Your body is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise. You can’t outrun your fork.
You can change your body if you watch what you eat.
Did you know you can burn fat without trying?
You can eat bacon, and you can lose weight. Yes, it’s true.
Want to know how to burn fat without exercise and still be able to eat delicious food? It’s pretty simple and easy, actually. It sounds too good to be true, but it works. I was able to lose a lot of excess fat with it. To understand it, we need to to get a little back story on how the body works. It all comes down to biology and chemistry.
There’s two types of hormones that deal with energy metabolism: the well known “Insulin”, and the lesser known “Glucagon.”
“Glucagon? Is that a weight loss pill? Where can I buy it!? “
Guess what? You already have it. It’s built into your body. Right now. No money needed! However, most people don’t know how to unlock its powerful fat burning potential. Some people can go their entire lives barely using it. Want to know the secret? “Glucose.”
What is Glucose? Hopefully you know this already, but it’s basically sugar. So you might think “OH! So that’s why sugar is bad for you? Good enough for me, just don’t eat pure sugar.” …We have a lot to cover. Warning: science ahead!
When you eat some sugar, your body digests it, breaks it down and most of it goes into the bloodstream as glucose. The glucose is either burned for energy or compressed and stored as around the body as “glycogen.” Glycogen is just strands of glucose bunched together in tight packages.
Sugar, Starches, and grains are primary sources of glucose. Bread and flour are almost pure carbohydrates. Carbs, after you eat them, are broken down into glucose. Bread = carbs. In other words: bread = sugar. Got that? Refer to my Paleo 101 post for a little more on my thoughts for breads and grains.
When you eat something that rapidly fills your blood with glucose, your body releases insulin to lower it. Blood glucose levels determine insulin levels. Technically speaking, glucose in the blood stream is “toxic.” (1)
The body’s protection against this toxicity is by using insulin to push the glucose to where ever it needs to go. Most commonly this is in fat, muscle, and liver cells as glycogen. Once the blood glucose levels are lessened, the insulin levels will drop and our little friend glucagon will take over. Glucagon is the hormone that allows the fat to be burned via the liver.
Most people can’t burn fat without trying. Why?
Insulin and glucagon levels are like a see-saw, when one is high, the other is low and vice versa. After you eat carbs, insulin works to lower the blood glucose. Chronically eating carbohydrates means chronic insulin. This leads to insulin resistance. Check out this video for animated representation.
Chronic insulin means no glucagon. No glucagon means what? No fat burning. There you go. Simple, right? Oh, it gets better. Here’s a cool fact: Your body can run on more than just glucose/sugar. They say the brain alone uses about 3 soda cans worth of glucose a day… but it can run on something else.
Introducing: THE KETONE BODIES!
When your body experiences a shortage of blood sugar, insulin levels will drop and the body will be forced to use up the stored glycogen. Once all the glycogen stores have been eaten up, what is left? Fat. The body needs to slice up the fat and release it into the bloodstream for energy.
During this process, there is a certain chemical compound released called a “ketone body.” (2) Most of the body is able to run on the burned fat, but the brain is not able to do this. Here’s where it gets crazy: The brain will run on those Ketone bodies once no glucose is available. This is why it is called the Ketogenic diet. Yes, this is the so-called “starvation mode,” except you’re still eating. Humans and other animals use it during times of famine and food shortages. It’s kept humans alive during hard times throughout history. This is hacking the body’s natural processes to burn fat without trying.
Here’s the simple secret: Eat protein and you’ll keep your muscles but lose the fat. You’re not “starving” because you can still eat throughout the day. You’re basically hacking your metabolism by tricking it into burning fat instead of glucose. Long story short, eat less sugar/grains/starches and your body will stop burning sugar and switch to fat stores. If done for long enough, the body will get used to this metabolism and burn fat without trying. Automatically.
It all depends on how much glucose you let into your body.
Sounds too complicated? I forgot where I read about this, but the most simple way I’ve heard it described: Imagine a long running American Ford car plant being converted into a Chinese-run Tablet computer-producing facility. It would create sheer chaos and disorder, everything would be completely messed up.
It would take time to move out the English-speaking Americans employees and replace them with Chinese speaking employees. All the manufacturing equipment would need to be switched out and replaced for the new roles. It’s not a pretty picture. Eventually the chaos would settle down and they can produce tablet computers. This is kinda what happens when your body switches from glucose-burning to fat-burning metabolism. It’s worth the effort though.
What happens when you switch to a ketogenic metabolism?
Your body will feed itself using the very fat that it stored around the body. The human animal stores fat for this very reason. When food is scarce, it will use the stored fat. Your body will literally feed itself automatically. You’ll be hungry one moment and have no appetite the next.
People on keto often mention an interesting phenomenon: They will get hungry, prepare a keto-based meal, then when they sit down to eat it, they’re suddenly no longer hungry. Wow. I used to be hungry all the time, so when it happened to me it was almost spooky…
Keto opens many new possibilities when used correctly. It also has a powerful “re-calibration effect” on the body. It’s hard to describe, but you just feel better overall when in this mode. You’ll have more energy, think more clearly and just plain feel great. You’ll also kill your sugary-food cravings. I’ll try to describe it more in detail another time.
I should make a note of the fact that while Keto is great for fat loss, it’s more geared towards the obese and low activity people. If you are fully able-bodied and have access to a gym, you should really think about Leangains for maximum fat loss/muscle gain. When you weight lift regularly, everything changes.
Now the bad news:
This method of fat loss CAN BE DANGEROUS if not followed properly. You need to do your homework or you WILL get sick. When I began doing it, I did not follow the rules and I ended up having flu-like symptoms. This is not something to be taken lightly! If you are someone who has been obese for most of your life, this is a very powerful way to lose weight. I’d say start with the Paleolithic approach first. It will make keto 10x easier on your body when you feel ready for it.
In part 2, I will give some general suggestions on how to start doing keto, how to avoid getting the dreaded “keto-flu” and what kinds of foods you should eat to induce keto.
You’ll also need “Ketostix,” which tell if you if you’re in ketosis or not. Check them out here: Ketostix Reagent Strips for Urinalysis Test – 50 pack
Img credits: http://i585.photobucket.com/albums/ss297/stcasey34/glucose-metabolism.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketone_bodies https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f4/Singapore_Road_Signs_-_Warning_Sign_-_Accident_Area.svg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NCI_bacon.jpg References: (1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9062809/Can-sugar-really-be-toxic-Sadly-yes.html (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketone_bodiesHeart disease has changed my eating habits, but I still cook bacon for the smell. ~ George Carlin