With the ever-fluctuating price of oil and gasoline, more and more we hear about alternative fuels for today’s automobiles: traditional combustion engines are being replaced with hybrids, flex-fuel, diesel, and electrical engines, all in an effort to conserve energy and lower fuel prices.
If you’re one of the millions of people who both love the idea of alternative energy and are looking to lose some weight, you’re in luck: a low carb diet is all about switching the kind of fuel your body burns for energy. And this alternative fuel for your body is something that you probably have plenty of — fat.
Overdosing on Carbohydrates and Sugar
Few people realize how the majority of food that we consume in a given day is actually nothing more than sugar. While refined sugar is omnipresent in many of the foods that we eat, most forms of carbohydrates are metabolized like sugar. In the end, the pasta, white bread, rice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables all end up as glucose in our bloodstream. And because many of us eat considerably more carbohydrates than necessary, the excess sugar in our system is converted into fat.
In this way, body fat builds up as a result of sugar, not dietary fat, as we have explained in another article.
The fact is, most peoples’ metabolisms are not capable of handling anything over 40 net grams of carbohydrates a day. Sure, you might know one or two people who can seemingly eat whatever they’d like, but the fact is, most people consume 4 or 5 times the amount of carbs in a day that they should. And people who suffer with their weight are almost always major carb bingers.
Ketosis: Burning Fat Instead of Sugar
A low carb diet effectively switches the fuel that a dieter’s body uses, switching from glucose to fat. Everyone has a Critical Carbohydrate Level, or CCL, that maintains their ideal weight. As you may have read about low carb dieting, when people exceed their CCL on a regular basis, they gain weight. However, with a low carb diet, as people stay well under their CCL, they begin to shed pounds, because their body switches from burning sugar to burning fat.
This is known as ketosis.
Ketosis is basically a metabolic process of converting fat into energy. During ketosis, your body releases fatty acids into your bloodstream, which are then converted into ketones. These ketones become the fuel for powering your brain, muscles, and other organs. And whatever ketones are not used are expelled through urine and breath. Therefore, not only does your body burn fat for fuel, but also you’re literally urinating and breathing out fat as well!
But the only way to engage your ketone engine is to stop feeding your body carbs.
Until you begin to restrict the glucose in your bloodstream, your body will continue to run on carbs and sugar. That’s because your metabolism always takes the path of least resistance: carbohydrates make for easily-converted and stored energy. When there’s no sugar present, however, your body has to work hard to convert fat into fuel.
And that’s a good thing!
Low Carb Versus Low Calorie
Let’s be clear: the low carb diet is not the only diet that encourages your body to engage in fat burning. Reducing calorie intake will have the same effect: if you need 2000 or more calories a day to fuel your body and you restrict your caloric intake, your body will indeed tap into fat reserves to make up the difference.
But there’s a big difference between the metabolic state of a low calorie dieter and a low carb dieter.
While the low calorie dieter’s metabolism is simply making up the difference between calories needed and calories consumed, the low carb dieter experiences an entire shift in their metabolism while in ketosis. That means that, as long as ketosis in maintained, there is a constant burning of fat for energy. The low carb diet doesn’t merely supplement the body’s need for energy; it retools the entire process by which you fuel it.
So, while the vast majority of diets out there will tell you that eating less is the key to weight loss, science and experience shows that ketosis is by far the most direct means burning actual fat while continuing to eat the same amount of food that you’re used to day in and day out.
Thanks for reading our article! Did you know that there are many great-tasting low carb food products on the market today that can make sticking to your low carb diet a breeze? Linda’s Diet Delites is a leading online supplier of low carb food products, offering a wide selection at affordable prices. Take a look!
Michael Nace is a low carb blogger for Linda’s Diet Delites. He is not a Doctor, and his article does not represent the view and opinions of Linda’s Diet Delites, nor are his articles meant to be construed as medical advice.