Are You a Sugar Burner or Fat Burner?
The old school mentality still held within the health, performance and nutrition community is that glucose (sugar) is the best fuel source for the human being. Our entire “healthy” lifestyle model is built around this concept. The foods we are told to eat (whole grains) and the type of exercise that is best (steady state cardio) are predicated on the outdated myth that we need a constant supply of sugar to survive and thrive.
It must be true! Dr. Oz says so! Our red blood cells, our brains and our organs all depend on glucose (sugar) to function. How could we live without it? “That’s why I need pasta and bread, right?”
While it is true, and our intelligent body will always do its best to adapt to this lifestyle – eat plenty of glucose in any form and your body gets really good at using it for fuel, it’s still far from optimal.
One problem is that your body only has the capacity to store a small amount of glucose in your liver and muscles (one reason why strength training is so vital) and the result of its depletion is your incessant need for more of it – morning, afternoon and bedtime cravings are commonplace for anyone dependent on sugar as fuel. Another issue is that your stored sugar is best for emergency use, not being used up on moment-to-moment activity better fuelled by fat.
Yes. FAT is the preferred fuel source for the human body and it’s been this way for a very long time. Throughout the longest part of our history, our fuel sources have come from fat and protein in the form of healthy animal sources. It’s only the past few hundred years that we’ve watched that change dramatically. And our health levels have followed suit and plummeted to a frightening place in which 30% of North Americans are considered obese. It’s not simply eating fat that makes you fat.
The good news – we have plenty of fat available for energy. The bad news – you’re just not well adapted to using it (any more). The solution is to help your body get back to its By Design state, back to being a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. What’s exciting about this switch is the better use of stored fat as your fuel (which means FAT LOSS) and improved blood sugar regulation as your body no longer requires sugar as its main fuel source. All this translates to better sleep, more available energy, better focus and hundreds of other known effects.
How do you do it? Eat By Design. The first week or two can be tough as your body adjusts to this new way of eating and your brain wraps itself around going without all those sweet tastes and sugar-driven energy spikes. Switching from burning sugar as your main fuel source to fat (ketoadaptation) takes a few days to a few weeks. During this time you may not feel great, but you’ll be functioning just as you should. Trust your body and support it by staying focused on animal sources of protein and plenty of good fats along with your fruits and veggies.