HEALTH

BYU professor finds that insulin plays a big role in obesity

Apr 18, 2022, 3:10 PM
BYU professors finds that insulin plays a vital role in obesity...
Woman preparing and kneading dough for bread and cakes. She wears a red apron and works in her kitchen. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — BYU professor Ben Bikman has spent years researching the issue of obesity. His findings show that while calorie intake matters in contributing to obesity, hormones are more important.

According to DesertNews, his research began at East Carolina University, where he studied two groups of rodents. Both groups were being fed the same amount of food. However, researchers gave one group artificially high levels of insulin. 

Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar.

After the study, he found that both groups weighed the same. That said, those who had insulin had much more body fat and less lean mass. 

“I knew at that moment that what I thought I’d known — that obesity and the metabolic problems that follow it are purely the consequence of a caloric imbalance — was inaccurate,” said Bikman. 

Bikman furthered his research at the Duke National University of Singapore and found the same findings. Insulin resistance was the conclusion Bikamn made as to why people get obese. 

The importance of insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is when the body’s hormones can’ do their job properly due to eating foods that make insulin work overtime. These foods include mainly carbohydrates, such as pastries, bread, chips, pasta, and other starches. Furthermore, diseases linked to obesity can be avoided by improving insulin resistance. 

“I realized I have an opportunity to help them learn how insulin resistance works and its relevance in chronic disease. Rather than just prescribing hypertension medication (when they’re practicing), I hope they’ll remember my class and say, ‘Hey, let’s improve your insulin resistance, ‘” Bikman said. 

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BYU professor finds that insulin plays a big role in obesity