Let me preface this little post by saying that everyone’s body chemistry is different and it can even change over time. Haha, I actually like onions now after hating them my whole childhood/adolescence but I digress. Also, some people can eat a lot of complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown rice, or whole wheat bread and still lose fat. Others are not so lucky.
The same thing goes for a ketogenic or borderline ketogenic lifestyle (notice I didn’t use the d word!).
Ketosis is simply a state where ketone bodies are produced at levels over 0.5 mM. The ketone production is caused by very low and stable levels of insulin and glucose. As you probably know, glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrates after their breakdown.
In this state, most of the cells in your body are fueled by free fatty acids (jackpot!) that are derived from the breakdown of adipose tissue or fat cells.
Understand: Most people are almost entirely dependent on glycolysis for energy. In layman’s terms their bodies are only capable of utilizing sugar for energy which makes it very difficult to burn fat! Also, insulin remains elevated and insulin is very efficient at shuttling calories to fat cells. Think about a great group of ushers filling up a movie theater with patrons. The movie theater is your fat cell, the usher is insulin, and the patrons are calories.
Understand: The only way for you to burn fat is to induce a fat burning environment by way of nutrition and exercise. Burning calories is an important aspect of this, but more importantly you want to teach your body to use fat as fuel!
The point: Going low carb is a great idea if you are trying to change your habits and teach your body how to burn fat. This is exactly how you “get your metabolism going”. Remember, your body is naturally lazy in this respect because it’s main job is to ensure your survival. I’m really cutting the crap and getting real with you in this post so I hope it is received well :).
What is low carb?
You can realistically keep your total daily carbohydrate intake to 50-60 net carbs/day.
Net carbs= Total # of carbs- Fiber.
Another point: There is an optimal time to have a decent amount and that is before and after your workout. During this window you can put your glycolysis (insulin) to work on building muscle.
My last point: There is definitely something to having a healthy respect for the glycemic index to control insulin levels. Lower glycemic index foods are “good carbs” which spike insulin less and therefore encourage less fat storage.
For a great reference of where certain foods fall on the glycemic index, go to: https://ultimatepaleoguide.com/glycemic-index-food-list/