All About IGF-1 Foods
IGF-1 is known for unlocking your body's potential to burn fat. In fact, there are some metabolic diets that use this potential to their advantage. So can you harness the power of this hormone by eating certain foods? Let's explore this by checking the science behind IGF-1 weight loss foods.
What IGF-1 Does In Your Body
For a clue as to what role IGF-1 plays in your body, look at its full name. It's an Insulin-like Growth Factor. It functions somewhat as insulin does, but there are some very important differences in the way insulin and IGF-1 work. You wouldn't try to use insulin to lose weight, would you? I sure hope not. You'll see why here.
First, let's look at insulin real quick. When you eat, your digestive system turns carbohydrates into glucose. Your body's cells need that glucose for energy. So your pancreas releases insulin. That insulin acts something like a key to open the cells up and let the glucose in. Insulin also helps turn any glucose that isn't used right away into fat. You must understand this before you can get the gist of how IGF-1 works.
IGF-1 functions somewhat like insulin. But instead of acting as a key to let glucose into your cells, it tells your cells to burn fat after the glucose runs out. What if there isn't enough IGF-1 in your bloodstream? The body panics and wants to turn as much of that glucose into fat as possible. And insulin is more than happy to make that happen.
You must have a good balance of insulin and IGF-1 in order to burn fat and lose weight. This isn't a problem for everyone, but it could be for you if you have trouble losing weight because you're deficient in IGF-1. Are you intrigued yet?
How To Tell If You're IGF-1 Deficient
Don't go on a diet high in IGF-1 just because you can't lose weight. You need to find out what the problem actually is before you try to fix it. Does that make sense?
Here are some red flags that may mean you're chronically low in IGF-1.
- You have more than an inch of excess fat at your waist, or love handles.
- You get really sleepy or depressed after a meal that's high in carbs.
- You're 30 or more pounds overweight.
- You have specific problem areas, like love handles or a belly pouch.
- You've really tried and put your all into dieting, but have seen little or no results.
If you can say yes to two or more of those above red flags, you may be IGF-1 deficient. There's also an IGF-1 deficiency quiz [LINK QUIZ?] that can help you figure it all out.
What Foods Have IGF-1?
You may be surprised at what foods have considerable amounts of IGF-1. According to Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine, high amounts of IGF-1 can be found in dairy, meat, and other animal-based foods. It's a pretty good bet that any foods high in animal protein can be high in IGF-1.
Here's a list of foods that are particularly high in this growth factor.
- Wild game birds
Not all of these foods are created equal. It's the animal protein you're after.
The fish that are highest in protein are:
- Coho salmon
And cheeses vary in their protein content as well. Here's a list of protein-rich cheeses, in order of highest to lowest protein content.
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
Poultry and game birds have little difference in protein content.
You'll notice that peanut butter isn't on this list. That's because, while peanut butter is relatively high in protein, it isn't a source of animal protein. You get the picture. Eating animal protein can boost your IGF-1 levels.
You may be wondering why red meat isn't on the list. It is animal protein, isn't it? It is, but the studies I've seen are contradictory. Some say yes, red meat can raise the concentration of IGF-1 in the blood. Others say it has no effect. At least one source indicates that red meat can actually cause a drop in IGF-1. That sounds like bad news for us T-bone lovers. Don't panic yet.
I drilled down into the red meat controversy, and it appears to me that it's the saturated fat found in red meat that causes the dip in IGF-1. The marbling in beef, which is that white fat that adds all that great flavor to good steaks, is basically unsaturated fat. There's nothing that says that unsaturated fat is bad for IGF-1 production.
Most of the saturated fat, the kind you want to avoid if you're wanting higher IGF-1, is in the fat that's around your steak on the outside of the cut. You can trim that to minimize the saturated fat.
There are some nutrients that can have the same effect on IGF-1 serum levels that protein-rich foods can. Calcium and zinc look promising, but there hasn't been a whole lot of research into this yet.
What Foods Lower IGF-1?
If you feel like reading through a long and complicated scientific study, you can check this out to see what foods can actually lower IGF-1. Or you can take my word for it. I did all the heavy reading for you.
I mentioned that saturated fat can make IGF-1 levels drop, and this study confirms that.
Carbohydrates, especially simple carbs, also cause a drop. This is due to the spike in glucose. A higher concentration of glucose causes a heavy release of insulin. And the insulin competes with IGF-1.
It seems that alcohol consumption caused a drop in IGF-1 in those study participants as well.
The Benefits Of IGF-1 Weight Loss Foods
IGF-1 affects metabolism. It causes the body to go into fat-burning mode. This has been documented, and I've seen it work myself. Have you seen my post about Metabolic Factor? Check it out. That diet is all about eating high-IGF foods at key times of the day to harness the power of this hormone.
And keep in mind that many IGF-1 foods are generally healthy anyway. They're high in protein, and low in saturated fat, and many of them have other nutritional positives.
The benefits of IGF-1 go beyond weight loss. It's also known to have an effect similar to HGH. It is a growth hormone, after all.
There are some exciting studies going on right now that show IGF-1 can potentially lessen the bad effects of aging. Most of these studies, past, and present, have focused on invertebrates and rodents, but preliminary findings are encouraging.
Recently, a ton of evidence has been uncovered that suggests that IGF-1 can help repair cartilage. That means that it can be good for your joints, and possibly fix damage caused by aging and general wear and tear on your body.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Eating IGF-1 Foods?
There definitely can be some bad side effects associated with taking pure synthetic IGF-1. There may even be some risks with IGF-1 supplements. Read my post about them. But what about IGF-1 weight loss foods?
I couldn't find any evidence that there is any harm to be found in IGF-1 foods that are directly related to the IGF-1 itself. In other words, if any high-IGF-1 foods are bad for you, it probably isn't due to the IGF-1. But these foods, like the ones in the list above, are pretty much good for you. You may run into trouble if you eat so much of them that you raise your cholesterol or take in too much fat, but you'll be OK if you keep moderation in mind. Pay attention to the macro-nutrients that you are taking in.
There's been some talk about IGF-1 causing some serious health problems, like swelling of the retina and a higher risk of certain cancers. WebMD has a good article on this. But again, this is contributed to pure synthetic IGF-1. There is no evidence that eating foods that are high in IGF-1 can contribute to the risks of these side effects.
The hormone known as IGF-1 plays several roles in the body. The effect it has on metabolism can have a dramatic effect on weight loss by turning your body into a fat-burning machine.
IGF-1 supplements can work, but there's evidence that eating foods high in this metabolism-revving hormone can also help you lose weight. All of this comes with minimal risks.
What do you think about it? Do you have any other questions about IGF-1 foods for losing weight? Tell me your story and ask about anything you don't understand in the comments below.