Benefits of a Fat Metabolism
The physical, mental and emotional benefits of operating while in a fat metabolism are extensive. Positive changes begin at the cellular level and affect the health of the cells, the amount of energy produced, and even one’s emotions on a physiological level. If you want to skip reading the rest of this blog post and get to the spoiler, here you go: while on a fat metabolism your body runs like an indefatigable victorious goddess with increased power at the cellular level and a sharpened mind ready to take on any challenges that may come your way.
Now for the details.
The amount of energy the body can produce from fat is much, much higher. First, for every molecule of fat the body can get 48 “energy units,” while for every molecule of glucose it can only get 36 (1, 2). Second, when more fat is consumed the mitochondria actually undergo epigenetic changes (tiny genetic changes) to become stronger and more efficient, thereby increasing the amount of energy from each cell (3). In fact, they even start creating more new mitochondria (4). This does not happen when they burn glucose for fuel. The fuel source is richer and the machines to turn that fuel into energy just got an upgrade.
Happy mitochondrial mean more than just increased energy. Mitochondrial are responsible for repairing and regenerating our cells (5). When they are dysfunctional they tell cells to die when they shouldn’t (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have been linked to the premature death of brain cells). In fact, Alzheimer’s patients who had a high fat source added to their diet significantly improved in memory (6, 7).
A common denominator in pretty much every disease is mitochondrial dysfunction (8). Examples include autism, brain aging, depression, and cancer (1). Each of these has been shown to be positively affected as the body starts to heal itself while in a high fat, low carb diet.
When our bodies become fat adapted the amount of free radicals, oxidative stress (1), and inflammation (9) in our bodies reduce, which – you guessed it – have all been linked to pretty much every major disease out there. The body becomes more resistant to viruses and bacteria (16). Multiple types of tumors have been shown to shrink in various animal populations and their lives extended (10).
Science has already begun to research the positive, healing effects this diet has on many different health conditions as well as its ability to prevent them. For a working list, complete with links to relevant studies, click here.
The brain (and heart) runs 25% more efficiently on a fat metabolism. Memory and learning improve (4). Overexcitation and oxidative stress decreases in the brain, both of which are related to all diseases affecting the brain (1). Many epileptic patients fed a high fat, low carb diet saw their seizures go away and stay away even after they stopped the diet (11). A high fat, low carb diet even provides a protective effect in the brain against all its disorders (12).
When your body is in a fat metabolism it releases the hormone GABA which helps regulate stress (1). Animals fed a high fat, low carb diet retained smooth brain waves for 60% longer during periods of high stress than animals fed high carb diets (13). A high fat diet has been shown to be effective with ADHD, depression and bipolar as well (14).
If you switch your body into a fat metabolism you can pretty much kiss all unwanted fat goodbye. Since your body has the ability to store fat (in case it needs it later) it will always use the carbs it consumes first. If you are constantly eating enough carbs to supply your body with energy then your body is going to constantly store the fat. When you switch into a fat metabolism your body will start using any excess fat cells for energy until you reach the ideal weight for your body type – without going hungry. Chronic obesity patients all saw a significant reduction of weight without using any portion control on what they ate (15).
It’s a Big Change
Switching the body to a fat metabolism is like a “reset” for its health. It sparks unwanted fat to burn away, it restores the energy machines of the body, and regenerates health at a cellular level. The longer a high fat, low carb diet is maintained, more and more carbs can be consumed while still maintaining fat burning prowess. However, most people, like myself, whose fat burning ability got burnt out from carb and sugar overload, need to eat very low carb and high fat for a time to restore the body’s ability to properly use fat again.
Eating this way requires a big change from the standard American diet. It’s not something that can happen overnight. Just like our bodies the way we eat is an interrelated process where one part affects the other. Every change you make to your diet will affect you in some way. Because of this I found it was much easier to take it step by step (link to getting started). This allowed my habits, routines, and taste buds all time to adjust and lessened the effects of withdrawal and detox. Doing it this way was stress free -even fun! But not nearly as much fun as it is to now live every day symptom free with increased energy, clearer thinking, and a more positive mood.