The secret to weight loss is simple: Burn more body fat than you build. But they don't tell you that there's very likely something in your diet that disrupts your metabolism.
Table of Contents
- PUFA-free and low sugar, but still not losing weight? Consider empty calories.
- Variety is the fastest, healthiest way to lose weight
- So what should you eat?
PUFA-free and low sugar, but still not losing weight? Consider empty calories.
When we hear the words “empty calories” most people think of sugar. For the vast majority of us, sugar does act indeed like an empty calorie and, because of this, it typically winds up being stored in the body as fat. Worse than sugar are PUFA-laden seed oils, because these build up in our body fat where they promote inflammation, prediabetes and multiple metabolic diseases. [For more on the role of PUFA-rich seed oils and weight gain, see The FATBURN FIX]
But did you know that even nutrient-dense foods can, when consumed in excess, act like empty calories much like sugar, and will likely be converted to more unwanted body fat?
This means that even if you eat plenty of nutrient dense foods like meats and dairy you may, if you are eating the same things over and over, be forcing your body to convert many of those repeated nutrients into fat.
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For the last month, I have really been reading all labels on everything. I have completely remove those 8 oils you talk about. I must tell you, I feel great! I have more energy and I am now 197 lbs (have always been around 205 to 210lbs). I eat potatoes with real butter, grass fed steak, pasta with the right toppings. I eat everything! I seem to crave less sugar. I love it!
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I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I’m 56 years old. Cutting processed food and unhealthy fats from my diet was one of the first things I did on my health recovery journey...I went cold turkey off the bad oils. Emptied my pantry into the trash and just started eating real food
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Completed Dr Cate's online course
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Dismantles the lie
Dr. Cate dismantles the lie that seed oils are healthy, which may the biggest lie about nutrition and health because it’s so insidious.
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Author of Lies My Doctor Told Me
She knows the chemistry
Dr. Cate alerts us to the harms of seed oils and she’s convincing because she knows the chemistry better than anyone.
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Globally recognized internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist, media personality, LoveLine Host, and New York Times bestselling author
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Physiotherapist coach and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author
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CEO of LowCarbMD San Diego, co-host of Low Carb MD Podcast and host of Life's Best Medicine Podcast
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Brought seed oil issue front and center
Cate brought the seed oil issue front and center. Healthy fats matter. So much so that I created an entire product line to swap out bad fats with good.
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Author of Fat for Fuel and Founder of Mercola.com
Pull up a chair…
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Saved my life
I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine.
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Variety is the fastest, healthiest way to lose weight
What your body wants is a variety of nutrients. On a standard American diet we’re getting far too many calories in as sugar–either from starches or simple sugars–and this means that when people get away from that kind of diet by cutting their carbs and eating more protein-rich foods like meats and fish, often they do very well.
But for some, after a while the weight loss slows. This is likely to occur if someone has flooded their body with, say, certain amino acids and fats like omega-3, and now must convert any more into storage forms of fat.
And for others, energy gains enjoyed shortly after improving their diet suddenly disappear, and new problems may crop up. You are likely to run into these stumbling blocks if your new diet is missing nutrients. For example, in those who have gone grain-free and are also avoiding other seeds and nuts I commonly see digestive and skin disorders consistent with omega-6 fatty acid deficiency.
So what should you eat?
The solution is not to go back to a Standard American diet. The solution is to make sure you are getting as much variety as possible.
If you’re eating the same kinds of foods day in and day out week after week, then you’re continually filling your body’s nutrient stores with stuff it already has in abundance. Cold water fish is high in good proteins and healthy omega 3 fatty acids and other essential fatty acids. But if that’s all you eat, soon those otherwise healthy nutrients will become, in the context of your nutrient profile, relatively empty. I say “empty” not because these things aren’t healthy. I say “empty” because, since your body doesn’t presently have a need for those nutrients, they will likely be stored away in the form of unwanted fat.
Low Carb Fatigue is Often Due to Repetitive Eating
During my recent Low-Carb Poop Out Contest I collected stories from a number of people describing how they experienced real benefits by going low-carb, but then, after several months, hit a wall. Even though they’d cut out the empty calories of sugar and high carb foods, they were suddenly feeling lethargic and grumpy, and some found that their weight loss progress had plateaued.
How can this be? They wondered. I’ve traded an empty SAD diet for a nutrient-dense ketogenic diet! I’m getting plenty of protein every single day and I NEVER cheat! What’s going on here!
What’s going on is that, although the switch toward lower carb was a good one, in many cases the new diet they’ve settled into lacks nutrient variety. They’re often eating the same short list of foods repeatedly and sending their metabolisms an unwavering (and very narrow) bandwidth signal of nutritional information. It’s like tuning your dietary radio to one channel and leaving it there even though the station plays The Rolling Stones records all day long. The Rolling Stones are great, but you’ve got to hear some other stuff to keep from getting stuck in a groove.
When you feel cravings that tell you to wander off course from your new diet, sometimes it makes sense to listen to those cravings and interpret them not as a sign that you need to retreat to the safety of prior habits but rather as requests from your metabolism to jump the fence and wander into some less familiar nutritional territory where different plants and new kinds of wild game offer a panel of nutrients your body hasn’t gotten to take in for a while.
This advice even extends to the area of carbs—yes, those calories that are, for most people most of the time, “empty”—and allow yourself an occasional romp into the land of rice and potatoes.
This may seem like breach of the rules and bylaws of the low-carb community, but I’ve seen enough evidence to convince me that a strict, unwavering adherence to an unvaried diet not only fails to keep a diet interesting enough to stick to in the long term, I’ve also become convinced that, although our bodies do best when we spend most of our time in a ketogenic, fat-burning state, many of us see benefits by taking small vacations from carb-austerity diets and allowing ourselves a little more carb from time to time.
If you are not yet familiar with the Four Pillars of World Cuisine, click here to introduce yourself to the kind of variety the human body craves.
The bottom line is this: Our bodies and our metabolisms are dynamic and receptive to everything we do–and fail to do. We are engineered to respond to, and make the best use of, a constantly shifting dietary input, a nutrient stream that changes with availability and season. One of the problems with the typical SAD diet is that is lacks any of this natural variety: it’s essentially a repeat of the same basic ingredients: sugar, vegetable oils and low-quality protein. But switching to a low carb diet that still lacks variety, while better than the alternative simply by virtue of the fact that it’s a shift, if it too lacks variety then every day that you intake the same ingredients your metabolism has less relatively less use for those nutrients and is forced to store them as fat.
In my next post I will expand our discussion of variety, compare the human metabolism to the muscles of a body builder, and discuss the growing evidence for providing your metabolism with a variety of stresses–meaning there may be benefits to sometimes storing sugars as fat.