Bitten by an eclectic eel…

Accoridng to an article on Lifehack.org, if you want to get rid of fat (as opposed to general weightloss and fitness), Mark McManus says cutting back on fat in your diet may not be the best approach.  A low fat diet usually means you make up some of the difference in carbs, and your body is wired to burn carbs first – fat is designed as an energy storage mechanism to tide you over in times of scarcity, eg midwinter when grains and veg were more scarce.  In our modern Western society of course, there is no such thing as scarcity, in which case we need to exercise self control, which is another thing that advertising has taught us to avoid.

Trick is, your body needs to make a metabolic switch to start burning fat, so going to a low fat diet but still getting adequate carbs means that won’t happen.  What’s being suggested in the article is that you cut out a lot of your carbs, and trick your body into thinking you are in a time of scarcity so it starts using fat to get  its energy.

This is the basis of the Atkins diet, that was trendy a few years ago because people thought it meant you just eat meat, which then got it some bad publicity.  It’s obviously more complicated than that, but seems scientifically sound – there’s more in McManus’ site about how it works, and some diet tips too. He’s a bit of a zealot about it, so don’t be afraid to get more information from other sources, although there seems to be good support for the idea.

Surprisingly, the low carb diet seems to have a positive effect on your cholesterol - partly in reducing your overall cholesterol, as the body is burning fat you eat instead of storing it and transporting it, but also in improving the levels of HDL over LDL (good vs bad cholesterol).

Of course, at the very core of any kind of weight loss is a very simple system : burn more energy than you eat.  The rest is just polish, and finding ways that it works best for you.

Exercise more, eat less.  That’s it!

July 4th, 2008 at 11:11 am