Do you remember a few weeks ago I wrote a post called 'Escape the diet trap' based on a book written by Dr John Briffa. This was about a low carb, high fat, high protein diet which Dr Briffa said was a more natural or primal way of eating.
In essence the diet works because by cutting out carbs you prevent insulin peaks in the bloodstream. Insulin not only pushes sugars into cells where they are metabolised for energy, it also pushes fatty acids into cells where they bind with gylcerol (sugar chains) to form tri-glycerides. Tri-glycerides are to big to diffuse back out of the cells so fat effectively becomes locked into the fat cells.
This means that if you continue to eat carbs, no matter how much you cut your total calorie intake, your fat will still be locked inside those cells and your body will preferentially metabolise sugars (and cry out for them by making you feel hungry) followed by proteins (from muscle). Weight loss will stall even though you still have a lot of excess fat on your body. Repeated insulin spikes also lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorder.
If you cut the carbs (particularly grain based ones such as pasta, rice and cereals) and replace them with extra fat (eat full fat versions of products, e.g greek yoghurt, butter, cream but avoid all trans-fats) and protein (fresh meat and fish but not too much processed meat e.g ham, sausage, bacon and soya protein) then the result will be that you avoid insulin peaks (fat does not stimulate insulin production). Your body will now preferentially burn fat and with the lack of sugar in your blood the triglycerides inside fat cells will breakdown, releasing the fatty acids into the bloodstream where they can be metabolised for energy i.e you will burn up your own fat! You will not lose muscle bulk either.
Anyway, that's the theory and I've been putting it to the test for the last 3-4 weeks. The results...
Okay, I didn't have a major weight problem but for years I've had a stubborn 5-6 lbs of excess fat around my middle that just wouldn't budge whatever I did. It was as if my body had a set point at which it could lose no more weight but the set point was too high! I started the low carb eating plan from this set point. Three weeks later I have lost nearly 4 pounds, I am the lightest I've been since 2008. I think my set point is finally being lowered.
The other positive but unexpected effects I have experienced include a complete cessation of all 'gurgly gut' symptoms. My stomach is flat and stays flat all day! I didn't think I was particularly sensitive to grains but presumably I was. The other positive thing is that I no longer fall asleep in the evening in front of the telly - something I have been renowned for in my family. I used to put the tiredness down to it being the end of a busy day and relaxing on the sofa in a warm room just flipped my off switch. Now I have just as busy a day but my energy reserves seem to last me right until bedtime. I now enjoy watching the end of films as well as the beginning!
I am also sleeping better at night. As long as I can remember I have woken 2 or 3 times in the night, tossed and turned and had periods of wakefulness during the night. Now I am sleeping through until about 5-6 am and then still managing to get back to sleep for another hour - this is a new and welcome experience for me.
These positive effects mean much more to me than the weight loss - I FEEL so much better and I don't think I will go back to eating lots of carbs again. It has changed the way I shop, cook and regard food. It is a bit of a challenge to work out ways of filling that carbohydrate sized hole on the plate every day but there are plenty of low carb cook books out there to help with ideas.
I am a convert. Why don't you give it a try.....just for one week and see what you think?
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