survive without taking in any carbohydrate in our diet. We can make
all the glucose we need within our bodies. But we can also get a small amount of glucose
from non-starchy vegetables, things like broccoli, cauliflower. There’s loads of different vegetables
like that. I’m not advocating a no carb diet, just one that is low. Low means different
things to different people. Everyone has a different tolerance to the amount of carbohydrate
they can consume. Your tolerance will be different from mine. But it must be a well-formulated
low carbohydrate diet. There is definitely a right and a wrong way
to approach low carb diets, particularly if you want to make them sustainable for the
longer term. See, when done correctly, a low carb diet will lead to low insulin levels
which will allow you to use your own fat for energy. This in turn will lead to decreased
hunger, meaning you naturally want to take in less food. I’m an advocate of low carb
diets that are predominantly real food which means unprocessed foods with an adequate amount
of protein supplemented with healthy fats. And this is what I teach here on this channel
and over at my website which is But all foods stimulate the production of
insulin to a certain extent. And whilst a well-formulated low carb diet will keep insulin
levels to a minimum, the second way to keep your insulin levels naturally low is to introduce
fasting into your diet. Now fasting is the opposite of feeding. Insulin levels will naturally
be low when you’re fasting. And we all do it every night for at least 10 hours and then
break that fast in the morning, hence break fast, breakfast.
Fasting has also been a part of many cultures throughout human history. Whilst fasting days
have largely disappeared from Western culture, many people around the world still observe
fasting days for religious reasons. Extending the time we spend in the fasting state, low
insulin levels, leads to longer periods where our bodies are able to access our own stored
fat for energy. It doesn’t mean we’re simply starving ourselves. For example, I don’t eat
breakfast. In fact, as I record this it’s about 11:00 in the morning and I haven’t eaten
since 7:00 last night when I had my last low carb meal. I’m really only just starting to
get hungry. So rather than having a high carb breakfast cereal, my insulin levels are currently
low and my body is just running on its own fat stores.
Now some of you watching this will be thinking, “Yeah, I could do that. I am not really hungry
in the mornings.” And others will be going, “No, I cannot do that.” Which are you? Let
me know in the comments down below this video if you’re a breakfast person or not. Just
type love breakfast or hate breakfast. I know we’ve all been told that breakfast
is the most important meal of the day. But is that really true? Or is it just something
that we’ve been told by the food industry to get us to eat breakfast cereal? Fasting
can sound pretty scary, but there is a lot we can do to make it much easier. I like many
people quite naturally fell into a pattern of fasting after being on a low carb diet
simply because I didn’t feel hungry in the mornings anymore.
The third way in which we can keep our insulin levels naturally low is through exercise.
Now exercise is fantastic in so many ways. But when it comes to weight loss, there is
some effects of exercise that I think are far more important than just burning calories.
On that note, think about it, have you ever been hungry after exercise? Of course. You
burn more energy and your hunger increases to compensate it. Hunger is just your body’s
way of trying to correct the imbalance that you’ve created. And it might not be immediate,
it might be days or weeks over which it corrects that imbalance.
But as I discussed in my last video, this idea of burning calories has been over sold.
I could probably talk to you all day about the positive effects of exercise on our metabolism,
but there are two key things I want to mention here. Firstly, exercise increases the sensitivity
of muscles to the actions of insulin. You need less insulin to take up the same amount
of glucose. Secondly, exercise allows our muscles to use glucose without the need for
insulin. It’s amazing. You’ll often find me talking about insulin
allowing glucose to enter into cells, such as in this video where you can see the star
shaped insulin molecule interacting with the surface of the cell in order to open up that
channel where glucose can pass through. But one of the effects of exercise is to open
up these channels without the need for insulin. After exercise glucose just gets taken up
by the muscle tissue without the need for insulin to ever be produced. Resistance training,
lifting heavy weights, and short burst of a high intensity exercise are particularly
good for activating these important metabolic effects of exercise. Much better than going
out and running a marathon or a four hour bike ride in order to burn off calories.
Now the fourth way to naturally lower insulin levels is to reduce stress. A little bit of
stress can be a good thing. It prepares our body for action by doing things that are raising
blood glucose levels. In short bursts at the right time that is normal. But being stressed
for long periods of time will cause persistently raised blood glucose which will mean that
your body needs to produce more insulin in order to respond.
Now we’re not designed to live in a constant state of stress. And if you are, then this
could seriously undermine your weight loss efforts. Now I can’t give you a one size fits
all method to reduce stress. The causes of stress are different for everyone, but it
is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle that’s often overlooked and can prevent weight
loss even when you’re doing all the other stuff correctly.
Now the fifth and final way to lower your insulin is to sleep well. There’s a reason
for people who work night shifts are significantly more likely to be obese than people who don’t.
Sleep deprivation causes excess glucose levels. You’re putting your body under stress and
your body will produce more insulin in response to this. It also affects other hormonal systems.
It reduces the amount of leptin, one of the hormones that controls our hunger. We’re just
more hungry after a poor night sleep and we just make better decisions about nutrition
when we’re not tired. I remember as a junior doctor doing long shift at the hospital. I
used to make terrible decisions about food, mainly because I was exhausted.
Now if you’re serious about weight loss, then you must make getting enough sleep a priority.
Now we often say eight hours. Some need more, some need less. Really you need what you need.
Now you might be able to get away with sleep deprivation in the short-term, but longer
term it will catch up with you. There you have it, my top five ways for reducing
insulin, number one, low carb diet, number two, intermittent fasting, number three, do
some exercise particularly strength and high intensity exercise, number four, stress reduction,
and number five, get enough sleep. Now these are not only my five tips for reducing
insulin levels for weight loss. These are really five foundational principles that I
think are the most important lifestyle factors you can influence for enduring health. These
are the five key areas I work on with my one-on-one coaching clients.
Now if you’re interested in learning more, then I’d love it if you’d subscribe to this
channel. New videos come out every Tuesday. If you enjoyed this video, I’d really appreciate
it giving it a like. Come and say hi to me in the comments. Let me know which of the
five areas that you feel you need to work on. I do try to respond to every comment.
Have a great day and I’ll see you next Tuesday when I’m going to be talking about some of
the medical reasons which might prevent you from losing weight. See you then.

