We have all worked hard this summer and fall to lose the weight we gained over last winter and now it is that time of year that we are going to blow it by gaining it all back starting with Halloween progressing to Thanksgiving and then all the December parties, all the way up to super bowl! Three months of so many invites to dinner and parties that dieting is useless! Well maybe not! You see most Americans have what we call central fullness. The legs and arm aren’t that big but from the stomach to mid-thigh there is a lot of fullness. The textbook of physiology has talked for over 50 years about how if you don’t get 1 gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight you develop central obesity. The labs say the normal insulin level (not glucose) is about 3-25. I find that the optimal range is 3-5. You see the pancreas makes insulin which drives glucose into the cells. Most of the diabetic type II in the country is not because the pancreas does not make insulin which is type I diabetes but the pancreas can only make so much insulin before it starts to slow down and we have to take pills to squeeze more and more insulin out to drive glucose into the cells. We need about 4 units of insulin to drive glucose into a cell. My pre-diabetic and diabetic patients need twice that amount or more to do something and keep the blood sugar around 100 or less.

We take diabetic meds to recruit more insulin to try to maintain normal blood glucose. Insulin also does many other things such as binding hormones, sex hormones, neurotransmitter like serotonin and dopamine and insulin cause the body to store increased fat in the liver. So, how you can you decrease insulin levels in your body? This can be done by consuming 1 gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight per day. This is not a high protein diet as it is normal protein consumption per the medical school physiology textbook. So, to help my patients at this time of year I suggest before heading out to that party or dinner have a protein shake 20-30 grams an hour before going and it will curb your appetite greatly. You can still try some of Aunt Mary’s homemade cheesecake but take a small piece. It is not a bad thing to try it because the increase protein will decrease the insulin and better control your weight or when eating the hors d’oeuvres at the party concentrate on the meat and protein rich foods. This will help you get through the holiday without much of a weight gain.

John Young M.D.