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Live streaming plus Question and Answer seminars

Simply Pure Nutrients

My goal is for the seminars to be free when people use links on this site.  Unfortunately that will probably never happen with Amazon.com but buying stuff you would have already bought using this link supports our site and keeps the content rolling.

We now offer a paid option as well

For some people they want may want to join the science lab but have no need for any of the products we sell.  For those people we have a $4.95 monthly recurring option.  The details and “Science Lab” sign in can be found on this page.

I am still sorting out the schedule (and will release it publicly) but I am going to try and use various times of the day to meet everyone’s needs.  I will be using the new Google Live Hangouts software and will be sending out invites and times for people to stop by.

For the quickest access to the Science Lab using the free option it is best to sign up using this link and then follow the steps below.

To get the free offers simply send the order numbers from Simply Pure Nutrients, Rogue (for orders $50 and up) and Carb Back Loading.

The email is maggie@eattoperform.com.  This email is for business inquiries, if you email me asking for advice using this method I’m probably going to let you down because someone actually checks this email for me.  I rarely see it.  It serves an administration function.

Why Do I Have to Buy Carb Back Loading to participate?

You don’t, you can now also buy any of the products from Simply Pure Nutrients using the same process where you simply email me your order number.  You will also get the seminars free with a purchase from Rogue using the links on this site (that’s important because when you email me I match it up with the information I get from Rogue, this is for orders over $50).

You might want to consider it though.

The method I teach people is covered in CBL, that is why it is the only book I sell.  I have not really seen a better book as it relates to “Metabolic Flexibility” and it is a great starting point for the discussion.

Made in America

But I despise Carbs with a passion, yuck yuck yuck, what should I do?

Reconsider your position.  No macronutrient is the enemy and if you want a well functioning metabolism you should have a strategy as it relates to carbohydrate intake.  Ultimately though Carb Back Loading (ironically) is really a book about fat.  Both mobilizing it and eating it correctly and then using carbohydrates to mobilize it.

What if you can’t help me?

I’ll refund your money no questions asked.  What I won’t be doing however is become your doctor (even though I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night).  I like to refer to myself as a “fatologist” I know a whole bunch about one thing that seems very important to a lot of people.  Most body fat struggles are just a manifestation of something that is off along the way.  In this series we will explore that and I suspect it will be very enlightening for everyone.

Ok, I am convinced but I haven’t bought the book, am I still eligible?

Yes, use this link to purchase Carb Back Loading, shoot me your order number and I will email you the schedule for the upcoming week.

carb back loading button

What if none of those times work for me?

I will be doing them to accomodate everyone’s needs, if you don’t see a time that works simply email me and I will make arrangements so that everyone that purchases the book gets this special promotion.

Also one HUGE benefit that will only be available to members will be the time stamping of the seminars.  While we will publish most, if not all, seminars only subscribed members will get time stamped info that makes watching the videos a much easier process.

Do you really have a mohawk and aren’t you a 44 year old man and father to 2 daughters? What the hell is it that you do that allows you to walk around with said mohawk and what does your wife think about that thing?

Firstly you know way too much about me.  Secondly, “what it is I do” will be covered in the series and you will find out exactly why this page went from 0 to whatever many likes it has now in only a few days.  I know what I am talking about.  Period.  I will say this though, I am not Kiefer, what we will talk about will just use Carb Back Loading as a back drop and then I will apply my knowledge base on top of that.  It’s easy to do back loading wrong, I can help put together the pieces a bit.

Carb Back Loading for Crossfit and Paleo

Sweet PotatoesCarb back loading is probably the best version of what I refer to as a metabolically favorable way of eating.  The focus of this style of eating is not to create a deficit at all, it is to get your metabolism humming along like a Ferrari so when you enter your Crossfit gym you are ready to perform.  The points where I disagree with Kiefer are not significant but I think it should be brought up.  The fact of the matter is simple, if you are looking for the absolute best book to understand what goes on in your body and WHY this book does that better than any I have seen.  If I find a better one, I will put that one in the sidebar but, for now, this is the holy grail for a high functioning metabolism that allows you to burn fat.  The book is expensive, is it worth the money? I think it is.  Much of what I talk about on my blog and the associated Facebook page covers topics in the book.  The book however does a good job as a “one stop place” for an approach to eating with the scientific references to back it up.

Carb Back Loading is $53 dollars, when you consider all of the $109 nanos, $139 OLY shoes and the list goes on none of those will help your understanding of how your nutrition self and athletic self work together quite the way CBL will.

To Download your version of Carb Back Loading click here

This blog exists to help people understand their health and performance.  It is a business and as such I sell things.  I only sell things I use and I only promote products I believe in.  If you like this blog and you like my content and are considering buying this book I would ask you to use this link.

Can you do this Paleo?

Absolutely you can and it probably best describes how I eat.  I rely mostly on sweet potatoes for my carbs and occasionally white rice (many Paleo authors are starting to include white rice in their “safe to eat” foods for athletes).  My coconut milk smoothies are a perfect addition to the fat back load which is used in conjunction with carbs to get a better response before bed.

Cherry pineapple and Banana Chocolate Hazelnut smoothies

Some minor points of differences

Kiefer suggests A LOT of supplements in the book.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I disagree with his recommendations as much as I would say they aren’t necessary for all populations.  If you are eating a diet of mostly whole foods with adequate protein you have it mostly right.

Is this THE way of eating?

I think if you asked him John would describe this style of eating as the best strategy he has come up with for extreme athletic performance.  BUT IT IS JUST A STRATEGY.  It is not THE way, you could certainly take the concepts in the book and put the pieces together for an optimal way of eating designed for you.  As someone who coaches people on their diets there a lot of one off’s that you need to account for.

Even though people spend 100′s of dollars on personal trainers and Crossfit memberships they are often reluctant to spend the money for a book like this.  That is a mistake.  Even if you never carb back load you will learn infinite strategies related to how to eat to perform (catchy right).

Carb Nite Solution

The other book offered is called Carb Nite Solution, that will appeal to many people who will see it as the holy grail of fat loss.  You won’t however see see a link or it in the sidebar of this site because Ketogenic Diets (even good ones like CNS) are a metabolic train wreck for Crossfitters, especially women who have a history of extreme dieting.

He doesn’t seem to like us Crossfitters

The original versions of Carb Back Loading  was for PowerLifters and Physique Competitors (you see them as the testimonials).  His criticisms of our approach to fitness is legit for optimizing squatting 1,000 pounds or even getting shredded down to 5%.  So if those are goals of yours then you should understand that Crossfit isn’t a good method for reaching those goals.  Crossfitters are attempting different goals.  Let me put it to you this way, if you want to become the best version of yourself this book will show you a great approach to get there.  I also believe that if you play with it a bit, Kiefer describes his approach as Legos, it might take a bit to figure it out completely.  Certainly if you have any questions on how you can adapt this approach to eating to Crossfit leave a message in the comments and I will attempt to help you.

What about all of the donuts and turnovers?

You’ll just have to get over that part.  Think about it, people want an approach to eating that allows them to perform athletically WHILE ALSO allowing them to make some poor choices.  Is the turnover and donut approach vastly superior to a more Paleo approach? I have tried it, it didn’t feel right.  FOR ME.  I am a 44 year old man but I wouldn’t recommend the turnovers and donut approach to most populations.  Do I realize that it might describe an approach to the way some people want to eat? I certainly do.  If you are doing the 80% version of Paleo or even the version that Dr. Cordain recommends in the Paleo Diet for Athletes this can be easily accomplished with carb back loading and just/almost as effective for optimizing Crossfit as the donut approach might be.  Any differences would be minimal and unless you are an elite athlete those differences likely won’t matter for you and your progress related to Crossfit.

