Obviously, if you want to lose weight, you need to "burn" (metabolize) fat and the common wisdom is that you need to eat less and exercise more. If you don't succeed, you're obviously lazy and not trying hard enough. However, this is supremely poor advice because it doesn't take into account your body's metabolism, which depends upon its metabolic state: fed or fasted. Your pancreas produces many hormones but the one that determines its metabolic state is INSULIN. The FED state is characterized by high insulin while the FASTED state is characterized by low insulin. One of insulin's jobs is to regulate blood sugar (ie, serum glucose) and the macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) in your meal has a huge effect on serum glucose. The Randle Cycle describes the process the body uses to determine whether it is the fed or fasted state.
Carbohydrates is the only macronutrient that contains sugar and this can take the form of monosaccrarides (ie, glucose, fructose, galactose) or disaccharides (ie, lactose, maltose, sucrose) or starches (long chains of glucose). Since your body tries to tightly control serum glucose, insulin is used to store excess in muscle and fat tissue. Protein isn't really a fuel (unless you're starving) and your body primarily uses protein to maintain its structure. Depending upon the type of injested fat, your body will either preferentially metabolize it or store in fat tissue and fat elicits a much lower insulin response for storage than glucose.
In order to maintain a low insulin level, the obvious thing to do is minimize carbohydrate consumption and those on a carnivore diet avoid carbs completely. This is contrary to government food guides but there are NO essential carbohydrates - only essential proteins and essential fats. "Essential" means that the human body cannot synthesize these nutrients itself and requires their consumption. If you don't eat carbs, you still need to maintain your body's caloric requirements so you need to get fuel from another source, which is fat. Although some tissues in your body absolutely require glucose (ie, red blood cells and some brain cells), your body has the ability to manufacture ALL of the glucose it needs on demand from adipose tissue (fat cells) via gluconeogenesis in the fasted state. Fat is also converted to ketone bodies (acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetone) in the liver via ketogenesis and the brain readily switches over to ketolysis when ketones are available.
WWhen fat is metabolized, ketones are produced and diets that maintain low insulin levels tend to result in ketone production from fat metabolism. A ketogenic.diet (low carb, hight fat) is essentially the opposite of the standard [American, Canadian, Australian, etc] diet (high carb, low fat) and is effectively the US Food Pyramid turned upside down. Amber O'Hearn makes a good case that humans have evolved to become lipovores (fat eaters) rather than carnivores (meat eaters). While it has been known a long time that insulin lowers the basal metabolic rate, Dr Ben Bikman's research has found that ketones increase the metabolic rate because they cause white adipose tissue to become uncoupled so that they generate heat like brown adipose tissue. High ketone levels also waste fat via respiration and urination while also improving metabolic health.
- The Lipovore: What is Fat for? Amber O'Hearn
- Dr. Benjamin Bikman - 'Insulin vs. Ketones - The Battle for Brown Fat'/a>
- DDr. Benjamin Bikman - 'Insulin vs. Glucagon: The relevance of dietary protein'
- Dr. Benjamin Bikman - 'Ketones: The Metabolic Advantage'
- Dr. Benjamin Bikman: Insulin vs Ketones. The battle for the mitochondrion
- Dr. Michael Eades - 'A New Hypothesis of Obesity'
- Dr. Paul Mason - 'Evidence based keto: How to lose weight and reverse diabetes'
Processed foods are typically made in factories by industrial processes and characteristically contain high amounts of carbohydrates and fats [usually in the form of industrial seed (vegetable) oils]. Besides the obvious high caloric content of processed foods, highly processed foods cause a much higher insulin response than those foods in their whole-food form due the distruption of their cellular structures. A food's fibre content is more of marker of its degree of processing than its nutrition so added fibre isn't beneficial. Vegetable oils also play a huge role in cardio-vascular disease, especially when they become oxidized from heating.
- Gabor Erdosi: Part 2 of 2 - Insulin, Incretins - and the Perils of Processed Food Carbs
- Dr. Michael Eades - 'Incretins, Insulin, and Food Quality'
While exercise is highly beneficial for multitude of reasons, it is nowhere as effective at weight loss compared to diet. Exercise doesn't burn-off nearly enough calories as you would want although you're probably not snacking while you're exercising. It's a lot more effective to avoid ingesting unnecessary calories than it is to metabolize them. For example, a 300 calorie donut will require about 60 minutes of walking (3.5 mph / 17 minutes/mile) or 30 minutes of running (5 mph / 12 minutes/mile) for a 155 lb person. See Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights.
A lean physique is a characteristic of metabolic health. Rather than focussing on losing weight, it is far better to become healthy and the weight will come off and stay off. To see how I've reversed my own Type 2 Diabetes, see Metabolic Health.
Dr Ben Bikman's alliteration to help easily remember macronutrient consumption from whole foods.
- Control Carbohydrates (< 50g/day from unprocessed, low glycemic index foods)
- Prioritize Protein (1-2g per kg of body weight per day)
- FFill with Fat (all remaining caloric needs from animal & fruit)
According to Dr Bikman, fat and protein should ideally be in a 1:1 ratio as is found in animal-sources food such as eggs and meat. Keep in mind that your own body fat counts in your fat consumption, which is why you need to have sufficient protein intake for tissue maintenance and we need more protein as we become older. The healthy fats that we should be eating are saturated. The degree of saturation depends upon the amount of hydrogen atoms that fatty acid chain contains and the difference between between beef tallow (containing stearic acid) and olive oil (containing oleic acid) is one carbon double-bond and 2 less hydrogen atoms, which makes olive oil a mono-unsaturated fat of the same 18-carbon chain length.
- Dr. Nadir Ali - 'Why LDL cholesterol goes up with low carb diet and is it bad for health?'
- Dr. Paul Mason - 'Saturated fat is not dangerous'
- David Diamond - An Update on Demonization and Deception in Research on Saturated Fat...
- Why chicken is killing you, and saturated fat is a health food, with Nina Teicholz
- Dr. Mike Eades - 'Paleopathology and the Origins of the Paleo Diet'
- Georgia Ede: Brainwashed — The Mainstreaming of Nutritional Mythology