Fat vs. Carbs and Metabolic Flexibility
You should never be walking away from a meal hungry. A good way to ensure that is to eat more FAT!
We are trying to get away from processed foods and lean more heavily on whole, nutrient dense foods. A lot of processed foods are carbohydrate heavy (sugars, flours, etc). So what’s with that? Carbs are too easy for our bodies to break down (especially processed carbs). Our bodies can absorb and use them very quickly…which is why so many people grab a candy bar during the 2pm slump. It gives them a fast boost.
The problem lies in the fact that if our bodies get used to running off carbs all the time, they kinda forget how to use other fuels (like fat). Combine that with the fact that our bodies can only store a small amount of carb energy, and we get into a cycle of feeding the carb fire, so to speak. Pile on top of that that our bodies don’t want to waste energy, so if you go beyond that carb storage limit your body has on a regular basis, can you guess what happens? Your body will convert those carbs into fat and put them into storage for later use (or so we hope!).
“Blah, blah, blah get to the point Jim!”
My point is, if you are feeling hungry and have low energy, don’t just eat more…make a point to eat more fat!
By just eating more fruits and veggies, you are kind of keeping the carb cycle going. Don’t get me wrong: the carbs in them are far superior to candy or bagels…but on a basic level, your body treats fruit/veggie carbs the same as sugar/flour/other similar carbs.
By adding fat to your system, you slow down the absorption of the carbs, which helps eliminate those energy (and mood!) peaks and valleys. In addition, fat is a great source of long lasting, consistent energy. Fat also makes you full fuller, longer, reducing the need for snacks.
The Ideal Scenario: Metabolic Flexibility
What we’re aiming for, ideally, is to have metabolic flexibility. Metabolic flexibility is the body’s ability to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability.
In plain terms we want to be able to run on the energy available to our bodies at any given time. So if you have burned through all your carb reserves, your body can flip the switch and start burning fat, without having to eat any additional food!
The average person only stores several hundred calories of carb energy, but even a lean person has tens of thousands of calories of stored fat energy.
Let me reframe it to help you better see the benefits. Many people throw around the term “weight loss,” but it isn’t really an accurate description of what they’re after or what they mean. You can lose weight any number of ways. For instance, if you drop muscle mass, you’ve lost weight. If you cut twelve inches off your long, flowing locks of hair, you’ve lost weight. But that’s not what we’re after! What most people really want is “fat loss,” and once you’ve achieved metabolic flexibility you can much more easily do that!
Evolve Your Eating is structured to give you back your metabolic flexibility. There is an adjustment period, which some of you might be experiencing now. You may feel like you have less energy than you’re used to, and exerting may drain you much more than you’re used to. It takes time and experimentation to find the right balance for you, so play around with fat to carb ratio until you find your right balance.
In the meantime, eat up! Eat as much as you need. Snack to fuel your workouts. What I ask is that you add some healthy fat to your meals and snacks. If you are already, add a little more! Healthy fats = things like avocado, coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs and olive oil.
I hope this makes sense and helps. Now hit me with your questions!