Tackling the Sugar Addiction question

First let me start off by saying I don’t make light of addiction.  I have been free of chemicals for 26 years, it destroyed my life as a teenager and I had to leave my family to get treatment for that illness.  So while things kind of worked out for me in the end I still deal with repercussions of that illness to this day.  Let me give you the timeline for this addiction.

- At 18 I was admitted to a treatment facility for 3 months where I underwent extreme psychotherapy

- I then was admitted to a halfway house in Minnesota (where I currently live), I stayed in that facility for 6 months as did most of the residents there.

- I am originally from New Orleans, La. one of the coolest places on the planet.  Most of my family still resides there or near there.

- After leaving the facility in Minnesota I decided to acclimate for a bit before heading back home.  New Orleans held a lot of temptation then and now so I really wanted to make sure I had it right.

- 26 years later I am still here, I met my wife about 6 months after leaving the halfway house.  I often get asked “what makes a person come from a warm weather place that seems as cool as hell to a miserable wasteland (their words not mine, it’s really not so bad and Prince is from here)” my simple retort is often “had to be a woman, right?”

- My children have a great life and our family is well supported by people that care for us but it’s incomplete.  It’s a little tough looking your father in the eye as he tears up because he is being robbed of seeing his “grand babies” grow up.  That is one small casualty of addiction.

So yeah, I take addiction real serious.  As a drug treatment counselor I heard many stories of people who stole their grandmothers microwave to buy crack or compromised their humanity to get a fix.  So while sugar is a powerful chemical can we at least set the bar as a SEVERE consequence that possibly compromises who you are as a result.  Before anyone suggests obesity, let’s not confuse not knowing WHY with uncontrollable behavior.  So let’s start there.

The insulin hypothesis

The insulin hypothesis goes like this, if you can keep insulin suppressed it solves body fat storage because insulin is said to be a “storage hormone”.  Let’s be clear about this, body fat can store without the presence of insulin through multiple channels.  Insulin is more accurately described as a building hormone.  Eat correctly and it builds muscle, eat incorrectly and it BUILDS/stores fat.

It has been proposed that if you can control insulin you can control your health, that is the basis for all low carbohydrate diets.  As many of you know that frequent this page/blog I recommend eating carbohydrates with strategies related to the time you workout or even eating in a smaller window in the evening.  No matter which macronutrient we are talking about I believe you should have a strategy as it relates to that macronutrient.  I also believe that you should have some general idea of your overall intake needs daily and adjust those needs related to your activity level.  Let me give you an example of what that might look like, for protein I try to get around 160g a day, each gram of protein equals 4 calories, so I need 640 calories from protein a day (you don’t really need to count calories daily to have a good idea of your protein intake but it might be helpful for a week or so just to check, knowledge is powerful).  Through massive trial and error I have found a good balance of about 200g of carbohydrate, up to 300g if my activity is higher, once again, I do this intuitively but as most of you know I am pretty good at this whole nutrition thing.  Carbs also equal 4 calories per gram so I need 800 to 1200 calories of carbohydrate to support my daily activity.  While yes I realize carbohydrates are a non-essential macronutrient they are very favorable as it relates to metabolism.  I know this because I basically cured my hypothyroidism related to chronic dieting once I went down this road of discovery related to my intake needs.  Which brings me to fats, through various ways including dexascan and bodpod testing as well as trial and error I know that I need about 3000 calories a day to support my activity levels.  Once again I don’t actually count this stuff but I am also not naive as it relates to the caloric values of the foods that I eat and also know what those foods represent in my body.  Which is another article for another day and not germain to the discussion of sugar addiction.  So fat calories basically equal the rest, if I get 640 calories from protein roughly and 800 calories from carbohydrates that leaves me with 1560 calories coming from fat, fat calories (as most of you know) equal 9 calories per gram, so my fat intake represents more than half of my calories, which is right about 170g a day of fat alone.

For the ladies in the crowd I will use my wife as an example without all of the dirty details. Protein 120g, carbohydrates 150g, total calories for her (she is a crossfitter so quite active) are 2400 a day (she doesn’t count either but eats in an intuitive manner similar to the way that I do).  So her fat calories represent also over 50% of her calories at 1320 or roughly 146g from fat.  From what I have seen my wife is pretty average but I would like to put out there that everyone’s life journey should be a bit more self discovery.  In a lot of ways that is why I made this blog and my accompanying Facebook page, it is my life’s mission to help people navigate these personal struggles.

If you think you don’t need to eat that much to support your activity level you are almost certainly wrong.  Even if you are right it is only minor degrees.  I am not saying this as someone using two people as an example, I have many case studies that prove this.

So let’s start there as it relates to your sugar intervention.  Until you actually KNOW these types of numbers and have worked towards this level of self discovery and you haven’t had to miss carpool to prostitute yourself for a twix bar (you are going to have to imagine this in Jeff Foxworthy voice switching our redneck for sugar addict) “you might not be a sugar addict”.  Just so people know I am not stereotyping I pick up carpool for my children and I can say to you “god willing” I haven’t had to miss carpool for a twix.

So why so much fat?

I like fat as a primary fuel because it’s very stable, I have heard it said that over reliance on glucose (carbs) for energy is like burning a fire with kindling and fat is like putting a log on the fire.  At rest, for most people, fats are a great source of daily energy levels.  Fats also keep insulin blunted and while it seems odd fats can be a good STRATEGY as it relates to your body fat levels.  I highlight the word strategy because my way and my wife’s way might not represent the best way for you.  That will be part of your self discovery but stick with me and I will give you some clues on how to get there.  Don’t be fooled though, the insulin hypothesis goes like this,  keep carbs out of your diet and you will be in fat burning mode all of the time.  Not only is this wrong it’s borderline irresponsible and has left many people broken with eating disorder type behaviors as a result.

The effects of Carbohydrate on a Ketogenic approach to eating

In an attempt to figure out if they are in ketosis many people pee on their hands each morning to check their ketone levels.  I don’t mean to make light of people working towards a better style of eating but there is a crucial aspect they are missing.  Carbs are said to be a non-essential macronutrient because your body can exist without them, the body requires glucose (a fuel source readily available through actual food) so much that it actually can turn fats and mainly protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis (I misspell this word non-stop).  It’s an inefficient process and can often leave the user with headaches as a result.  The brain functions mostly on glucose but I don’t want to get ahead of myself, it can however function on Ketones which is the by-product of fat metabolism.  So while yes if you can suffer through the bad workouts and the headaches it is indeed possible to use fats as a primary fuel source but the net result as it relates to body fat mobilization becomes dependent on the amount of fats you eat as a result.  The process is relatively inefficient for athletic populations and virtually impossible as a strategy for Crossfitters that want to excel.

It has been well known for a long time that when you eat in a ketogenic way and then cycle your carbs that stimulates metabolism whether it by intraday, bi-daily, weekly or whatever floats your boat.  When you eat low carbohydrate and then you have a carbohydrate re-feed (you eat a good amount of carbs) you not only mobilize fat but the net result tends to be more favorable than the “eat less do less” model of eating.  This is because a low carbohydrate way of eating suppresses the hormone leptin which is the primary mover as it relates to body fat mobilization.  Suppressed leptin levels can lead to hypothyroid like symptoms and is often the result of extreme dieting.

