Weight loss study (V)

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They say our body is a hybrid car. It can be fueled by glucose, protein and fat at the same time, it’s just that the main fuel used varies with the speed. Then, from the perspective of a weight reducer, it is natural to want this car to burn as much fat as possible, and it is better not to touch the protein, lest we lose muscle. Unfortunately, this matter is not up to us, the body has its own rules.

Our daily food intake consists of high carbohydrates (starchy), proteins (animal and vegetable proteins), fats and dietary fiber. The body controls them in a rather subtle way: the high carbohydrates are absorbed and then quickly turned into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. With the help of the hormone insulin, glucose enters the organs and cells for nourishment and provides the body with energy. In the event that glucose is not consumed, it is stored in the liver (liver glycogen) and muscles (muscle glycogen), respectively. And when the body is low on energy and blood sugar drops, with the help of the hormone glucagon, liver glycogen and muscle glycogen are broken down and turned back into glucose for the body to use.

Here you can see that insulin and glucagon are a pair of hormones with completely opposite functions. Insulin is used to lower blood glucose concentration and synthesize the body’s organ tissues and cells, while glucagon is used to raise blood glucose concentration, break down glycogen and fat, and supply energy to the body. Therefore, insulin is dedicated to the body’s synthetic reactions and glucagon is dedicated to the body’s anabolic reactions (catabolism).

High carbohydrates, proteins and fats can all be involved in this process, but not with the same efficacy. Glucose is the body’s favorite because it is the most convenient to store and use, directly from the blood when needed and from the liver and muscles if there is not enough in the blood, like a purse for energy, while fat is a different concept, I should say that it is a specialized form of energy storage in the body, equivalent to a bank for energy. Compared to the wallet, it is a bit more complicated to take from the bank. Simply put, fat cannot directly supply energy, it needs to be broken down into fatty acids and glycerol, and then through a series of complex chemical changes, it can eventually become energy.

The specific metabolic process is actually very complex, but this is not the focus of today’s discussion. Our body is like a very complex and sophisticated instrument, with many different chemical reactions going on every second. With our knowledge and calculation power, it is probably difficult to grasp the whole picture precisely. Therefore, we might as well focus on insulin.

As mentioned earlier, insulin is dedicated to the body’s synthetic reactions and glucagon is dedicated to the body’s allosteric reactions, so for people who need to lose weight, they would prefer insulin to rest more and glucagon to work more. This way our fat is broken down more, and then the person becomes naturally leaner. From the analysis of the reports I have seen, the reasoning seems to be true. When insulin starts to be produced, the breakdown of fat decreases and even stops. The body is not like an elementary school math application problem that likes to get those cisterns with one pipe draining and one pipe draining things. Then we naturally think, can we make insulin secretion less, or even not secrete?

The nature of insulin is that as long as you eat, it will definitely be secreted, it is just a matter of different types of food, corresponding to the amount of insulin. Physiologists have confirmed that insulin is extremely sensitive to high carbohydrates. As long as refined rice and flour are consumed, as long as rice and flour are rich in starch, then blood sugar will rise rapidly, and along with insulin will be secreted rapidly in large quantities. Protein is much better in comparison. Among the high carbohydrates, proteins and fats, insulin is the least sensitive to fat and elevates at a very low rate and magnitude.

That’s the idea of a low-carb diet, and that’s the idea of a ketogenic diet. They both lower the intake of high carbohydrates and raise the intake of protein or fat, so as to curb insulin secretion, lower the insulin concentration in the body, enhance and prolong the time of the anisotropic reaction, thus achieving the purpose of controlling blood sugar concentration and breaking down fat. The difference lies in the different ratios of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, with the low-carb diet being higher in protein and the ketogenic diet being higher in fat, while the proportion of carbohydrates should be reduced to less than 10%.

This is still the idea of intermittent fasting or light fasting, which is the idea that as long as eating causes insulin secretion, so wouldn’t not eating at all be non-secretory? However, it is not possible for people not to eat, so can we make the duration of fasting as long as possible? Let the time of eating be compressed as much as possible? By banning snacks and extra meals, controlling the eating window and leaving 16 hours or more of the day for glucagon to function, so that it is not disturbed by insulin and can concentrate on fat breakdown? Eventually, the time to achieve the anabolic reaction is much longer than the synthetic reaction time, so as to achieve the purpose of weight loss.

Therefore, a comprehensive analysis of the above we can conclude that the more popular low-carb diet, ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, they are no longer the traditional idea of breaking the caloric balance, but to focus on the body hormones. Specifically, this is a way to achieve weight loss by changing the structure of the diet to regulate the concentration of insulin and glucagon in the body. In this sense, even low-fat diets should be included in this category of approaches.

So far in this discussion, we have been doing our analysis in a static setting. But we also all know that weight loss actually consists of two parts, one part is about sixty to seventy percent of the dietary structure, and the rest is attributed to exercise. Back to the analogy we saw at the beginning: if the human body is a hybrid car, how can we make it burn more fat?

The body is unusually quick to pay for glucose when it runs out of energy, but it holds on to fat like a miser and refuses to let go. So what to do? Without glucose, but still need to continue to pay, it does not have to move the old capital? Therefore, the combination of exercise and several of the above dietary structures is to reduce the intake of high carbohydrates, thus reducing the sugar content of the body. By burning off glucose first through diet and exercise, it forces the body to break down fat to continue to supply energy. The shift from burning glucose primarily to burning fat primarily. In practice, I have seen the idea that when performing aerobic exercise at 70-80% of the maximum exercise heart rate, the body goes into fat-burning mode. The specific formula is.

Heart rate = (220 - current age number) x 70%

Therefore, I myself in the aerobic process, as far as possible in more than half an hour, to control their heart rate at 120-140 times / min, mostly controlled at about 130 times. When the heart rate continues to exceed 140, down after a lot of hydration, then occasionally heart discomfort will occur.

Of course, our bodies are already well adapted to burning glucose, and a sudden change in fuel can result in many uncomfortable conditions. These include, but are not limited to, headaches, nausea, mild dehydration, decreased sleep quality, and skin rashes. In general, most conditions can be alleviated by rehydration and electrolytes, especially salt. Moreover, the body will gradually adapt over time. Many people have doubts about whether the fat burning method will cause a lack of energy and concentration. Here I would like to retell the favorite story of the school of thought.

The human body has evolved over tens of thousands of years, and the way it works must adapt to the human condition. Imagine that in ancient times, humans lived a full and hungry life. When there was a flood, fire, or famine, it was likely that food would not be available for a long time. At this time, human beings had to break down the fat function and use it to fight for their lives. Well, if the way of burning fat function makes human beings slow reaction and low energy, then it means that their hands are not steady and eyes are not accurate when they go out hunting, and the possibility of catching prey is greatly reduced. May I ask, if our body uses fat to supply energy when the function is reduced, then would not humans have become extinct long ago? Therefore, during the short period when humans are hungry and living on their own fat, they should be quick-eyed and quick to react. Humans with such physical characteristics have a better chance of surviving to pass on their DNA to us.

Last but not least, all experts in insulin-controlled weight loss have repeatedly warned readers that people who are already suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and are on long-term medication, as well as those with liver and kidney insufficiency, and pregnant women, children, and senior citizens, need to consult their doctors and try similar weight loss only under the guidance and monitoring of a medical professional. Otherwise, it is possible that the resulting harm is far greater than the benefits.

(to be continued)

Title photo photography by Ramez E. Nassif

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