TCC Science of Fat Loss Part 3.2 (Addendum 2)
Important points to make before we continue (Part 2)…
The process of storing and releasing fat is in a constant tug of war inside your fat cells. It’s not like when one process is dominant the other is completely switched off. It just comes down to which one is MORE dominant.
Your Fat is in a Constant State of Flux
This process of always being broken down and rebuilt is called being in a state of flux.
Scientists call the flux cycle of your fat cell the Fatty Acid / Triacylglycerol cycle
If more fatty acids are bound to glycerol than are free, fat will accumulate. If more are free than bound, your fast cell will decrease in size.
Think of it like trying to fill up a bag of sand while someone is shovellibg it out the other end. If you put more in the bag than gets emptied, your bag will be bigger at the end of the day. If you put sand in slower than the other person is taking it out, your bag will be less full at the end of the day.
This means that to lose fat, you have to influence this state of flux. You have to spend more time emptying the sand bag than filling it.
Control this flux, control your fat.
In future series, we will explore what happens after and between meals, what hormones affect this flux and how ultimately you can create an environment that best controls this flux to work in your favour.
A Few Points On Insulin
Insulin. The double negative.
You learned in previous articles that insulin is the main regulator of your LPL. The fat storage enzyme.
Insulin also works as a very powerful inhibitor of HSL. If insulin levels are high, it not only tells your fat cells to store fat, it prevents your fat cells from releasing fat. The inhibitory effects of insulin are also greater than the excitatory effects of certain hormones that try and stimulate fat release!
This makes sense though. Insulin is a response to blood sugar levels. If blood sugar is on the rise, this means all your current energy needs are easily and excessively being met by glucose. You wouldn’t want your fat cells to release anything. Your body would have nothing to do with it.
This means, if you have chronically elevated levels of insulin such as what occurs in insulin resistance, like in Type II diabetes, you are basically in a metabolic environment that is built for fat storage.
In real world terms, this means it’s easier for the lean to get leaner and the fat to get fatter. If you are in this metabolic situation your body does NOT process the macronutrients – especially carbohydrates – the same way. You cannot eat the same amount of sugar as your fitspo on instagram. It simply won’t work for you the same way.
I’ve alluded a couple of times to different hormones having an affect on your fat cells. Insulin obviously has come up a few times and I have also just mentioned insulin resistance in the context of Type II diabetes.
How receptive a cell is to a signal can greatly influence how much of a hormone needs to be released. You know when someone in a room just keeps talking and talking and talking and you start to tune them out? Your cells do the same thing.
In the case of insulin, for example, if you constantly eat foods that demand a large chronic insulin output, your fat cells start to become full. When this happens, they then start to “tune off” and decrease their sensitivity to insulin. If you keep having foods that “demand to be heard”, your body will then start trying to speak louder to them, by releasing more insulin.
In this way, insulin resistance means that your body has to release a greater amount of insulin to get the same affect. Someone who doesn’t have insulin resistance, doesn’t have this problem. Their body will only release a smaller amount of insulin as their cells are listening attentively.
Insulin resistance is always a pre cursor to Type II diabetes and is one of the issues involved with people who become obese. Not in all cases, but most of them.
Your sensitivity to insulin can change over time depending on factors such as your diet and exercise. This is one of the reasons why scientists are looking at fasting as an option for treating obesity in recent years. One of the ways in which fasting can help is not only because it drops someones “calorie” intake, but because it helps to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. You go “cold turkey” so to speak and your insulin resistance starts to reverse and glucose tolerance improves.
Keep in mind, this isn’t an either you’re resistant or not resistant type of situation. It works on more of a spectrum. Genetics definitely has a role, but you can also alter where your body sits on this spectrum.
How receptive you are to a hormone can be a powerful influence on your results. It also governs how much of a hormone your body has to release in order to get noticed. Improve your cells receptivity to hormones, you will change how your “calories” need to be processed. This will go for ALL of the hormones we will discuss in later parts.
You Will NEVER Be No Carb
Can’t stand when people learn a few basics on insulin and then magically make the leap of faith to eliminating carbs as being the answer.
“Eliminate carbs. Eliminate insulin! Easy! Then I can eat all the fat I want!”
Yeah…doesn’t really work that way
Your body can always convert excess glucose to fat. But you can never convert fat back in to glucose. It’s impossible for your body to convert fatty acids in to glucose. It must be burned as fat.
You can, however, manufacture your own glucose. Your body does this by using amino acids (from diet or body tissue). And certain organs and your brain can even use ketone bodies (a by product of fat breakdown) for energy
BUT!! Also remember the Glycerol backbone!
Remember when your body released fatty acids, it couldn’t re-use the glycerol backbone? It had to be sent to the liver for conversion?
This means, even if you go no carb, your body will get some glucose from the glycerol backbones, and also from gluconeogenesis from amino acids.
Answer? You can control carb intake. You can never eliminate carbohydrates from your system. You can control insulin. You will never eliminate it from your system.
Not saying that controlling carbohydrate it is not an effective way to lose body fat, just clearing up the misconceptions people have about the process in which it works.
Coming Up In Part 4 – What Happens After You Eat?