What they don’t tell you about burning fat…
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The hidden dangers of being a fat burner
For decades we’ve been told that we need to burn “fat” to lose weight, to feel better.
In fact, some push the idea to an extreme: we should rely on (stored and dietary) fats as our main source of energy.
This is of course the idea behind the now famous ketogenic or low-carb diets.
Of course, there is some truth to the idea.
Fat molecules, or “fatty acids” can be metabolized and turned into energy by the liver.
But that’s only part of the story.
The keto approach of relying on fat burning doesn’t address some very fundamental questions regarding the overall state of the organism.
A 2017 article by Kyle Mamounis goes over the physiological changes associated with fat burning.
To get to a point where you’re burning a significant amount of fat, you need to reach a state of hypoglycemia (e.g., low blood sugar).
This can obviously be accomplished by carb restriction:
“The biochemical processes that mobilize stored and dietary fat for use as energy substrates are initiated due to a depletion of blood glucose.” – Mamounis (2017)
Contrary to the popular “low-carb” ideas over the past decade, this is likely not a good thing.
In fact, a ketogenic or “low-carb” diet shares a similar endocrinological profile with states of stress and starvations:
“This, in addition to the similarity of the hormone profile between starvation/fasting and consuming a ketogenic, very low carb diet, suggests that glucose sparing and reliance on fat as a primary energy source is the emergency, not the homeostatic, program for humans.”
A state of very low carbs and fat burning will actively lead to liberation of stored polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), suppression of thyroid hormone, low production of carbon dioxide, and many other metabolic changes, including insulin resistance.
Thyroid hormone (T3) is largely made, not in the thyroid gland itself, but within the liver, which converts about 60% of the precursor hormone (T4) into T3.
It is the fundamental hormone responsible for an optimal state of metabolism (cellular energy production), hormone synthesis, as well as sustaining warmth throughout the body.
However, this process is dependent on the availability of liver glycogen (glucose), which is obviously in short supply in “low-carb” diets.
This is why the ketogenic approaches eventually lead to a severely impaired metabolism with characteristic low pulse, temperature etc.
Another major consequence of keto dieting (which follows from the low T3) is the ensuing deficiency of carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), contrary to common opinion, is actually incredibly beneficial to the homeostasis of the human body, being responsible for a myriad of crucial functions, including but not limited to capillary dilation and oxygenation of tissues (e.g. neurons).
It can be concluded that within physiological levels, higher CO2 has benefits, and a higher ratio of carbohydrate to fat being oxidized for fuel yields greater CO2.
There are several more physiological considerations, including the lipid peroxidation of PUFA, insulin resistance, etc.
The takeaway here is that any serious discussion of macronutrients, carbs, fats, protein, and diets in general needs to be grounded in the actual physiological consequences of their implementation.
But take a hint, don’t be a fat burner!
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How to burn sugar for energy instead of fat
Believe it or not, it’s easy to kick start the body into burning sugar again and not just fat.
In fact, I’ve found it’s as easy as using this “sippy cup activity” I’ve perfected.
And then the body is burning sugar for energy instead of letting it build up in the bloodstream…
And it makes you feel warmer, younger, and more alive — plus you may even start feeling aroused out of nowhere!
This is the power of being a sugar-burning man. It can even add decades to your life.
Mamounis (2017). The Dangers of Fat Metabolism and PUFA: Why You Don’t Want to be a Fat Burner.Journal of Evolution and Health: A joint publication of the Ancestral Health Society and the Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Health, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.15310/2334-3591.1048
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