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  • Reply Dr Dan Maggs February 5, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Hey everyone! So which areas of these could you work on? How are you going to go about doing it?

  • Reply Maria de la Peña February 5, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Nice video😊 I've been doing healthy keto for 8 months now, it's life changing. I'm not an expert at all, but I've been watching (almost) every video about it on YouTube😂, that's why I can tell you're doing a great job explaining everything related 😊 Sorry for my English, it's my fourth lenguaje, I'm still learning 🙃

  • Reply Dover February 6, 2019 at 2:20 am

    Another good video…you explain things well. Do you have suggestions on reducing stress such as when you were in medical school? My daughter is in a physics PhD program and has the ongoing stress you mentioned. BTW, the menu on your website doesn't currently work (at least on my mobile device).

  • Reply Eli Magids February 6, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    perfect info. video Dan! I am on Keto== I have to kick up my exercise level a bit– I do fall off the wagon occasionally ! Love sugar, unfortunately 🙁

  • Reply Professor Heather Austin February 8, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Dr. Dan, loved learning about these 5 ways to lover insulin levels. Great stuff!

  • Reply Jade F March 7, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    How soon after doing these interventions do you suggest checking fasting insulin? I just got my results which is 8.2 and I wanna make it lower I hope I can do this soon

  • Reply Dan Le March 17, 2019 at 2:28 am

    10:40 press space bar

  • Reply Corwyn Warwaruk March 20, 2019 at 10:24 am

    I have reduced carbs in my diet by eliminating anything with flour, sugar, grains and have tracked my blood glucose levels keeping them below 6.9mmol/litre. Post meal. I eat lots of low carb veggies, moderate protein and healthy natural fats. I have naturally reduced my eating frequency to once a day…. and then most days I am not even hungry. The result… 40 pounds down in two months and then another 8-10 pounds a month after that. Low carb diet with intermittent fasting reduces insulin and your body burns what it has…. fat!

