I consider the amount of insulin a food or beverage causes the body to produce a key benchmark for nutrition research. For any nutrition claim, I want to know how much of the causality is working through insulin and what effect is left over when insulin production is held constant either experimentally or statistically. You can see why I take this view in "Obesity Is Always and Everywhere an Insulin Phenomenon" and "Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid."
Bonnie Kavoussi pointed me to the graphic above, which does a good job at showing how to avoid the types of food that are the very highest on the insulin index. However, taking the insulin index that I discuss in detail in "Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid" as the gold standard, let me point to a few problems with this graphic:
- The Keto Food Pyramid doesn't do a good job at distinguishing between types of food that are medium on the insulin index and those that are low on the insulin index. Avoiding high is most important, but leaning toward low in the choice between low and medium also matters. In particular, any fruit (including berries), as well as most types of meat, poultry and fish need to be eaten in moderation.
- While skim milk is high on the insulin index, whole milk is not.
- While some types of beans are high on the insulin index, other types of beans are reasonably low on the insulin index.
- While I suspect typical American spaghetti is indeed quite bad, existing evidence on the insulin index suggests (surprisingly) that there may be some types of pasta that are not so bad. More research is needed on this.
- It is only raw carrots that are OK. Cooked carrots have a higher glycemic index, suggesting a high insulin index.
- Potatoes should be on the banned list.
- Most important of all, soft drinks, punch and juice need to be on the banned list!
In addition to the key posts mentioned above,
- Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid
- Obesity Is Always and Everywhere an Insulin Phenomenon,
you might be interested in these:
- Mass In/Mass Out: A Satire of Calories In/Calories Out
- Jason Fung: Dietary Fat is Innocent of the Charges Leveled Against It
- Faye Flam: The Taboo on Dietary Fat is Grounded More in Puritanism than Science
- Sugar as a Slow Poison
- Kearns, Schmidt and Glantz—Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research: A Historical Analysis of Internal Industry Documents
- Salt Is Not the Nutritional Evil It Is Made Out to Be
- Confirmation Bias in the Interpretation of New Evidence on Salt
- Whole Milk Is Healthy; Skim Milk Less So
- How the Calories In/Calories Out Theory Obscures the Endogeneity of Calories In and Out to Subjective Hunger and Energy
- Putting the Perspective from Jason Fung's "The Obesity Code" into Practice
- Julia Belluz and Javier Zarracina: Why You'll Be Disappointed If You Are Exercising to Lose Weight, Explained with 60+ Studies (my retitling of the article this links to)
- Meat Is Amazingly Nutritious—But Is It Amazingly Nutritious for Cancer Cells, Too?
- On Fighting Obesity
- Analogies Between Economic Models and the Biology of Obesity
- Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities
Also see the last section of "Five Books That Have Changed My Life."