No matter what I do, I still can’t shift the pounds
Your body has two main fuels: glucose (sugar) or fat. The preferred source of fuel is fat, but under certain circumstances, the body can use more sugar rather than fat. If you body is burning off sugar, then it’s simply not burning off fat!
If you have reached a plateau in weight loss, or can’t seem to shift that extra few pounds, exercise like mad, but it’s still not budging… reduced your calories even further, but still stuck: chances are your body is fuelled by sugar and all the energy you’re burning is sugar. Fat is being held onto in the cells! If your training hard and you see the weight drop but also the well earned muscle mass drop too, then again you’re not losing fat, muscle tissue.
Quick biology lesson: the most significant factor in fat storage is the level of insulin in the blood. Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy.
The pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise above normal. After you have eaten, your blood sugars rise in relation to the amount and type of carbohydrates consumed. Processed carbohydrates are absorbed faster, and tend to cause faster and greater rises in blood sugar. So, the pancreas releases insulin, which tells the muscle, liver and fat cells to take up the blood sugar (and fat if it’s available) and remove it from the blood. This is a normal process because elevated blood sugar is toxic for the body.
With a moderate amount of carbohydrates consumed each day, the pancreas can indicate to the muscles, liver and fat cells, “grab that sugar.” The pancreas is happy because it doesn’t have to work too hard to get its message across. The muscle cells, liver cells and fat cells are happy because they’ve got room to store the moderate amount of sugar. Energy levels throughout the day stay pretty consistent and you stay relatively lean.
Over time, with excessive amounts of carbs, especially processed carbohydrates, on a daily basis, the muscle and fat stop listening to the pancreas’ release of insulin – this is insulin resistance.
Eating a small amount of carbohydrate will cause the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin. Those who are insulin resistant will have elevated insulin levels throughout the day, which means their fat cells won’t be able to release fat for fuel. Eventually the cells with receptors for insulin stop listening and/or the pancreas stops secreting insulin.
Insulin locks fat in the fat cell.
Excessive carbohydrate consumption causes elevated insulin levels.
Once insulin levels are brought under control, fat cells are allowed to let go of their stored fatty acids. They still need to be burned though. So following a healthy exercise regime, alongside reduction, (not elimination of carbs) the body will start use fat its energy fuel, burning fat and not having to rely on glucose sugar as its main energy fuel.
Keep a food diary to track just how many carbs you eat in a week. In the following week keep a food diary and reduce your carbs. You will both feel and see the difference.