So low carbohydrate dates get to a point of diminishing returns as it relates to body composition.  I will say there are always outliers where it can work but those are not the majority of folks that go down the low carb path.

I am going to stop here because this is going long

I am not going to make any promises related to WHEN I will write the second part of this article but you already should have some thoughts flowing through your head related to “sugar addiction”.  The next article is going to focus more on strategies related to eating that will allow to better understand your bodies signals.  Let me end on this note though, most people who think they are sugar addicted are underfed, plane and simple.  Since low carb dieting is not favorable as it relates to metabolism down the line people often need to reduce their fat intake to try and chase their body composition goals which is like driving towards a point that is continuouslyy moving.  Those that aren’t underfed are simply relying more on glucose (carbs or sugars) as their primary fuels and this can be handled easily by adjusting their diet patterns.  Here is the deal, you miss the sugar because the brain really really likes sugar, if you gave the brain sugar all of the time it would just ask you for more because, well, brains are gonna brain.  That’s what they want.  If you provide your brain adequate nutrition with strategies related to how the rest of your body manages your fat the equation for optimal health starts to appear.

I am thinking the next article should probably be called “The case for responsible energy management” but let’s be honest, no ones gonna click that.  So I’ll probably call it something like “The Sugar Addiction Cure debunked”.  I’m tricky like that.  Oh yeah, Doctor Oz can suck it.  I can’t believe people still think his information is even remotely responsible.

Diets have it backwards

Met Flex for Fat Loss is simple, eat the majority of carbohydrates around your workouts.  This would work for people trying to gain or trying to lose.  When you buy the book you get Webinars where you can talk to coaches that will help you as you try to make sense of all of this.  Along with that you get the support of over 1,000 people in the Private Forums that are all on a similar journey.

Weighing-Scales

Whatever diet you are on is based on some sort of caloric restriction, some will even attempt to guess at what your daily caloric burn would be but I do not think that I have ever heard of one system that suggests what I am about to suggest.  Firstly let’s assume you have attempted to address inflammation in your body, even if you are not restricting calories at all you can significantly address your weight by addressing the level of fluids your body is holding.  Truthfully this is a lifelong process and unless you are extremely lean you are simply starting late, it does not mean you should not start at all.  You can significantly affect your health right now, so why not start?

Which brings me to my big suggestion

Why would you want to know how little you can eat? Would it not stand to reason that if you compromise your energy intake you would also compromise your energy output? So let’s assume you have started to make some changes, you are eating healthy fats, more vegetables and some fruits.  What I am going to suggest is that you should eat as much of them as possible and this is the one instance where the scale will help you.  Here is what I want you to do.  To start this process weigh yourself in the morning and whatever that weight is we are going to try and pack in as many healthy nutrients into your body daily with the end goal being to simply weigh that same amount.  This differs for men and women, for men I suggest a week, for women I suggest a month.  The reason for the difference is simple, women retain water differently than men unrelated to food intake.  Also if you view this as a way to gorge on pizza and ice cream you are missing the point of the exercise.  By the way, speaking of exercise do as much of it as you feel, there is no restriction at all, in fact, intaking more energy (food) should fuel your want to be more active.  Also, if you lose five pounds you did it wrong.  If you gain five pounds you really did it wrong.

Yes this does mean you will have to track your foods for this time using a site like Fitday.com, Myfitnesspal.com or Fatsecret.com.  All work in a similar manner and have mobile options.  Also people think they eat more of a variety than they tend to eat, what you will find is that you eat the same foods over and over so the logging should not be that big of a hassle.  Besides, other than re-establishing your maintenance calories for a higher activity level you will not have to count calories going forward.

Simply check in with the scale occasionally to see if you are on track.  The mirror also can be helpful in this respect.  Most of us know the days where we get off track a bit and consume more than a few of the items we should avoid.  Let me give you a few examples I have learned doing this (my most recent one was 2895 a day, I was really mad at myself that I did not maintain 3,000 calories a day, oh well, there is always next time).

I suppose I should mention why this is important because it is not to just eat unrestricted, the exercise is to point out that the calories you can take in daily are often a lot higher than you think, especially when you rely less on energy dense foods for nutrition (think snack foods).  Also once you determine what your “maintenance calories” are in an unrestricted state it gives you a much clearer path to weight loss because you realize that losing pounds is as simple as just not eating sunflower seeds for a month (300 calories a day multiplied 30 is almost 3 pounds).

backward

Here are some tips to think about

1.  Every carbohydrate that you take in requires your body to store fluid, it is one of the reasons ice cream makes you so damn thirsty.  What this does not mean is to avoid carbs altogether but if you have an excessively high carb day and the scale moves a couple of pounds simply be more conscious of carbs the following day and prioritize fats (in balance) and proteins.  Obviously any day higher in sugars can move the scale causing anyone to panic, that is unnecessary, a reasonable amount of carbs the following day will allow your body to release that fluid.  Remember that the majority of your carbs are coming from vegetables and fruit.

2.  Let’s assume you do not eat wild caught salmon every single day, if this is the case you need to be conscious of your fats as well.  So all meat proteins high in Omega 3′s are gold as well as grass fed beef, if these are not options go lean.  Also be careful on nut butters, they tend to be high in Omega 6′s and also very energy dense.  You should always try to get your Omega 3′s from real food but most people can not, this is why I strongly recommend daily Omega 3′s from fish oil.

3.  Take in the majority of your carbs in the evening.  I realize this is contrary to everything everyone has been told for a long time but this trick works for a bunch of reasons.  When you save your carbs for the end of the day you naturally eat more fats starting the day, this provides your body with a more stable energy source.  Carbs also make you sleepy so you tend to be less fatigued.  Did I mention that carbs make you sleepy? Oh yeah, because when you go to bed you will sleep great and you will be full.  This is important in many ways but when you sleep better it is favorable is it relates to fat mobilization so you retain less water.

4.  Rely less on energy dense foods like snacks for your nutrition mostly because they are easy to overeat.  My strategy is just to keep them out of the house altogether.  That way when it’s time to eat I make a meal rather than graze on foods higher in calories.  While yes I do eat them I at least have to be inconvenienced to go get them and often times I just eat the good food that is in my house.  If you are not relying on snack foods for energy you may be surprised at the amount of foods you will be able to consume.

 

Preparation, Performance and Precision

The three p’s.  I often argue for preparation over precision but knowing your actual maintenance calories without restricting your activity is very enlightening.  Performance is different for everyone, for some people it might just be enough to walk more, others might feel motivated to start lifting weights or jogging.  No matter what they all may have a role in your journey but I suspect if you are like me and you can focus on them in the order I am presenting you will enjoy your journey a lot more.  Counting every calorie for life is not something most people want to do so as an alternative making sure there are fresh cut vegetables in the house and time allotted for activity probably makes more sense for most people.  If you want to count calories do it the opposite way, now that you have calculated the values of the foods that you eat for a week or month simply find some of the foods that you can either reduce or be rid of for a short time, earlier I mentioned sunflower seeds, when I am looking to lose a few pounds the seeds have to go.

 

 

Some conjecture and Science on why Fats are important

grass_fed_steaks

It might seem somewhat ironic but “Carb Back Loading” is a book about eating fats most of the time and using carbs to most effectively use those fats.  You can support this site and get a free science lab membership by purchasing items using the links on this site (much of which you probably already buy or want to buy).  Check this link out for directions on how that happens (or you can now purchase a Science Lab membership for $4.95 monthly).

