There’s a lot of science and research out there. Nutrition experts and MD’s are trying to figure out how to help their patients lose weight and gain their health back. There are so many mixed messages out there. It often becomes difficult, as a normal person to determine which message is right, when they all seem to say something different.
I was reading in my old Anatomy and Physiology book last night about metabolism. Mind you, this text book is 9 years old, but it still has some really great information. It got to the section on fats (lipids), and how the body uses them, and gets rid of them. The process is very complex, and please understand that this is a very simple explanation.
The first thing we can talk about is insulin. What do you think of when you hear the word “insulin”? Diabetes? Me too. But insulin is created in the body in response to the intake of carbohydrates. It allows them (carbs) to be stored for energy. It also inhibits the use of fat for fuel in the body. Did you catch that? It helps store carbs, and it keeps fats from being broken down. In addition to that, if all of the carbohydrate storage locations are full, and are not being used, the body will then take additional carbohydrates and store them as fat. Hmmm….. Kind of a problem if you are obese or overweight, and want to burn fat for fuel.
So how does the body use dietary fats? There’s a few things that can be done here. Once thing that happens is fat in the diet gets repackaged and then transported to the fat cells (storage) for later use. Fats are used to make hormones and they are also used in the structure of cells. They can be burned for fuel as well, but only if the insulin levels in the blood are low enough.
There are 2 pathways to lipolysis (the breakdown of fats to be used by the body). The first is when insulin levels are low, the body takes stored fat and uses them to make ATP. ATP is what the cell actually uses for energy. Carbs and Fat fuel the production of ATP. Neither carbs nor fats are used directly by the cell for energy. They both fuel processes that create the currency (ATP) that are used by the cell. The second pathway is triggered through exercise. Lipolysis can also occur when a person is very active. Part of the argument is that fat is bad because it causes heart disease and makes you fat. The research is showing otherwise, but it’ll take a lot of time I think to be accepted by mainstream organizations. If you understand that fat can only make you fat if combined with high carbs, then you will understand how a lower carb diet can have significant long-term benefits for your weight loss.
This is a very simple explanation, but stay with me for another minute. The normal advice of the mainstream medical profession is to eat a high carb, low-fat diet, that has moderate amounts of lean protein. For many, who love to exercise an hour or more a day, this advice works very well. For others, this method fuels a cycle of carbohydrate highs and lows. This was me. By reducing my carbohydrate intake, and increasing my fat intake, I am able to keep hunger at bay, and I enjoy a level of satisfaction where I don’t get drastic highs and crashes. I also have been able to lose weight and keep it off. I also don’t have to exercise, although I do enjoy being active.
My explanation is very simplistic and missing a lot of details, but here are some great resources if you are interested in learning more:
Have a blessed day!