How does “weight loss” work and what does fat have to do with it?

4 Aug

Fructose metabolism to glycogen

Fructose metabolism to glycogen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know, it cracks me up when a doctor tells his patient:” you don’t have enough calcium or magnesium or “fill in the blank” in your body” and proceeds writing a prescription. A doctor knows how the body works so I like to give them the benefit of a doubt. (Although I would never go see one as it is my believe they mostly do more damage than good, but that’s another blog down the road LOL) I know it might sound like I am going off in a ten gem, but keep reading and I’ll get to the meat.

We need nutrition for our body to function properly. Vitamins is one of them and is essential to break down protein in your body. Without Vitamins, your body cannot use the protein and other nutrients you put into your body. The human body needs dietary fat to be able to absorb vitamins A, D, E, K; without fats your body becomes deficient in these vitamins. See this chain reaction?  We know fruit has vitamins. But we also know that fruit contains a lot of sugar and sugar will turn into stored fat if it is not used as energy by our bodies. However, we still need the vitamins. So you go to a Vitamin Shop and find yourself some vitamin pills. But you don’t know that pills are harder for your body to break down. And after you bought them you find out your body can only use a part of the vitamin since your stomach acid will eat up most of it. What do you do? You could eat all the fruits or use liquid vitamins (juice your fruits). If you get yourself vitamin supplements, make sure they come in liquid or powder form. I use the “Classic” from  ™Reliv (If you are interested, send me an email). The trick to not loosing or avoid gaining weight is to eat your fruit before 2 pm. We want to avoid raising our insulin level later on in the day and we also do not want the extra sugar to be stored as fat, unless you are very active and burn all that sugar off before bedtime. (oh by the way:Grapefruit is said to help lower insulin levels, which in turn promotes burning of fats in the body.)  Let me explain what insulin does for a second. Insulin is a “storage” hormone. It triggers the conversion of glucose and fatty acids to glycogen and fat, which are deposited in your tissues for future use. In addition, insulin inhibits the oxidation of glucose and fatty acids and the metabolism of proteins and amino acids for energy. Thus, insulin’s net effect is to decrease your daily energy expenditure. According to, insulin often leads to an increase in total body fat as the result of “more efficient use of calories.” Does that make sense? More food = increase blood sugar = increase insulin = fat storage. This is especially bad at night because we don’t “expend” energy for the body to use. Let me get to my point now and talk about what fat has to do with weight loss.
Healthy fats are very important in that they slow digestion and hence, reduce insulin secretion and at the same time, keep you from getting hungry quickly after a meal. They are also beneficial because they create good hormones and enzymes, which are needed to build muscle and reduce body fat. The hard part or real secret is that fats should NOT BE HEATED! Hence, you have some raw almonds … or a tea spoon of flax-seed oil in your protein shake or a bit of olive oil on top of your salad. When you cook/heat/fry fats, they become hydrogenated and they aren’t as beneficial for your body … not to mention, they can increase the potential of getting cancer. I’m not saying go overboard here … but a little bit of healthy fats a day will keep your skin looking younger, increase your sex drive, lubricate your joints and reduce pains and arthritis and has host of other benefits. Besides, without healthy fat you can not lose weight. This is how it works:  During exercise, your body uses glycogen (carbohydrates) first. Fat is harder to access so it uses stored fat after all the glycogen is gone. Also, your body cannot access your fat tank during vigorous exercise. A smart way to get to the fat is, do a higher intensity workout (get your heart rate up to approx. 85% of your maximum heart rate (cardio zone), then reduce it to 65% of your maximum heart rate (fat burning zone). But know this, without some glycogen in your blood (sugar), the body cannot start to burn fat. But also fat is needed to help access the stored carbohydrate (glycogen).
Important facts to know:

One pound of stored fat provides approximately 3,600 calories of energy.                                                                                                                       While these calories are less accessible to athletes performing quick, intense efforts like sprinting or weight lifting, fat is essential for longer, slower lower intensity and endurance exercise such as easy cycling and walking.

Fat provides the main fuel source for long duration, low to moderate intensity exercise (endurance sports such as marathons, and ultra marathons). Even during high intensity exercise, where carbohydrate is the main fuel source, fat is needed to help access the stored carbohydrate (glycogen).

Using fat for fuel for exercise, however, is dependent upon these important factors:

  • Fat is slow to digest and be converted into a usable form of energy (it can take up to 6 hours).
  • Converting stored body fat into energy takes time. The body needs to breakdown fat and transport it to the working muscles before it can be used as energy.
  • Converting stored body fat into energy takes a great deal of oxygen, so exercise intensity must decrease for this process to occur.

For these reasons, athletes need to carefully time when they eat fat, how much they eat and the type of fat they eat. In general, it’s not a great idea to eat fat immediately before or during intense exercise. And for the rest of us, it’s not a great idea to eat it immediately before bed time.

Fat burn in a nutshell:

Burn the glycogen in the muscles first (high intensity, high heart rate) for 20 mins, then switch to low intensity heart rate to use energy from the fat tank (harder for body to access)

credits to


5 Responses to “How does “weight loss” work and what does fat have to do with it?”

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