Make the Switch to Fat Burning

Yesterday, I wrote about insulin resistance and rat chow. Yes, scientists have devised a formula for rat chow that will make rats obese in a short amount of time. This rat chow is VERY high in carbohydrates, high in cheap vegetable oils like soy, canola, and corn, and very low in protein. Are you currently eating the human equivalent of this terrifying rat chow? Many Americans are.

When we eat a high-carbohydrate meal or snack, like a stack of pancakes slathered in syrup, our blood sugar instantly sky-rockets. Because high blood sugar is extremely dangerous--and can even kill us!!!--insulin is secreted to help remove all that sugar from the blood stream. Insulin initiates the FAT STORAGE mode in all of our fat cells. Insulin pushes the fat and sugar into the fat cells and locks it in there, so it cannot float around throughout the body wreaking havoc.

Whenever SUGAR is present in the blood stream, our bodies MUST switch into FAT STORAGE mode. When our cells are in fat storage mode, no fat can be burned. This is because our fat cells are programmed to do one thing or the other. They CANNOT do both (store fat and release fat) simultaneously.

This is an extremely important concept to understand if you are carrying excess fat and wish to burn it. Every time you consume carbohydrates, you switch OFF your fat-burning capacity.

How do you switch ON your fat burning mode?

There are two ways:

1) Fasting. This usually requires a minimum of 12 hours in order to remove all the glucose from the system. Once glucose is no longer present, the body automatically switches over to burning fat. But as soon as you eat a meal containing carbs, you will go right back to burning sugar (glucose) and storing fat. For this reason, if you are looking to lose weight, skipping a meal (either breakfast or dinner plus those late night snacks) can give you several hours of fat-burning daily. I usually skip breakfast and only eat during a feeding window of about 8-9 hours. This gives me a daily fast of about 15-16 hours.

Add to that a workout while you are in a fasted state, and you will burn even more fat! I've found I have no trouble working out, even intense bootcamp workouts, while fasting. But this is NOT recommended for pregnant or nursing women, kids or teenagers, or anyone who is sick or in a weakened state. If you decide to try fasting, take it slowly. You might start by moving breakfast forward by just one hour. Be smart and make choices that make sense for you.

2) Eating meals which are higher in protein and fat while reducing carbs. The more refined the carbohydrates, the faster they break down into glucose. This creates that rapid insulin response which shuts OFF fat burning. Carbs like white rice, bread, pasta, baked goods--basically anything made from grains, flour, and sugar--will cause the insulin response and halt fat-burning. As I have mentioned, glucose hangs around in the system for about 12 hours after a meal is consumed. This is a LONG time! However, choosing to consume veggies instead of grains and sugars will result in a much lower carb load. In addition, you will receive higher levels of crucial nutrients: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and all the good stuff our bodies need to thrive.

Are you burning fat right now? Or storing fat? Are you ready to make the switch?