Fat cells are part of the endocrine system, and, as I’ve discussed before, they have the power to influence the degree to which muscle cells prefer glucose versus fats as an energy source. They exercise this control by releasing two signaling peptides: leptin and adiponectin. Adiponectin promotes glucose consumption by the muscles, and it also acts directly on the fat cells to encourage them to take up glucose and convert it to fat. Leptin, on the other hand, stimulates the muscles to prefer fat consumption over glucose consumption.

For several decades now, Americans have come to believe that the following two practices are foundational in a healthy lifestyle:  eat a low-fat diet, and  stay away from the sun. Additionally, if people consume adequate amounts of calcium, then all three nutritional deficiencies that have led to obesity will be overcome: vitamin D, calcium, and dietary fat.

Lack of Dietary fats is a precursor to metabolic syndrome

The lack of adequate dietary fat contributes to the metabolic syndrome in at least four ways:  vitamin D is only available in fatty food sources because it is a fat-soluble vitamin, calcium uptake is more efficient when the calcium is consumed with dietary fats, calcium uptake depends critically on the presence of vitamin D, which is deficient due to (1) above, and the burden of fat cells to manufacture fatty acids from sugar is alleviated by the dietary availability of fats from ingested food sources.

I would also argue that one should make sure to ingest adequate amounts of dietary fat, especially dairy fat . Whole milk (assuming you are not intolerant) is particularly outstanding because it contains substantial amounts of calcium and vitamin D, and it contains the necessary fat to assure that these two elements will be well utilized rather than just passing through the digestive system unabsorbed. Animal fats such as bacon are good sources of vitamin D, while also supplying fatty acids to help with energy needs. Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are particularly good because they contain both omega-3 fats and vitamin D. One should assiduously avoid the trans fats found in processed foods such as cookies, crackers, and margarine. Butter and eggs are also healthy choices. Egg yolk is particularly good because it contains both fats and vitamin D. Nuts, particularly walnuts, almonds, and macademia nuts, are excellent sources of omega 3 fats.

The fat cells are able to influence the muscles to preferentially take up fats rather than glucose by releasing certain hormones into the blood, hormones that also have a powerful influence over appetite. One of these hormones is leptin. While leptin influences the muscle cells indirectly through its signaling in the hypothalamus, it also stimulates the muscle cells directly, and influences them to oxidize fatty acids in their mitochondria. Leptin also encourages the fat cells to release their fats through lipolysis. All of these actions work in concert to redirect fuel usage away from glucose. The programming of the muscles to preferentially consume fats aligns well with the fat cells’ infusion of fats into the blood and absorption of sugars through their fat-producing factories.

Leptin influences appetite

Leptin also has the effect, via the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, of suppressing appetite. Adiponectin is another hormone released by fat cells, and it is generally agreed that adiponectin induces hunger. Leptin and adiponectin levels would ordinarily fluctuate throughout the day, with leptin levels rising at night to encourage a switch from glucose-based to fat-based energy management. However, in the obese person, the leptin levels are typically high all the time, and the adiponectin levels are kept very low. High levels of leptin in the blood signal to the appetite center in the brain a sense of being full, whereas high levels of adiponectin are hunger-inducing. This means that the obese are being informed both that they are full, and that they are not hungry. You would think that this would protect them from overeating. However, it is likely that the observed insensitivity to leptin as an appetite suppressant in the obese is also related to calcium depletion, because the signaling mechanisms that respond to leptin in both the hypothalamus (Details) and the pituitary gland (Details) depend on changes in internal calcium concentrations.

Confusing signals cause deficiencies related to blood sugar 

The result of these three deficiencies is defective glucose uptake in both muscle and fat cells. The obese person becomes trapped in an endless metabolic cycle of trying to supply the energy needed for a steadily increasing demand. The fat cells are at the center of the storm, because they are burdened with the arduous assignment of converting the excess consumed sugars and carbohydrates into fat. The fat cells must do this because the muscle cells are impaired with a malfunctioning ability to metabolise sugars. Even if the metabolic problem were not fixed, if the obese person simply ate more fat, and therefore consumed fewer carbs, the fat cells’ burden would be greatly alleviated. In addition, getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium, either through diet or sun exposure, would alleviate the core problem of impaired glucose transport across the cell wall. Now that the heart and muscles can utilize sugars directly, the excessive burden on the fat cells to expand and proliferate is relieved, and the body fat will inevitably melt away.

The metabolic syndrome is a term used to encapsulate a complex set of markers associated with increased risk to heart disease. The profile includes insulin resistance and dysfunctional glucose metabolism in muscle cells, excess triglycerides in the blood serum, high levels of LDL, particularly small dense LDL, the worst kind  low levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and reduced cholesterol content within the individual HDL particles, elevated blood pressure, and obesity, particularly excess abdominal fat. I have argued previously that this syndrome is brought on by a diet that is high in empty carbohydrates (particularly fructose) and low in fats and cholesterol, along with a poor vitamin D status [Seneff2010]. While I still believe that all of these factors are contributory, I would now add another factor as well: insufficient dietary sulfate.

Why being “fat adapted” makes your body run better

Glucogenesis is the process where the body breaks down proteins and possibly fats for energy, what this means is that in the absence of glucose the body can make glucose which is important for brain function.  This is also important for all those people that think they need carbohydrates every fewer hours to maintain their energy.  When a good majority of your energy comes from fats you are said to be “fat adapted” and less prone to voracious hunger related to blood sugar changes.  There is nothing wrong with glucogenesis, nor is there anything wrong with carbohydrate restriction. A glucose fueled body and a fatty acid fueled body are both healthy body’s (the latter arguably more health promoting and anti inflammatory). Insulin in and of itself has little to do with body weight and weight gain. The liver, pancreas and brain take care of this. One could potentially eat a ‘perfect’ diet totally devoid of carbohydrates, and still gain weight. if whatever you are eating is spiking your blood sugar and your pancreas is not releasing efficient amounts of insulin to clear the spike, then in turn you will store fat. This goes the same for EVERYTHING YOU EAT. Insulin is required to live, without it you would die. I think people are missing the point when the carbohydrate junk is thrown around, as well as the fear of blood sugar rises.  To suggest that one macronutrient is “bad” or “good” misses the whole point, conditioning your body to be able to exist on either is not only healthy, it’s optimal.

Lets say, for example, you do a 20 minute heavy lifting session in a fasted state (like first thing in the morning). Your body is PRIMED to produce a spike in blood sugar regardless of what you eat. NOT TO STORE FAT, but to reinstate hormesis in your muscles and deliver nutrients. This is the job of amino acids, but to deliver it you need insulin.

Dealing with Inflammation

In the body, to ‘inflame’ is to swell or agitate. Everything from a sun burn, knocking your big toe against the bed, to arriving at work to a boss chewing your head off results in inflammation. Taking your body out of its equilibrium and homeostatic environment will inflict inflammation.  The body uses inflammation as a way to correct and heal imbalances.  When you get a cut on the outside of your skin, that part of your body becomes inflamed in an attempt to deal with that injury.  This acute inflammation is necessary for your body to heal itself.  If there were no resulting inflammation from a burn wound, there would never be a scar to heal.

The same process happens on the inside of your body due in large part to your dietary habits.  Everybody is different in regards to what causes chronic low grade inflammation and what doesn’t. One who is lactose intolerant will deal with inflammation of the gut from dairy products while a celiac will be fine with cheese but grain products will rip apart their intestines. Just because a food is ‘real and whole’ does not automatically assume the body should be able to deal with its consumption on an everyday basis.

