If you’ve been trying to lose weight but haven’t had any success yet, then understanding how your body uses calories for energy can make a huge difference in how you approach your weight loss program.
We get our energy from fat, carbs and protein and which one the body uses as fuel depends on the type of activity you’re doing. Most people want to burn fat for energy, which makes sense because the more fat we use as fuel, the less fat we have in our bodies.
Storing Or Burning Fat
But using more fat doesn’t necessarily lead to losing more fat. Understanding how to effectively burn fat begins with some basic principles about how our bodies get their energy. Almost all the carbs eaten are transformed into blood sugar, which is our primary supply of energy.
The amount of sugar in our blood influences how hungry or lively we feel, both key factors of how we are approaching our diet and exercise routine. In other words, it determines whether we burn the fat or preserve it.
The pancreas produces insulin that carries the blood sugar into the cells where it’s converted to energy. Eating refined grains (e.g. white rice, white bread, white pasta, etc.), sugar or other simple carb-rich foods that are rapidly converted into blood sugar, forces the pancreas to make more insulin in order to convert this blood sugar to energy.
The insulin rush tells the body that it has enough energy and it must stop burning fat and instead preserve it. This removes too much blood sugar from the blood, which lowers our blood sugar and insulin levels, leaving us worn-out and craving for even more high-sugar food.
Normal And Abnormal Blood Sugar Levels
Normal blood sugar levels fall in the range of 70 to 100 mg/dl. Now, after each meal, the blood sugar levels usually rise to 135 to 140 mg/dl. But if blood sugar rises above 180 to 200 mg/dl, then it surpasses the kidneys’ ability to reabsorb the glucose and we begin to eliminate glucose into the urine (Glycosuria).
To keep the blood sugar levels within a safe range, pay attention to your food servings and avoid any processed foods. Since fruits, vegetables and whole grains are high in more complex carbohydrates and fiber, they are gradually absorbed into the blood, which lowers our feelings of hunger.
On the other side, heavily processed foods are not only low in nutritional value, but they prolong our sense of hunger so we eat more of them. Processed foods are made from tasteless refined ingredients that are “enriched” with high amounts of salt, sugar, fat and deceiving advertising to make them more appealing.
What Foods Raise Blood Sugar
Here is a breakdown of the main food types you should stay away from:
- Simple Carbs (or refined sugars) – Simple carbs (e.g. white flour products, milk, yoghurt, candy, chocolate, fruit, fruit juice, jam, biscuits, etc.) are quickly absorbed into the blood and are most likely to produce an insulin rush.
- Processed Foods – Examples include white bread, ketchup, chips, sugary breakfast cereals, ham, bacon, salami, salad dressing, canned food, peanut butter, etc.
- Fat-Free Foods – Sugar is frequently used to “spice” the fat-free foods and because there is no fat to lower its impact, it is quickly absorbed into the blood.
Staying In Fat-Burning Mode
Every time you miss a meal, your metabolism slows to preserve your energy. The same thing occurs when you go on a crash diet and lose weight too fast – your body takes it as a threat and begins to store fat and instead lose weight from muscle and water. That is why crash diets work against you. To lose weight you must access stored fat.
Controlling your blood sugar levels is the best way to remain in a fat-burning mode. Always eat three meals per day and eat fiber-rich snacks between your meals. Eating at small intervals provides consistent levels of energy and ensures that your metabolism works at its full potential.
Use crunchy veggies and fruits or a few whole grain baked crackers. Always combine them with a good source of protein: handful of nuts, plain Greek yogurt sweetened with Stevia, turkey cutlets, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
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Have a great Skinny Day!