After one of our recent free educational seminars at our RISE Group Personal Training Clubs (in Buxton, Derbyshire and Macclesfield, Cheshire) a number of members asked if we could write an article about how elevated insulin can lead to increased fat accumulation.

We’ll get to that in just a moment, but before that we’d just like to give a little plug for our seminars. They are every Monday at 6pm at the Macclesfield club (Waterside Mill, Waterside, SK11 7HG) and Wednesdays at 6 at Buxton (Suite 6, West Road House, 26A West Road, SK17 6HF). They are open to both members and non member alike. In them we aim to teach those in attendance the truth about weight loss – why people don’t gain weight because they eat too much or do too little, and what actually causes it. So, if you find this article interesting or useful, please come along to our seminars (and bring and friends, family or work colleagues along) – they are one of the many things that separates us from gyms, health clubs, Slimming World, Weight Watchers and average Personal Trainers.
So, Insulin – where do we start. Firstly the effect of insulin has been known for over 100 years ago. Ask any older relative why they thought people got fat when they were young. They will tell you about “fattening foods” such as bread, pasta and potatoes and drinks such as beer. The science behind this seems to have been clouded with the more recent obsession with ‘calories’ and dietary fat.
However the things we are about to cover are, as far as we are aware, fact. If you (or anyone you mention this to) disagree(s), then please tell us which part of our argument is incorrect. We’re always willing to be proved wrong (it means we’ve learned something new) but always ask that someone who disagrees is able to point out the errors in what we say, not just say “I don’t agree”.


  • Fact 1: The higher the levels of carbohydrate in a meal, the greater the levels of insulin you produce.
    You start producing Insulin when you think about food, produce more as you eat and then you production tells off after. Insulin is an important hormone to help with the processing of various macro and micro nutrients. Carbohydrate intake (particularly the more processed carbs) causes the highest insulin spike. Individual response and levels of production varies (what is known as Insulin Sensitivity) which explains why some people are able to tolerate high carbohydrate diets more readily (ie: not get fat off them). But generally speaking the more (processed) carbs you consume, the more Insulin you will produce – FACT!


  • Fact 2: Insulin makes us fatter through six main processes:


1. Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) up-regulation in fat cells.

Lipoprotein Lipase is an enzyme which sticks out of the surface of the membranes of different cells (muscle, fat, etc).
LPL pulls fatty acids out of the blood stream and into the cells.
The greater the levels of LPL on a cell, the more fatty acids will be pulled into that cell (on a side note, differing LPL levels throughout the body are what causes different people, and different sexes, to store fat in different amounts in different places).
Insulin ‘activates’ LPL on the fat cells, meaning a greater proportion of the fatty acids are directed into the fat cell, where they bond with Glycerol to form Tri-glycerides ( the form that fat is stored in the body).

2. Lipoprotein Lipase down-regulation in muscle cells.

See above

Insulin ‘deactivates’ LPL on the muscles cells, meaning a lower proportion of the fatty acids are directed into the muscle cells.
Therefore less of the fatty acids in the blood are used for energy
And, if fatty acids are able to escape the fat cells, they won’t be taken up by the muscles and will end up back in the fat cells.


3. Hormone-sensitive Lipase (HSL) down regulation in fat cells

HSL works inside the fat cells to breakdown Tri-glycerides into their constituent components of three fatty acid molecules and one Glycerol molecule, enabling these fatty acids to return to the blood stream, to potentially be used in the muscles.
Insulin suppresses HSL levels, preventing this from happening – leaving the fat stored in the fat cells.


4. Glucose metabolization in fat cells

Increasing Insulin levels turns on a process in the fat cells to draw in glucose.
When fat cells metabolize glucose, it produces Glycerol as a by-product.
This glycerol can then combine with fatty acids to form Tri-glycerides – the stored form of fat.


5. Creation of new fat cells

Insulin is used in the creation of new fat cells.
The more insulin you produce, the more fat cells you produce.
This creates more room for fatty acids to combine with Glycerol and create Tri-glycerides (stored body fat).


6. Decreasing fatty acid usage in the liver cells

Insulin signals the liver cells to reduce fatty acid usage, and to turn these fatty acids into Tri-Glycerides to be transported back to the fat tissue.
We don’t necessarily expect everyone to follow these points and realize they are quite sciencey. However they are sciencey for a reason – to show you this is real, not just something we believe.


So, until someone can pull apart this argument, please accept that

Carbohydrates drive Insulin which drive Fat Accumulation

About The Author

Jon Hall

When not helping people to transform their lives and bodies, Jon can usually be found either playing with his kids or taxi-ing them around. If you'd like to find out more about what we do at RISE then enter your details in the box to the right or bottom of this page or at - this is the same way every single one of the hundreds who've described this as "one of the best decisions I've ever made" took their first step.