Different macronutrients have different inflammatory properties as well. Carbohydrates assist the healing process inside your body in instances of workout recovery by refilling spent glycogen. Sweet potatoes, bananas or white rice after workouts are a way of reconciling the imbalance (lifting heavy results in inflammation, good carbohydrate sources and timing increase absorption of glycogen and keep inflammation low which keeps healing high).  Eating protein is another way.  Both of which inflame your system in an attempt to heal it.  This periodic inflammation allows a maximum amount of healing. Muscles would not grow post work out if they did not get inflamed. The anti-inflammatory stage (recovery) is when muscle grow and become more dense.

The level of intensity, length, and episodic routine regarding weight lifting will determine your inflammation. The body’s breaking down and healing process is happening over and over all the time.  For those not working out, regularly eating foods causing inflammation does not allow your body to fully heal itself. Working out involves the process of breaking down tissue, some fat, some muscle.   Short, intense, heavy lifting requires more ‘healing’ and recovery time than a ‘runner’ who jogs for an hour every day. Their diets to de-flame their systems will differ as well. Often, you see heavy lifters perform best with only enough glucose post exercise to distress their hormonal system. Runners who spend hours on the elliptical and performing bodyweight workouts will function better with more carbohydrates in their diet simply because letting the body know it will be distressed (from fruit etc.) will allow it to optimize inflammation and its turnover.

In our inactive, desk job, long route to destination lifestyle, it becomes easy to see why the large carbohydrate intake of the standard diet is resulting in chronic low-grade inflammation. This exact inflammation, which is prolonged and never dealt with, plays a key role in the development of several chronic diseases. These include but are not limited to: as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s, and many others (http://www.achooallergy.com/chronic-inflammation-disease.asp).

Ridding your body of inflammation is quite simple

The three focal points of inflammation are what leave the body under prolonged pressure: mental stress; lack of sleep; and excessive exercise. Tackling these three aspects is tackling inflammation. Eating in a way to eliminate inflammation will allow for a better mind set, sounder sleep and short sweet to the point workouts.

Chronic inflammation is not acute inflammation. Chronic inflammation is best tackled with anti-inflammatory substances like oregano, turmeric, and a sound diet. When low grade chronic inflammation is present, learning to eat in a way to eliminate it is key. Attempting to lift heavy, run or endure any inflammatory activity on top of low grade inflammation is like getting a burn on a broken arm.  Said differently, starting a workout routine to deal with chronic inflammation should be part of the solution but the majority of that solution should come from your diet.

Understanding inflammatory responses will allow you to customize your own diet to benefit your lifestyle. If you just love you some cheesecake but are lactose intolerant, understand and realizing the cause and effect to eating a slice will allow you to set-up and deal with the situation as it arises. Having an idea of what inflames you will allow you to also realize what you need to get rid of it.  Assuming the lactose intolerant individual eats the cheesecake, he should expect water retention, bloating, gas and possible indigestion as well as skin breakouts or rashes. For each inflammatory intake, the body has to hold a certain amount of fluid as a way of processing.  The more fluid your holding, the more inflammation you have, and the more body fat you are likely to store because under stress the body likes to hold onto and store body fat (it is unhappy, so you’re going to also be mentally unhappy when you see what has accumulated in the mirror).  Once again, generally speaking, the more body fat you have will make the processing of these fluids more difficult.

Remember from the fat chapter, omega 6 fats serve as inflammatory agents while omega 3 fats serve as anti inflammatory agents. Both have their place, but need to be balanced for a homeostatic environment in your body. Excess inflammation from years of vegetable oil, excessive processed carbohydrate products and indoor living will often times benefit from extra omega 3.

Take two basic meals and compare inflammation. You will be able to see where people run into problems.

Meal one: Slow cooked rib roast and a salad including a dressing of vinegar and coconut oil (spiced with garlic and ginger) with spinach, shallots, carrots, and dried cranberries

Anti-inflammatory Properties: slow cooked meat allows easier digestion and assimilation, garlic, ginger and cranberries are full of antioxidants and a wide range of benefits relating to decreasing inflammation, coconut oil is an immediate energy source for the body and known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

Meal two: Char grilled chicken breast on stone ground wheat bun with tomato/pepper, side of potato salad (mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt/pepper)

Inflammatory Properties: most people will digest white bread better than a stone ground wheat but both choices result in inflammation, char-grilled food leaves a burnt aspect to the outside of the food and will often lead to digestive troubles and dangerous by-products. Peppers and tomatoes are not a one size fits all in regards to inflammation as some people handle them well and others get inflamed joints, arthritis and other inflammatory symptoms. Potato salad, serves as an excessive carbohydrate intake coupled with the grainy bun, and made with store bought mayonnaise guarantees the omega 6 ratio in this meal as a whole is screaming inflammation.

A note to the chronically inflamed

Better awareness of your body is a means to an end in fixing chronic inflammation issues. Being in tune with your responses to food, sleep or lack thereof, and working out will all enhance your optimal health status.  A long term approach involves all three of working in unison for hormesis within the body. Lack of sleep will elicit a stress response and this response results in a low grade inflammation, as well as reduced insulin sensitivity and concentration. One other area worth looking into if you feel you may suffer from inflammation is the use of antibiotics. Balancing your bacteria in your gut means not flushing away bacteria through antibiotic use.  Antibiotic use, stress, and poor diet can all the balance of gut flora (and this is a delicate balance), resulting in undesirable bacteria overload that can lead to inflammation. You can tackle this with a good probiotic such as acidophilus or bifidus, and also by including naturally cultured foods in the diet.  The obvious ones include sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, and kombucha (fermented tea) and also yogurt and some raw cheeses.

Why you should pack up your scale and mail it to your worst enemy

Scale weight is mostly irrelevant from a day to day basis.  Checking your weight occasionally is fine but many factors contribute to that number and it rarely represents the true nature of your body composition.  When the number is too high it rarely represents just fat, too low and it rarely represents lean mass.  Hence from this chapter, inflammation will play a big role in what the scale read on a day to day basis, even an hour to hour. Taking a weekly weight and noting progression or lack thereof will help you find an idea of what is working for you and what isn’t.

http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3979

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immune_system#Inflammation

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000992000000000000000.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377753?dopt=AbstractPlus

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22329799

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331646

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22332072

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22310233

Preparation Over Precision

Precision

Preparing yourself for meals and one-off situations is a topic that comes up in the Science Lab a lot.  The Science Lab is a service I offer CrossFitters that are looking to reach their body composition goals.  The classes work in a similar fashion to the way WOD’s work; they are scheduled and our coaches walk you through what you need to do to achieve your goals. 

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article)

When determining what you should and should not put in your body, there seems to be never-ending confusion not only in deciding, but also in answering to other people who do not understand what real food is.  The messages we get are not always clear; what is real food?

In short, if you can pick it, grow it, or kill it, you should probably eat it. (Chia pets not included.)

  • Protein:  Chew it!  Protein should come mostly from real food and come bundled with Omega 3s.  Include grass fed/pastured livestock and wild-caught salmon, herring, or sardines.
  • Carbohydrates:  You need carbs to fuel your performance.  Glucose is king but you need your veggies as well.  A colorful diet will provide you with plenty of fiber and vitamins!
  • Fats:  Use them as a vehicle for vegetables, fruits and lean meats. It adds flavor, density, and libido!  Fatty meats obviously do not need to be covered in butter.

How to Get your Vitamins

Do not use a multi-vitamin as a blanket for a crappy diet.  Your body needs vitamins and minerals to function properly, and although a multi-vitamin taken with a meal can be effective, real food is where it’s at!