  • Reply Ginger's Keto In The UK March 23, 2019 at 12:38 am

    I am begging my GP to do a Kraft test cause even after 5 years of keto I can tell even by just cross referencing by glucose/ketones values that cortisol alone in the morning makes me spike so high that a ton of insulin must be around for quite some time.
    PS: OMG I just realised you're here in the UK too! Oh the joy!!! I wish you were my GP, really! If you ever come by cardiff I'd love to have you around my keto kitchen for a good chat and a good recipe making 🙂

  • Reply Low Carb Sandra April 30, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    I need to work on stress for sure…now that I'm no longer hungry esp in evening I need to read more books…I'm no where near your level of books LOL

  • Reply Fragrance Wizard May 6, 2019 at 9:08 am

    1. Low carb diet
    2. Intermittent fasting
    3. Exercise – HIIT and weight lifting
    4. Less stress
    5. Sleep more.

  • Reply Joana MLo May 14, 2019 at 12:48 am

    I love when you say "Cauliflower" ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply gaurav parida June 3, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Hi, i started my training its been 1+1/2 months now, and i feel at starting days i reduced my weight but not after some time the weight is constant and there is no significant differences..kindly suggest, i too wanna loosemy weight

  • Reply Latoya Griffin June 16, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    I don't hate breakfast but I can do without it most days!

  • Reply November June 19, 2019 at 10:48 am

    This video is matches up with my personal experience. Fast when waking up until dinner, cut carbs, exercise and sleep more. I usually fail in the sleep dept, and stress not sure. But the fast until dinner, light exercise and low carbs usually get results when I stick with it.

  • Reply Sepideh Pour July 4, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Thanks, you explain it very simple and understandable, I am on keto about one week I feel great but just I am lacking on exercise and I don't have any will for working out, perhaps I am too lazy , I don't know how I can deal with this , my job is also forxing me to sit all the time with my computer

  • Reply crazy lazy cat July 17, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Dr Maggs,
    What if eating meat, eggs, birds is really hard to me?
    I can eat only so much meat and it start feeling disgusting. Also, after a weak of proteins the body starts craving cards even more.
    Please help, thank you!

  • Reply Sandra Ray August 11, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Nice, concise explanations

  • Reply Vicky Manley August 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Great thanks

  • Reply George Peter August 16, 2019 at 3:15 am

    Thank you for your good video.What is the ideal fasting insulin value? My value is 11. How long will it take to bring down my insulin level if I follow the principles you have given in the video?

  • Reply Katherine S August 22, 2019 at 12:57 am

    Hi 👋 low carb diet is definitely the hardest for me. Thanks for sharing

  • Reply leo nas August 23, 2019 at 2:09 am

    I didnt feel hungry in the mornings years ago , now i feel hungry in the mornings .

  • Reply DaveT 383 August 23, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for that, Dan. Breakfast – can take it or leave it. As for the 5 tips, I was a long distance runner for years, but could never really lose the belly fat. At 178cm, I could never get below 80.5kg. The reason was because of diet, I think. Lately, I have been focusing on all 5 of these areas, but I am just starting out. Not really sure what my weight is now, but it is at least 83.5kg. Trying to get to 75-77, so I will cut out all alcohol for 30 days (today is day 3), and continue w the other 5. My new bike just arrived, so off I go on a ride on my new wheels! 😊 BTW, I am almost 61 years old. 🤪

  • Reply MM SS August 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Why you stopped these Videos.. you should come back

  • Reply Sunny Singh August 31, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you for the video Dr. Maggs. What would your suggestion be for those suffering from Type 1 Diabetes? I have T1D and would like to reduce my insulin dose. I have a low carb diet but I would like to also incorporate intermittent fasting. I have read about people with T1D who have reduced their insulin requirements after doing intermittent fasting. Thanks again!

  • Reply GarysOnlyGal *** September 7, 2019 at 2:28 am

    I would LOVE to be able to fast but unfortunately fasting brings on migraines for me. Any suggestions?

  • Reply Catrina Willhite September 19, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    Great video! Thanks!

  • Reply Tristan Hubbard September 23, 2019 at 10:18 am

    I tend to sleep in tune with my super slight husband, I do need more. So I will take this on board thankyou.

  • Reply Sixth Hokage September 25, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Can I sleep more in the day time to prevent sleep deprivation?

  • Reply Zeebuk October 5, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Love breakfast.. But i just eat protein or oat..

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