Most people, especially those struggling with their weight, have become sugar burners, meaning their bodies run off glucose for energy. They don’t have access to the energy ‘trapped’ in their fat cells.
To find out if you’re currently a sugar burner answer these questions with a Yes or No:
- Do you often experience hunger or feel “hangry” within 3-4 hours of eating?
- Do you find yourself reactively snacking between meals or after dinner?
- Do you often have trouble feeling full or satiated after meals?
- Do you crave something sweet after meals, even though you feel full?
- Is your preference for carb and sugar-rich processed foods like bread, pasta, rice, cookies, chocolate, lollies or ice cream?
- Would you like to lose some weight around your mid-section?
- When you wake up, do you often feel like eating something almost straight away?
If you answered Yes more often than No then your body is mostly in sugar-burning fat-storing mode.
The traditional Western diet is high in processed carb-based foods and drinks, and our bodies have adapted to using carbohydrate (not fat) as the fuel source.
We’d like to explain how you can turn your source of fuel from carbs to utilising body fat and dietary fat as your body’s source of energy.
This requires a change in your diet to reduce the level of blood glucose that your body would normally rely on for its preferential energy source. Your body needs to be trained to convert fat to energy and so you no longer need to top up glucose to power you through the day.
Fat adaptation is a longer-term state where instead of using the glucose in your blood your body uses both your fat stores and dietary fat to convert fatty acids into ketone bodies for energy. This normally happens when you are consuming up to 25gm of carbohydrate a day, which is where the Reset Phase 1 eating plan starts. It is known as ketosis. When your body uses ketones as a fuel it can also improve brain function.
The good news is that you don’t need to be in ketosis to be fat-adapted. Once you are fat adapted if you have carbs now and then is no problem, provided they are not excessive. Once your blood sugar and insulin levels subside your body will return to burning fat.
Be aware that your insulin levels must be low to access body fat as an energy source.
These 4 simple steps will help you to become fat adapted:
1.Eat a low carb diet to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
When you have lower insulin levels a signal is sent to your liver to start burning fat and making ketones. If you are not very active or can’t exercise then you may need to reduce your carbs to a lower level. Diet and exercise are two factors in reducing glycogen (energy) stores in your liver and muscles.
Rule 1 – Be aware of products which have little protein and lots of sugar: cookies, sauces, dressings, rice, pasta, cereals, sweets, and some fruits and vegetables.
The worst foods are low in protein and combine sugar (or processed starches) with fat. Think pizza, oil-fried chips, regular chocolate, ice cream and donuts.
2.Eat measured amounts of natural unprocessed fats
When you reduce starchy carbs, replace them with adequate protein first and then good fat second, but limit your fat intake initially. Fat is great for skin and brain health. Fat and protein create satiety and may prevent overeating.
Rule 2 – Good fats include the fats that are naturally occurring in meats, fish, dairy and eggs, and coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, avocados, and butter.
3.Time restricted eating 12+ hours
The time when you are not eating trains your cells to run on fat and your body can effectively utilize stored fat in the absence of food.
If you miss a meal the body can produce energy from the fat stores to keep your energy levels up. This is an easy and sustainable way to lose visceral fat, the fat that most people hate, in and around their tummy area.
Rule 3 – Eat your last meal at night earlier and your first meal of the day later so that you have at least 12 hours break between them. This is the easiest way to start as most of us have 7-9 hours of sleeping in between. Have a glass of water by your bed to have on waking. This will fill your tummy a little and help with managing the delay for your first meal.
4.Exercise will make fat adaption easier
No matter what kind of exercise you enjoy both strength and endurance increase insulin sensitivity which help you resume fat burning.
Rule 4 – If you are not currently exercising try a 5-10 minute walk before or after every meal. Try this. If you do that 3 times a day that’s 30 minutes of exercise each day. Do that daily and it’s 210 minutes each week.
When will I know if I’m fat-adapted?
The simple answer is a reduction in hunger. Another way is when you’re so busy you forget to eat a meal and/or snack but feel fine, not hungry and with plenty of physical and mental energy. It’s a freedom!
If you are successful in becoming fat-adapted there are many weight and health benefits that you will enjoy:
- Fat loss, particularly around your tummy area
- Cravings for carbs are reduced or eliminated
- You become less hungry
- More stable moods
- Increased energy – more stable with no more highs and lows
- Less oxidative stress on your body and joints
- Increased capacity for physical and mental ability
- Your doctor may notice other health improvements
Now’s the best time to start to teach your body how to burn fat instead of glucose for fuel.
If you would like some extra coaching to get you there our coaches can help you. Fill out the form below and we’ll contact you for a chat.