BEHOLD.

The Epic Humongous Salad (proper noun): It’s a bowl of everything:  lots of flavors, lots of colors, lots of textures.  Humongous salads are the best way to throw a ton of vitamins, minerals, and good fats into one big bowl.

¡WARNING!  You may need to purchase a new bowl specifically for epic-sized salads.  Eat To Perform.com cannot be held accountable for the mess you make trying to shove all of this vegetation into a less-than-epic-sized bowl. 

This is not a premixed bag of iceberg lettuce with a few shreds of carrots for appeal.  One of my favorite additions is roasted vegetables;  warm vegetables on cold salad greens is a win.  The list of possibilities is never-ending, but to get started:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Red leaf, green leaf, romaine, butter lettuces
  • Red cabbage
  • Bacon crumbs
  • Grilled sirloin
  • Roasted chicken
  • Shrimp
  • Avocado slices
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Sesame seeds
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Parsnips
  • Collards
  • Okra
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Figs
  • Dried fruit pieces
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Almond slices
  • Jalapenos

Salad dressing options are endless as well. First, you need a fat source (olive oil, butter, tallow, bacon grease), vinegar if you like the kick (white, apple cider, wine vinaigrette, fresh squeezed lemon), and your spice assortment (chili, onion, garlic, fennel, paprika, cumin, coriander, sage…). Fresh herbs work wonders too (basil, thyme, marjoram, cilantro…).  Someone should program a salad generating app…

Now that’s a salad! Eat it for size; it might take a while too.  Time of day does not matter for this beast but I would suggest that your first meal should have a lot of substance.  A lot of people have trouble eating breakfast and most of us are told that breakfast is the most important meal so they start the day off with nutrient-deficient grains and very few foods that fill you up.

My suggestion is that if you do not feel hungry, do not eat.  When you feel hungry you should eat. The epitome of a healthy lifestyle is living in harmony with food.  Don’t fear it, and do not become inhumanely excited over it. I do not know anyone who is addicted to real food, but I know plenty who are addicted to junky, chemically laced and alerted food. You may be able to overeat on a 12-hour standing rib roast, but it is not the same as overeating on a triple family-sized bag of Doritos with a side of Big Gulp Slurpee and Twinkies for dessert. When you are FULL on the rib roast, and you know it- your body now requires time to assimilate and process all the vitamins and minerals in the meat. This is why your appetite is depressed for a long while. No questions asked, and you lose your interest in food. When you’re full on the junk, your stomach is huge and expanded, but your brain is not content. It keeps searching for something that isn’t there. Many overweight individuals are NOT addicted to food as they are led to believe; they are addicted to junk food. Your ghrelin receptors adjust to the crappy food you give your system, which alters your reward path to your brain from your gut. If it doesn’t get nutrients, it does not function properly.

Are you addicted to carrots? No.

Are you addicted to strawberries or oranges? No.

Are you addicted a piece of grilled salmon with broccoli? No.

Do not wallow in your own misery; the only change can be made by you when you accept the difference. You CAN go cold turkey, just like an alcoholic can. But you must eat, right? Yes, obviously you do but you don’t need moon pies and Little Debbie’s all day – you do not NEED them ever…But if you make the conscious choice to sit and enjoy one once a week with control and confidence in getting back to your regular routine, then use it to your advantage. Choose the real food the rest of the time.

After a while, your body will establish patterns that will make this process a lot easier.  Remember, you have no addiction to real food; you have an addiction to crappy food. Eat when you feel hunger, eat a lot, and make it real food. Do not be scared to prepare yourself a huge plate of real food. When you are full you are done, put it away but promise yourself when you get hungry again, the real food is coming out again in full force. It will ALWAYS be there, and there is nothing to fear or hold back on. Freeing, isn’t it? Don’t go around being a grumpy Buddha, you and only you have the power to change!

“But I Don’t Like Vegetables”

Okay let’s just be honest; acting like an adult entails eating like an adult.  When you chose real food, a whole new sensory pathway will open you up to new tastes and textures. You need to shut off the excitatory, over-enhanced, MSG-laden, chemically-pumped-and-altered, flavorless (in reality) parts of your brain that were predominant before.  You need to fill your cells with nutrients to appreciate the well-being that is possible. There are very few vegetables that do not taste good cooked in lard, or roasted with butter and a good seasoning blend, or natural spices. If you need to wean yourself into vegetables, try stuffed peppers with a Tex-Mex ground beef seasoning, or bacon fried cabbage. Two sure fire flavor-yum bombs.

Preparation Over Precision

Many people find comfort in precision and pay dearly for the privilege. Weight Watchers is an example, and so are many of the “boxed systems” that you can buy to help you lose weight.  They all work; the problem is that for many people, these diets leave them hungry and/or ill prepared once the box is gone. “Rules” become “limitations”; what if that 2 point bar doesn’t leave you satisfied and you have no points to spare? Sorry, but your appetite doesn’t run on points; it runs on neurochemical impulses.  What if the Nutri-System bean burrito tasted like crap?  You are left unsatisfied, and your brain is looking for something to fill that void. Even with such systems, you need to remember to bring the food or prepare your meals ahead of time.  Eating well will always entail this.

If you can nail the preparation part, the precision part should follow naturally.  It would be a very difficult argument to make that those people would not benefit extremely from preparation.  Preparation is the answer to succeeding in a lifestyle change. How can you eat a big ass salad with no vegetables?  How can you promise yourself to eat big when you are hungry if you do not have any food waiting for you? Preparation takes out the worry of making food choices; it leaves you calm and determined and in power. There is a confidence in looking into a refrigerator full of nourishing food, ready for when you are hungry. Again, promise to feed yourself well with such foods when you do get hungry. Preparation, execution, confidence.

“Breakfast” simply means the time in which you break your fast.  Anytime you are not eating, you are fasting.  Fasting has such a wide array of benefits that an entire book would need to be published simply to detail its benefits. Most people relate breakfast with eating upon rising – hunger or no hunger.  Others would prefer not to eat when they wake up.  There is no right or wrong here, no benefit or lack thereof; eat when you are hungry but do not allow yourself to become ravenous.  Preparation is the key.  Your first meal should be filled with nutrition.  If you are the type that says, “I cannot eat a lot when I first wake up.” then great.  You do not have to eat then.  If you choose to eat upon waking, be sure to get a good amount of protein and fats. Remember that if you prefer eating when rising, you need to remain consciously aware of this as night time draws. Instead of forgetting about hunger signals and going straight for your old couch-and-chips routine, remember that as soon as you wake up you’ll be eating again. This leaves nighttime and saying no to junk easier by rest assuring you hunger will be met.

What a small meal looks like:

2 egg omelet with a coconut milk smoothie.  If you followed that meal up with the humungous salad at noon, you are well on your way to a healthy nutritious day where your appetite is self regulated.

What a big meal looks like:

A 10 ounce grass-fed rib eye, big ass salad and sweet potatoes followed by a bowl of full fat greek yogurt with strawberries and cacao nibs.  It is extremely filling and since I delayed my meal timing it allowed my body to detox and heal a bit better, promoting cellular repair.

Getting fat has nothing to do with when you break your fast for breakfast; it has to do with learning to listen to your body and choosing real food. Most people like to go until they are ravenous and somehow justify pounding through a sleeve of Oreos dipped in milk.  “It’s okay, I was hungry…I really needed to eat!”

