I did promise to elaborate further on my current love for a high-fat diet… So, if you’d like to know why I’m such an advocate for a high-fat, low-carb and moderate protein diet, keep reading. Below you’ll find why I think it’s a good idea and particularly who it’s a good idea for (not that it’s exclusive to anyone). Also, small disclaimer: I am not an expert or a healthcare professional, the information about the topics I discuss are from personal research, school and readings. I try to explain various ideas as simply as possible and I know some of what I discuss is much more complex than I make it seem. I’m just trying to make my posts as relatable and easy to read as possible!
As you all know from my previous post, I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Hopefully you’ve read it and know what I’m talking about, and if not, click here. Anyway, in my case, and in the case of all others who suffer from PCOS or other hormonal issues, my body does not produce adequate levels of various hormones. Since hormones are such a crucial component to a healthy body, a hormonal deficit or excess can cause some issues.
With PCOS, one of these issues can be insulin resistance. As you probably know, insulin, a hormone, plays a very important role in metabolizing glucose. It is the hormone that allows glucose to enter your bloodstream. Think of it as a key that unlocks the door in each individual cell to allow glucose to enter. Being insulin resistant means that your cells don’t properly respond to this “key”, meaning that if the key doesn’t quite fit, well, the door just won’t open. If glucose can’t enter your bloodstream and be metabolized by your body, it will build up and cause an excess of glucose, which over time, can result in chronic high blood sugar otherwise known as diabetes.
Not to worry, in healthy individuals (unless affected by type 1 diabetes), high blood sugar isn’t a problem, especially when exercise and proper eating habits are practiced. Nonetheless, with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance puts those who suffer from it at higher risk for diabetes. I do not have diabetes, nor do I plan on developing it anytime soon given my most recent diagnosis. I have just chosen to focus on reducing my carbohydrate intake (as carbs are the body’s main source of glucose) to avoid spiking my blood sugar levels and to keep my chances of becoming insulin resistant as low as possible.
So, is glucose bad? No, absolutely not. Glucose is essentially sugar that your body uses (through complex processes) to create energy for itself to function accordingly. But where does it come from? Well, glucose is primarily derived from carbohydrates as mentioned above. Of course, do not get me wrong, we NEED glucose to survive, no human being could function without glucose and therefore, no human being could function without carbs. But let me tell you why I think eating high carb isn’t the best idea…
First of all, as mentioned above, the more carbs you eat, the more glucose your body needs to metabolize and the more insulin needs to be released to do so. When the glucose enters your bloodstream, your blood sugar levels rise. However, the thing with glucose is that it enters and exits the bloodstream fairly quickly, therefore it can -emphasis on can (as it depends on the source of carbohydrates), fluctuate your blood sugar levels rapidly. Even though healthier sources of carbohydrates like vegetables and fruits that contain a lot of fiber thus, slowing down their digestion and complex ones like quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal do not spike your blood sugar levels as much, I personally find that I feel more tired when eating more of them in my diet. Additionally, along with complex carbs such as whole grains comes gluten (a protein in wheat) which can cause many people to have upset stomachs, indigestion and bloating, so I avoid them all together.
*Keep in mind that above I’m talking about HEALTHY sources of complex carbs, imagine how negatively your body reacts to the constant exposure of simple carbs that really spike your blood sugar levels like candies, pop and white bread.
Secondly, an interesting thing to note is that carbohydrate molecules naturally retain water. If you consume mostly carbs in your diet, your chance of retaining more water weight is higher than if you ate more fat and protein, as their molecules do not really retain water and therefore, allow you to be less prone to bloating.
Finally, when you consume too much sugar -of any kind (which remember is sourced from carbohydrates) and your body does not use it for immediate energy or has already stored enough of it for later use, it simply gets converted into fat… Whereas fats and proteins are metabolized differently and guess what? Eating fat DOES NOT make you fat!
Lastly, when you switch your diet to a high-fat, moderate protein and low-carb diet, sourcing your carbs primarily from greens and other veggies (which are very low in sugar), your body will begin to use its glucose energy stores for energy because you aren’t feeding it as many carbs as you used to. When these stores become depleted, your body will learn to use fat as energy and will put your body in a state of ketosis or “fat-burning” mode, where you will essentially burn fat for energy.
PS: did you know that your brain is the biggest consumer of fat!? In a state of ketosis, you will have more energy, burn fat, stay leaner and trust me, feel better. Your energy levels will be more stable, you’ll feel more satiated and you won’t nearly have as many cravings.
Now, at this point, you’re probably asking yourself many questions like what carbs should I eat? What fats should I eat? What does ketosis mean? Although I’d love to answer them all (and I will -soon enough), I’m sure you’ve had enough of me at this point (or maybe you already have…I hope not!). So, I’m going to end this post here because it’s already been a long one –my apologies.
Nonetheless, if you’ve enjoyed reading this, let me know because I would love to discuss ketosis and high-fat dieting in greater depth, and if you didn’t, well I’ll probably post more about it anyway! This post was more of an intro to it all so that you can have enough background information to follow my future discussions.
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this (if you’ve gotten this far), and I hope I’ve peaked your curiosity and perhaps your interest in a newer, more efficient way of eating.