The Secret to Fat Loss
There are thousands of processes in the body that need energy/fuel/calories (they’re all the same thing) at every second of every day – the beating of your heart, breathing, the inflation of your lungs, the movement of your legs as they cross and uncross, the movement of my fingers as I sit here typing. If carbohydrates are available, they are the first thing to be used, if they’re not available, fat will be.
Here is an EXTREMELY simplified description of how the body uses carbohydrates.
When you eat a carbohydrate without fiber (think the sugar in your coffee, processed foods, pastries, etc.) the sugar is quickly turned into glucose (this is the form of sugar that the body uses) and hits your bloodstream hard and fast because this type of sugar has only one or two molecules and is extremely easy for your body to break down.
Because the body will use sugar as energy if it’s available, what is needed for all those thousands of processes that keep you alive is used, and the rest is just hanging out in your bloodstream. Your pancreas secretes insulin to usher the glucose into storage in your muscles, and the leftover glucose that can’t fit into your muscles is ushered by insulin into your fat cells to be stored, usually in the belly as visceral fat (an unhealthy type of fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity near and around the liver, stomach, and intestines, it can also build up in the arteries and lead to chronic inflammation) and triglycerides.
This type of sugar causes the high and crash that we’ve all experienced, leaving your body craving more quick energy, it’s what causes that afternoon crash at 4pm that sends us out for a quick pick me up. If this is you, and you’ve been doing this over and over, day after day, causing your sugar to spike and crash, after the age of 45 your body may not metabolize carbohydrates as well as it once did causing an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain and chronic inflammation.
On the other hand, when you eat a carbohydrate with fiber (drippy carbs - whole vegetables, beans, etc.) the sugar is slowly turned into glucose and kind of drips into the bloodstream because fiber has long chains of molecules that need to be broken down and this takes time. As glucose is dripped into the bloodstream it is used for all of those thousands of bodily processes that keep us alive. If there’s anything left over, the pancreas secretes insulin that ushers the drips of glucose into the muscle but because this is a slow drip taking time, and since the body will use this glucose for fuel first, there’s not going to be much glucose left for storage, if any.
Vegetables low in sugar and high in fiber (drippy carbs) - leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, string beans, etc. These are the types of carbohydrates you want to consume the most of, they will nourish your gut flora, support your aging process and keep you from gaining weight.
Vegetables high in sugar in the form of starch – beans, grains, sweet potatoes, beets (the highest sugar content of all vegetables), carrots, turnips, etc. I understand that all of these foods sound healthy, and they can be, for some people.
If you have any issue caused by the consumption of sugar – insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, etc. – these high sugar foods should not be a part of your daily diet but consumed in very small amounts.
Flour is turned to glucose and used in the body just as sugar is. It has nothing to do with the type of plant the flour comes from, even the healthier versions of flour – cassava, whole wheat, oat flour, buckwheat flour - are turned into glucose.
When the grains are ground into flour, the surface area is multiplied, allowing the body to break it down quickly causing it to hit your bloodstream quickly causing that spike and crash, just as sugar does.
When you stop eating making sugar available to support those bodily processes that keep us alive, the body will use its stores for fuel - first the glycogen (the stored form of sugar) in your muscles, then what’s in your fat cells.
Bottom line to weight loss – stop giving your body sugar to fuel itself and allow it to start burning what’s in your fat cells.