Most people have been getting dietary advice all wrong. Eat less, move more works only for some people for a period of time, but it is not solid long-term dietary advice. Low carbohydrate diets again and again show greater weight loss, increase in HDL, reduction in blood pressure, resolving diabetes and metabolic syndrome and also reduce risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in numerous studies. So why do we still give the wrong information? In the next few articles, we will look at how the body becomes fat and the best performing dietary change for weight loss: a low carb/high fat diet.
In order to understand how the body burns fat, you must first understand fat production. Here’s a look at how food you eat becomes fat in the body:
When you eat food that contains fat — mostly triglycerides — the fat goes through your stomach and enters the intestines. In the intestines, the following happens:
- Large fat molecules mix with bile salts from the gall bladder. The mixture then breaks down into smaller droplets called micelles, increasing the fat’s surface area.
- The pancreas secretes enzymes called lipases that attaches to the surface of each micelle and break the fats down into, glycerol and fatty acids.
- These parts get absorbed into the cells lining the intestine.
- In the intestinal cell, the parts are reassembled into triglycerides, with a protein coating called chylomicrons. The protein coating makes the fat dissolve more easily in water.
- The chylomicrons are released into the lymphatic system for transport.
- The lymphatic system eventually merges with the veins, at which point the chylomicrons pass into the bloodstream.
When your body burns fat, surprisingly the fat cells themselves do not go anywhere. Your body doesn’t actually lose fat cells (though it can create more fat cells, when the ones it has become too full). “Burning fat” is the result of using stored fat as energy, which causes the fat cells to shrink.
In our next article, we will take a look at how fat is burned. Stay tuned!
Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss. You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.
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