Going hungry inevitably leads to grabbing the most convenient options which also lack nutrition. Why? Hunger leads to low blood sugar levels, and low blood sugar levels force the brain to use less glucose, which is the only energy source the brain can use.  So, when you are hungry, your brain is lacking glucose or in need of it. A piece of junk candy bar or cookie will send a high to your brain of satisfaction, which lasts…maybe 5 minutes followed by the same scenario on repeat. Up, down, high, low. Behavior is a result of what the brain perceives (aka the reaction to unreal food). The behaviors you are addicted to, the bad patterns you get caught up in, are all direct results of the information you are giving your brain and how it reads such signals.  However, when hunger hits and you feed on protein and fat alongside some vegetables, your rise in the blood is slower, longer, and controlled. This is because both glucose and glucagon are released when protein is eaten. It leads to a steady supply of energy for the brain and a happy content body.

In the book “Nutrition Against Disease”, author Dr. Roger J. Williams points out that like all other living cells, brain cells often receive less than perfect nutrition. He goes on to observe that brain cells get nutrition from blood, which in turn gets its nutrients from the food we eat each day. At first, it takes a while to get past that and let your body readjust to a new way. Psychologically, your brain may want to get that rush back, even at the expense of feeling bad later. It’s the same reason why people like to smoke. They cultivate an addiction and then enjoy the pleasure of satiating that addiction.

So you need to deal with feelings of:

  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Futility
  • Fear of change
  • Nostalgia
  • Fear of deprivation
  • Denial
  • Obsession
  • Loathing
  • Hyper self-criticism

        It has to do with healthfulness, and mindfulness, and gratitude, and forgiveness.  It has to do with having a free mind, and using food to fuel that beautiful capacity.

        You get back whatever you put out, so don’t think about what you don’t have or what you didn’t get. That is unhealthy thinking in itself. Think about the possibilities because they are endless. Perhaps learning to let go of baseless misconceptions like ‘”artery clogging saturated fats” and the necessity of eating every other hour is the best thing to do. To be satisfied with what you have, and what you receive, are aspects of success not to be overlooked.

Summary

  • Although taking a multivitamin every day can help you get the vitamins and minerals your enzymes need to function properly, you can’t beat eating real food.
  • A great way to get your micronutrients is to have a humongous, colorful salad for lunch. 
  • Salads are also a great way to get some extra fat in.  Olive oil and vinegar is a common dressing choice, but don’t be afraid to throw in some seasonings and herbs like paprika and cilantro.
  • Making sure you have a kitchen stocked with nutritious, whole foods is one of the best ways to make sure that when you’re hungry, you don’t make bad decisions and go for convenience/junk foods. 
  • There’s a big difference between binging on a slow-cooked, bone-in roast and eating a whole bag of Doritos.  Real food will satisfy you whereas junk food will typically make you hungrier; don’t be afraid to eat when you’re hungry!
  • Don’t force yourself to eat breakfast if you’re not hungry in the morning.  Listen to your body, and break your fast with quality nutrition rather than processed foods! 
  • Cravings for junk food and relying upon poor food choices to fuel your body can lean to negative body composition changes as well psychological hang-ups that reinforce the bad eating behavior. 
  • Satisfy your nutritional requirements first, and then consider satisfying your taste buds.

Fats Could Be Called Skinnies

This is part of the information I teach in the “Science Lab” seminars that we offer free when you purchase things that support our site (it’s mostly stuff you would buy anyway).  Supporting our site allows us to provide you with cool tools like the calculator.  Click the link and it will give you more details.  

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Ah, fat.  Of the three major macronutrients, it is probably the most misunderstood.  Did you know that fat keeps us interested in sex?  Do I have your attention yet?  That’s not all…Fat keeps your skin soft and smooth.  Fat allows you to control your temper when your 5 year old son knocks over the 100 year old family dinnerware.  Fat is what enables you to ‘go’ on a daily basis and what protects your vital organs.  Fat lets you to go from morning to night without daydreaming about Teddy Grahams.  Let it be known, also, that fat tastes damn good!  If this is all news to you, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Where in the world did fat get such a bad reputation?

Well, you can blame math (in part).  Since fat provides 9 calories per gram, health officials assumed that limiting its intake would result in lower rates of obesity and improved cardiovascular health.  Since it’s the most energy-dense macro, “the experts” assumed that eating too much causes higher body weight, higher blood cholesterol and heart attacks.  However, modern nutrition science has proven that such an idea is detrimental to our health.  It does make you wonder, given that fat provides us with so much energy, that they didn’t come to consider it a more sustainable food source.  We can thank modern agriculture for that one; carbs were more profitable.

Natural Fat vs. Manufactured Fat

Of course, fats done wrong will really screw you up.  Your body cannot effectively metabolize man-made hydrogenated or trans-fats.  They contribute to the development of all sorts of disorders, from Alzheimer’s to cancer.  Fats done right, however, enhance weight loss and keep your hormones functioning properly.  Your best bet is to correlate natural fat with good fat; a beautiful marbling on the side of a porter house steak?  Natural.  A 3- day ripened avocado?  That’s natural as well.   What about the runny yolk of a fresh fried egg?  Again, it’s natural.  The natural fat you eat blunts insulin secretion and keeps appetite at bay, shifting your metabolism towards a preference of fat burning.  Keeping insulin levels within a relatively tight range, rather than spiking them and bottoming out, is a great way to reduce systemic inflammation as well.

When natural fat is abundant in the diet, it is accompanied by a powerhouse of nutrition. The incredible, edible egg is one of the best foods you can put in your body. Fats are either accompanied by vitamins (A, D, K and E) and minerals (iron, magnesium and calcium) your body needs, or in the very least will help make sure they’re delivered where they need to go.  On top of that, fat is usually carrying protein along with it (and vice versa), which will help regulate your appetite.  Two of your best sources of fat, coconut milk and coconut oil, are two of the most highly saturated fats on earth.  They’re commonly regarded as very healthy, not to mention tasty (Who doesn’t love curry?).  Although it may appear all of a sudden that endless amounts of fat would be great, remember that too much of anything is probably bad.  Grab a stick of butter and attempt to eat the whole thing; see how far you get (Hopefully not too far from a toilet…).  Too much fat can still make you sick!  You have to pay attention to how much and what kind of fat you’re eating.

Many Types of Fat

There are two ‘classes’ of fats, if you will:  Saturated and unsaturated fat.  Two important polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) are linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Linoleic acid builds Omega 6 fatty acids, and alpha-linolenic acid builds Omega 3 fatty acids (O3 and O6).  These are essential fatty acids that your body needs to work properly.  As a whole, keeping polyunsaturated fatty acids low is a good idea.  Monounsaturated fat (MUFA) provides Omega 9 (oleic acid), which is not an essential fatty acid like O3 and O6, because the body can produce limited amounts from any unsaturated fat.

“Saturated fat” is fat with hydrogen stuffed between the carbon atoms that it’s comprised of.  It comes in many different forms, both plant and animal.  The saturated fat in a coconut and the saturated fat in grain fed beef are a little different.  Remember, natural fats are good. The fat in grain fed beef has a skewed ratio of PUFA’s, highly favoring the Omega 6, which is inflammatory. In contrast, Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory.  The Omegas need to be balanced in the diet to achieve good health; most people suffer from an overabundance of Omega 6 without adequate Omega 3, leaving them chronically inflamed.  (We talk about this in greater detail later.)

