You might not realize but your body is a hybrid engine. There are advantages to using both types of fuel that it can burn.
Your body in its amazing wisdom can burn glucose or amino fatty acids or fat for fuel!
The glucose that our body makes from burning carbohydrates is like burning petrol, its highly explosive and gives a strong and intense burn. This is excellent for some sharp burst exercise. The only thing is that the fuel doesn't last as long and leaves you in a slump for more. When you eat carbohydrates your body uses this first as a fuel and uses this in metabolism. So by eating carbs we chose the fuel we want our body to burn.
However when you don't need that explosive ability there is a better and more sustainable fuel, that of burning fatty acids.
Fatty acids or fat burning produces a slower burn, and this happens only in the absence of carbohydrates. The metabolism also has to adapt to the ability to burn fat.
This can take a week or so of eating low carbohydrate and high fat. During this time your body adapts to using fat for fuel. Eating a lower carbohydrate diet isn't always easy, but there are some benefits to being a hybrid engine.
Easier fat burning. When your body utilized fat for fuel you also open the gateway to using fat stores from the body. Everyone wants to access stored body fat. Most of us have upwards of 40k calories of stored energy right on our hips! (Well everywhere).
Because the body can use digested fat or body fat your hardly ever hungry.
You always have a food source! As a result you can go for longer without feeling hungry. I can eat my evening meal at 6pm and go through to the following lunchtime without the slightest hint of hunger. Even after that it’s easier to go through to 6pm if there’s no chance to eat. As a result you can eat negative calories that you use and burn the rest from your body.
When you use fat for fuel you have a constant and fairly level blood sugar level.
This benefits the body in various ways from preventing diabetes to cancer.
Mood stabilization. Some have described the feeling of hangry when they get near the next meal. It’s a mix of hungry and angry! I've felt like this loads of times, you'll just go and eat into the entire fridge and you’re angry about it!
While burning the fat fuel though your body doesn't spike and trough to the same extent. As a result mood stabilization occurs. That's good for you and your family :)
How much carbohydrates and when?!!
Well initially to get adapted to burning fat you must cut down on carbohydrates and increase your fat intake. Cutting down on carbs during this time means cutting out bread, sugar, pasta and other grains. Instead replacing them with fats and so release carbohydrates such as vegetables. It is also important to have enough protein at this stage. Protein is needed and also excellent at warding off hunger.
So dinners should be high fat, medium protein and low carbohydrate.
By doing this for a number of weeks the body becomes fat adapted!!
It’s quite a healthy way of eating too! You can get your fat from some of your meat, delicious butter over your food or even olive oil. Many like coconut oil also and cook their foods in it. Coconut oil is excellent as it is a MCT and converts to fatty acid fuel quickly. It can boost your body into fat adaptation.
Carbohydrate sources should be from vegetables, especially non starchy vegetables such as coli-flour, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and carrots. These are dense in nutrients armed at helping the body, and yet the carbohydrates that they contain are slowed down by the fibre.
Protein helps builds the body, meat protein sources always contain some amount of fat also. Protein keeps hunger away for longer and is vital in cell formation.
When we eat too much protein though, and you do have to eat some amount, then the body converts the excess into glucose by gluconeogenesis. So even though protein is needed it’s good not to go too mad!
By a few simple steps you can choose the fuel that your body chooses. Will it be the explosive rush and quick action of carbohydrates? Or will it be the slow release and stability of the fat burn? You choose.