Tuesday, 19 July 2011
High Fat Diets
The words high fat and diet somehow do not go well together. That's because most people see dieting as cutting down on fat content in anyway possible.
While obviously when on a diet, calories are definitely a factor, and though fat definitely has high calories, it is also true that high fat diets also aid in weight loss. Fats can be a source of energy for us, if we learn how to make our bodies dependent on burning fat. What are high fat diets and how do they work?
South Beach diet, Atkins diets, and ketogenic diets are all high in fat, high in proteins, and low in carbs. And yes they do work towards drastic weight loss. In fact any diet, which is low in carbs, has to be high in fats, as that is the source you are going to use to draw energy from in the long run. Your body does not differentiate between stored fat and fat that has just been consumed, so once it switches to fat burning mode (which happens with a drastic reduction in carbs), it will rely on burning fat for energy needs.
This is where high fat diets come in for weight loss; lets look at the three main sources of energy:
Glucose, which comes mainly from carbohydrates, although protein can also be utilised as a glucose source by the body if necessary;
Fats, both from the diet and from stored body fats;
Ketones, which are derived from the metabolism of fats.
If you want to lose weight, the actual material you want to rid your body of is fat. But to do that you have to change your body from using glucose as a fuel to using fat, including your own body fat. Therefore in order to do that you need to restrict your carb intake to about 150 gms a day and this is also why you should use protein as a substitute for carbs, as protein is also converted to glucose.
A shift to using more fatty acids also reduces the body's overall need for glucose. Even during high-energy demand from exercise, a low-carb diet has what are called 'glucoprotective' effects. What this all means is that ketosis arising from a low-carb diet is capable of accommodating a wide range of metabolic demands to sustain body functions and health while not using, and thus sparing, protein from lean muscle tissue. Ketones are also the preferred energy source for highly active tissues such as heart and muscle.
All this means that more glucose is available to the brain and other essential glucose-dependent tissues.
High fat, high protein, and low carb diets work well for fat loss, but only take up diets after careful consideration and selection of the right type of diet for you. Even if you don't take up a diet, just the knowledge that a drop in carbs, should be substituted with and increase in fat is important.