Insulin Therapy’s Effect on Metabolic Rate

Insulin Therapy’s Effect on Metabolic Rate

Today I was watching videos of presentations given by doctors at the Low Carb Conference held in Breckenridge Colorado from the 24th to the 26th of February 2017. First of all, if you are not familiar with this conference I highly recommend checking these presentations out on the Low Carb Down Under YouTube channel. This is an excellent source of great information about low carb high fat diets that is very recent and relevant. Anyways, I found it especially important to post about one presentation in particular given by Dr. Benjamin Bikman. His presentation is titled “Insulin vs. Ketones – The Battle for Brown Fat.”[1] Here I will give you a brief summary of his presentation and focus on one especially relevant point to how his research and experiments connects to type 2 diabetics. I highly recommend anyone who finds this material interesting to watch his full video here: Dr. Benjamin Bikman – ‘Insulin vs. Ketones – The Battle for Brown Fat’.

So as the title of the presentation hints, Dr. Bikman’s presentation is about comparing how insulin and ketones effect the body’s fat. In doing this he compares two major theories of what determines weight gain: the caloric model and the endocrine model. The caloric model suggests that caloric intake is the determent in weight gain, whereas the endocrine model argues that excess insulin is the determinant in weight gain. Dr. Bikman’s hypothesis that he tests through his experiments described in this presentation is that not only is the endocrine the determinant for weight gain, but that it also encompasses the caloric model. Without going into the extreme detail of Dr. Bikman’s experiments, I will summarize on his results and explain how his work is relevant to you as a type 2 diabetic.

There are two different types of fat tissues in the body: white and brown. White-fat tissue is used as storage of energy whereas brown-fat tissue’s sole purpose in the body is to be used up as energy and heat. Through Dr. Bikman’s research he discovered that the amount of insulin present in the body has significant effects on how the fat tissue functions in the body. For instance, when insulin is high and ketone levels are down, the body produces mostly white-fat tissues. Furthermore the brown-fat tissues present in the body even begin to function like white-fat tissue. On the flip side, when insulin is low and ketone levels are high, the body produces mostly brown-fat tissue and the white-fat tissue present in the body begins to function like brown-fat tissue. Overall, the main point to made from this information is that for a person looking to lose weight, it is more beneficial to have low insulin levels and high ketone levels.

Now, you are probably wondering how this effects you being a type 2 diabetic. I promise I will address this; however, first I would like to explain why Dr. Bikman’s hypothesis that the endocrine model is validated by his research and the reinforcement from another study done. From Bikman’s experiments and research he proved that it is not just a matter of how much you eat but what you eat that determines if you will gain weight. He proved that eating carb heavy foods that will increase insulin levels will cause fat to build up as storage. On the other hand, eating foods low in carbohydrates that will decrease insulin levels will cause body fat to be used up for energy and heat. In addition to describing how his research proves this point, Bikman also refers to a report titled, “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women.”[2] This report is written about a study done that takes two groups of participants of similar health, subjects one to a calorie restricted diet and one to a carb restricted diet. Without going into too much detail, the overall result of this experiment was that the group that was carb restricted ended up eating on average the same amount of calories as the group that was calorie restricted. The part that further reinforces Bikman’s work is that even though the group that was carb restricted ate on average the same amount of calories as the calorie restricted group, the carb restricted group lost much more weight. This goes to show again that it does not only matter how much you eat but what you eat that determines weight gain, disproving the caloric model and proving that the endocrine model is the ultimate factor.

But enough about summarizing reports that you can read if you feel so inclined (links are found at the bottom of the post). It is time for me to explain the most important part of the presentation and why I was so inspired to write this post. The part that is the most relevant to you as a type 2 diabetic.

Near the end of Dr. Bikman’s presentation, he mentions yet another article titled, “Factors associated with basal metabolic rate in patients with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus.”[3] This report not only supports Dr. Bikman’s claims and hypothesis but it introduces a notion that insulin therapy for diabetics can be harmful. The report is on a study done on a group of type 2 diabetics that were not insulin dependent. Half of the participants were put on insulin therapy and the other half were left off of insulin. The overall findings without going into painstaking detail on all of the technical aspects is that the metabolic rate of the group subject to insulin therapy noticeably decreased compared to the group that was not put on exogenous insulin. Comparing this finding to Dr. Bikman’s work, it can be theorized that this shift occurred due to increased insulin levels and that this increase caused the fat in the insulin therapy group to function as the white fat mentioned above.

The reason I wanted to post this article is to give you more reason to start the ketogenic diet whether you use our Active Keto Program or you do it on your own. More than anything I have a passion of spreading the information on this incredible diet to type 2 diabetics in hopes of inspiring them to go on the diet and live a happier and healthy life. The overall take away from this article is that restricting your carb intake is highly beneficial for you health. Restricting you carb intake will help you lower your blood glucose levels, reduce or eliminate your insulin therapy and promote your weight loss significantly reducing adverse effects on your health that your condition may have. Try not to buy into the highly promoted idea that simply reducing your caloric intake will benefit your health and try to have an open mind about the idea that it is not only a matter of how much you eat but it is far more important what you eat.

Please contact me at info@betabios.com to ask me any questions about this blog post, the ketogenic diet, or for more great information on how low carb – high fat diets can help you with your diabetes.


[1] YouTube. (2017). Dr. Benjamin Bikman – ‘Insulin vs. Ketones – The Battle for Brown Fat’. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t1JN0RgvO4&list=PLrVWtWmYRR2C8Lc8kn5qAmsSewdmssmmb&index=2.

[2] Brehm, B., Seeley, R., Daniels, S. and D’Alessio, D. (2003). A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. [online] JCEM. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/88/4/1617/2845298/A-Randomized-Trial-Comparing-a-Very-Low.

[3] Franssila-Kallunki, A. (1992). Factors associated with basal metabolic rate in patients with Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. [online] Diabetologia. Available at: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF00401426.pdf.

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