Dear Mark: Coffee and Insulin, Fat and Post-Workout Meals
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: 32
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edition of Dear
Mark, I cover two topics near and dear to many of your hearts.
First, I discuss the interaction between coffee intake and insulin.
Does coffee stimulate its secretion? Does it impair insulin’s
function, or our body’s reaction to it? Find out how you should
approach coffee on a Primal Blueprint eating plan. Then, I explore
the suitability of dietary fat in the post-workout meal. Does it
belong? Should you be stocking skim milk,
de-fatted chicken breast, non-fat yogurt,
and cartons of egg whites for your post-workout meals? If you’ve
just lifted something heavy, should you therefore shun the yolks
and fear the fat for the rest of the day? Find out below.
raise insulin levels? A lot of contradictory stuff out there.
Hoping you could get to the bottom of it. Also, how does it affect
coffee research so confusing is that a lot of it is actually caffeine
research. You see, researchers love isolating whole food constituents
to avoid confounding variables. It’s easier to get a definitive
result about caffeine than it is to get one about coffee, because
coffee contains huge and diverse levels of antioxidant compounds.
If you don’t, and coffee has a health effect, how do you know
if it’s the caffeine or something else in coffee causing the
effect? That’s helpful, but most of us are drinking coffee
– not popping caffeine pills. So, while caffeine is definitely
one of the main active compounds in coffee, it’s not the only
one. Adjust your interpretation of “coffee” research
have been shown to exert negative effects on insulin sensitivity.
Not on insulin itself, though. As standalone substances (without
a meal to accompany them), neither caffeine nor coffee have
an independent effect on insulin secretion.
sensitivity, the efficiency with which your body handles incoming
glucose? Yeah. Caffeine
tends to reduce it. It’s not necessarily a terrible thing,
though, when you consider why this occurs. Caffeine increases adrenaline,
which increases lipolysis – the liberation of fatty acids
from body fat. The increased sense of energy you get from coffee
is partly caused by the increased availability of energy in the
form of free fatty acids. Of course, an increase in free fatty acids
shooting around your body causes a subsequent – and necessary
– drop in insulin sensitivity to allow you to actually burn
the fat. It all makes perfect sense when you consider the entire
picture, but it sounds pretty scary out of context.
the clinical trials showing that acute intakes of caffeine and coffee
tend to reduce insulin sensitivity, the overwhelming majority of
the observational literature finds that coffee
is linked to lower body weight and protection from type 2 diabetes.
coffee drinking is even linked to protection against non-alcoholic
fatty liver disease, an affliction characterized by insulin
resistance. And although what I’ve said about correlation
and causation in the past holds true in this case (even though
it’s supporting something that we might like), the connection
is undeniably interesting, especially when you consider that heavy
coffee drinking is universally lauded as unhealthy and that habitual
coffee drinkers are probably more likely to smoke, stay up late,
and eat bad food. Perhaps there is a mechanism there (one suggestion
in the NAFLD paper is the antioxidant content of coffee).
Part of it
stems from the fact that habituation to a behavior affects the effects
of that behavior. You know how once you’ve been drinking coffee
for awhile, you don’t really get the “buzz” anymore?
You still love (need) the stuff, but it’s not so much a stimulant
as it is a normalizer. Well, the coffee buzz comes partially from
adrenaline, the secretion of which drinking coffee promotes. Adrenaline
is also a potent stimulator of lipolysis, the release of free fatty
acids from adipose tissue. Since the liberated fatty acids are causing
the temporary insulin resistance, and the fatty acids are liberated
by adrenaline, and the adrenaline buzz is lessened with habitual
coffee drinking, maybe the insulin resistance is similarly lessened
when you’re a coffee fiend. Sounds sensible, right, but what
does the research say?
when you give overweight, generally healthy habitual coffee drinkers
five more cups a day and measure their “biological risk factors
for type 2 diabetes,” things
look a little different. Their insulin sensitivity not only
stays the same, but their risk factors actually improve. Markers
of both liver function and adipose tissue function were improved
after upping their coffee intake.
the rest of the article
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August 15, 2012
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