Omega 6

Omega3TeeterTotter

Omega 3

NOTE:  Omega 3 and 6 are considered essential fatty acids (EFA’s) because your body can not produce them.  Incidentally, if you have fat cravings while dieting, it is often a result of being deficient in EFA’s.

Omega 9′s can be found in olive oil, but we don’t need to worry about how much we eat because the body can produce them as necessary.  MUFA’s are found in a variety of nuts, avocados, as well as grass fed beef and other livestock.  They’re a good source of fat for a person coming off a low fat nutrition plan.  The body will more easily use them for energy as you adjust to a higher saturated fat intake.

As I mentioned earlier, an imbalanced ratio of Omega 3 and 6 in your diet leads to chronic inflammation.  This is very similar to what happens with excessive carbohydrate consumption (though admittedly to a lesser degree).  Inflammation due to an excessive intake of the wrong kind of fat, combined with excessive carbohydrate intake, is inviting for disaster.   The bad news is that practically everyone you know eats this way.

The Good News

When fats are properly balanced, they will not inflame your system.  Interesting enough, since vegetable oil (full of Omega 6) started being promoted in the 1950’s, the incidence of heart disease and cholesterol has skyrocketed.  Correlation?  I think so.   You want to focus on lowering Omega 6 in your diet and increasing Omega 3’s.  The best way to do this is to pay attention to the quality of your food sources.  “You are what you eat” applies to the animals you eat too.  Wild-caught fish have better lipid profiles.  A grain fed cow is gradually being made sick through an inappropriate balance of Omega fatty acids in its diet, and so are you.  As you probably understand now, grass fed beef is the way to go.  It may be expensive or hard to find in some areas, but it’s worth it.  Eat healthy cows, and you’ll be a healthy human.

If you can’t afford, or cannot locate grass fed meat, you can clean up your fat intake by sticking to leaner cuts of meat and adding in your own favorable cooking oil (ghee, butter, tallow).  Remember that the issue is related to fat stored in animals fed nutritionally void diets.  Unfortunately, perfect meat and perfect food financial allowances are not always an option, but chicken breasts and tuna are almost always on sale.  You can make it work.

Supplementing EFA’s

As a last resort, it is possible to fortify and supplement your otherwise not-complimentary diet.  The rate of supplement absorption is greatly enhanced when taken with food.  “Enhanced” must not be mistaken for “better”.  You want to chew and swallow whole, real food with good fats, but when that is not an option, eating foods fortified with Omega 3′s or taking fish oil supplements can serve as a backup plan.  To note, fish oil and O3 supplements are not required on an otherwise adequate diet.  When selecting a product, choose one heavy on EPA’s and DHA’s (two beneficial Omega 3’s).  If there is no mention of either on the label, don’t buy it.  Going with a molecularly distilled supplement will guarantee a superior product; rancid fish oil is the leading cause of fish burps so shop wisely!

Fats Don’t Make You Fat; Your Eating Patterns Do

As you can see, in regards to which side of the fat argument you are on and how your Omega balance is handled, the ever-popular but difficult-to-follow Atkins diet could be either a miracle or the worst thing to ever happen to dieting.  The initial phase of Atkins entails limiting your daily dietary carbohydrate intake to below 20 grams.  You could blow that after 2-3 cups of leafy salad greens.  This first phase drains the glycogen storage in your body; if you’re coming from a “standard” diet, these stores are beyond topped off. Limiting carbohydrates forces your liver to use protein to produce glucose (gluconeogenesis).  Because you’re eating more protein than you normally would, your appetite will be suppressed.  The liver also begins to turn fat into ketone bodies, an alternative energy source to glucose that your organs can run on.  This “fat burning” adaptation (ketosis) takes you from running on carbohydrates (we’ll call this a “sugar metabolism”) to running on fats.  By supplying adequate dietary fat, body fat is mobilized to be used for energy as well.  It unquestionably works to reduce body fat, but like most certainties in life, it comes with a cost.

Ketogenic diets like Atkins can be taxing on an active individual.  During stressful periods, the body breaks down muscle for amino acids to rebuild cells.  Eating a high protein diet will spare some of that muscle, but will also lead to erratic circadian rhythms like waking up at 3 a.m. and feeling exhausted in the mid afternoon.  If lying in bed all day is your idea of living life, then this may be for you.  For those of us who enjoy sports or any other recreation, a constant state of ketosis is stressful at least and unhealthy at best.  Once you power through the sugar withdrawal and initial shift from sugar to fat metabolism, such a way of life becomes relatively easy; appetite and cravings are greatly reduced and the body is flushed of excessive inflammatory stores of PUFA’s and carbohydrates.

Assuming you don’t gorge on deep fried bacon, health markers are almost always improved initially.  Note the word “initially”, as the point of the induction phase is to set the body up for long term health.  That does not equate to living off of 20 carbohydrates a day forever; it entails building up from “scratch” with the right foods.  Mobilizing fat for energy is the selling point of Atkins, but eventually you reintroduce carbs and you run upon the biggest issue relating to the diet.  After you go back to eating relatively “normal” amounts of carbs again, you’ll start to regain weight (with interest!)  Your body is extremely sensitive to insulin at this point and it soaks up all the water and glucose that it can.  Your appetite comes back, you over eat and while this is kind of a good thing, the net loss of fat isn’t really worth all the frustration.

What If There Was a Happy Medium?

The fact that surviving on fats and proteins alone is possible does not imply that it’s optimal. It just means that dietary carbohydrates are not essential.  Periods of our evolution involved unavailable carbohydrates and also periods of incredible carbohydrate intake. Regardless of what you eat, your body is going to produce glucose, because it needs to.  Can you eat in a way that not only takes advantage of fats and proteins to keep you full, but also allows enough carbohydrates so that life doesn’t suck and food is still tasty?  Well, of course!  It’s brilliant actually.  The key is to eat enough fats from the right sources to achieve a good balance of Omega 3′s and 6′s and consume enough protein while ingesting the majority of your carbohydrates in the form of nutrient-dense vegetables and starches.  As it turns out, mama had it right.  You should eat your vegetables, and lard should never go to waste.

I realize this is not too sexy.  It doesn’t involve copious amounts of pasta followed by whole cheesecakes for dessert, but you have a lot more “wiggle room” if you put what you need over what you want.  An adequate intake of vitamins and minerals from vegetables, along with the fats needed to make them bioavaliable, as well as the protein required to maintain muscle mass and repair your body is necessary for proper metabolic function.  The right sources of meat and fats are a key component in achieving overall health, and once you get it right, you need not worry; there is no reason to avoid all of the good carbohydrates or fat. There is a way to put it all together so you can create a plan that works for you.

Summary

  • Fat plays a vital role in many bodily functions, and doesn’t deserve most of the bad press it receives.
  • The kind of fat you eat is extremely important.  Man-made hydrogenated and trans fats are linked to many diseases, but natural fats provide valuable nutrition.
  • Polyunsaturated fats provide lineolic and alpha-lineolic acid are “essential fatty acids” that your body cannot synthesize.  They make Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) and Omega 6 (inflammatory) fatty acids.
  • A balanced ratio of Omega 3 and 6 in your diet will help control systemic inflammation.
  • Monounsaturated fat and saturated fat are a great source of energy in your diet but they aren’t essential fats.
  • While low carb/ketogenic diets can render quick weight loss, most of the loss comes from cellular dehydration.  High carb diets are inflammatory and when you cut carbs from your nutrition, you become less inflamed.
  • Improved body composition and health are possible on a diet consisting of good fats, nutrient-dense carbs and high-quality protein.  There’s no need to go to extremes.

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