Here’s some biology to explain how a VERY high fat, low carb diet eliminates cravings, despite:
bad sleep/fatigue( situational); stress; actual hunger; worry over kids; fights with the hubs; over-exercise; hanging around the house. ( do they sound like typical excuses to you?)
I always say a Calories In/Calories Out model doesn’t work because we’re NOT a math problem, we’re a CHEMISTRY SET. Our HORMONES RULE, and a low fat, low calorie, high carb diet RUINS OUR HORMONES. It also causes a condition of Metabolic Damage that takes a period of serious consistency to reverse and fix. Anyone can lose weight by starving themselves, but that causes a lot of damage to our metabolism, hormones, and cells. To be a healthy Fat Burner, you need to have cells and hormones that work correctly.
I’ve been mostly Ketogenic, and consistently High Fat Low Carb for a few months now, after years of what I considered HFLC diet; with the addition of a LOT of fat ( up to 5 tablespoons at dinner ALONE ), really positive changes have happened, and it’s inspired some research. Why?
Because after a few months of VERY HIGH FAT/low carb,.. my brain has changed! Thoughts of food, of eating, have STOPPED. Seriously, I have to remind myself to eat lunch and dinner (sometimes) because I’m not really hungry. And sometimes when I am actually hungry, i.e., I feel a lot of hunger in my stomach, I oddly am not rushing to eat food. I’m okay. I didn’t realize this until the other day when I’d had no sleep and felt no desire to comfort myself with food. Not even a second of a thought about it!
What’s happening? It’s so interesting!
In addition to a High Fat diet’s role in building and nourishing the brain, which is 60 to 70% fat, a HFLC diet repairs and reverses LEPTIN Resistance. If you’re overweight, or normal weight but struggle with food cravings, or either normal or overweight and exercise but don’t use your fat stores for fuel, you’re probably Leptin Resistant. Let me back up.
You know that Insulin Resistance (IR) plays a key role in cravings; IR is a result of the high blood sugar and corresponding high Insulin levels necessary to reduce the blood sugar. Insulin is a “Master Hormone”, and other hormones are released – or NOT – in response to Insulin being present in the blood.
Remember, as long as Insulin is in the blood, FAT WON’T BE BURNED FOR FUEL. Fat will just be stored. When Insulin is in the blood, a lot of our excess Carb/glucose is converted to TRIGLYCERIDES.
Leptin. Leptin regulates ALL the hormones of the body: Insulin, thyroid, sex hormones, all of them.
Leptin Resistance means the cells don’t accept Leptin inside; the cell doors are shut. If the cells don’t get leptin INSIDE, correct messages don’t get sent out.
Which messages? After we eat, our fat cells should spit out leptin and that leptin should go to our hypothalamus and deliver the signal that we’ve had enough to eat and it’s time to turn off the hunger. Excessive simple sugars ( from carbs) destroy the cells ability to “receive” leptin, because INSULIN blocks the Leptin receptor. Remember: high carbs ALWAYS mean high Insulin. Always.
Triglycerides, made from EXCESS CARBS, also block leptin receptors!!!
When the leptin can’t get INSIDE the cell, the signal to shut off hunger doesn’t happen. Another link in the cravings chain: when we eat food, the neurotransmitter DOPAMINE is released, and dopamine makes us feel pleasure when eating. Leptin, when it gets inside our brain cells, stops the release of dopamine, which stops the pleasurable feelings associated with eating. If the cells are Leptin Resistant, the dopamine keeps flowing, the good feeling/desire to eat overrides a full stomach, and we eat too much.
Leptin INSIDE our brain cells UP-REGULATES the thyroid; that means metabolism turns UP. Leptin RESISTANT cells DOWN-REGULATE thyroid, that means a slower metabolism.
More? Our MUSCLE CELLS HAVE LEPTIN RECEPTORS TOO. When there’s leptin resistance in MUSCLE CELLS, fat is not burned in those cells, fat is stored in fat tissue instead. Sugar/Glucose is the only fuel left for the muscles to burn. A damaged/closed cell can’t even do that. CHRONIC FATIGUE sets in due to lack of actual “energy”. This happens EVEN IF YOU RUN MARATHONS but live on a HIGH CARB diet. Sound familiar? You exercise a ton but can’t lose weight? You don’t have correct cell function, all over your body. You MUST have CORRECT CELL FUNCTION TO BURN FAT.
More? Insulin Resistance and Leptin Resistance are a guarantee you have a FATTY LIVER. Our LIVER controls what fuels get burned; our LIVER is the LARGEST SOURCE OF CALORIE BURN IN OUR BODY, our heart and brain are next, and then our muscles. You want a perfectly functioning liver. Trust me.
How does a HIGH FAT LOW CARB diet – with a TON of vegetables, some fruit ( maybe, depends on your blood sugar), healthy proteins, some nuts and seeds, and maybe some high fat dairy ( blood sugar/allergy) affect these conditions?
First, Insulin is immediately lowered, because there’s less SUGAR in the blood. Less Insulin means less TRIGLYCERIDES, LESS INFLAMMATION, LESS CELL DAMAGE (from the insulin and glucose), and less sugar turning into fat(triglycerides), and stored in the liver or fat cells.
Less Insulin and less sugar mean the LEPTIN RECEPTORS in the BRAIN will become NORMAL and accept the Leptin. Dopamine production and use will REGULATE, and be NORMAL. You’ll – eventually – start to feel NORMALLY satisfied after a meal. The NORMAL amounts of dopamine will also mean you’re not constantly searching for “more pleasure” from your food, which causes you to eat when you shouldn’t.
A HFLC diet means that Insulin Receptors and Leptin Receptors will – eventually – return to NORMAL, and functioning.
The high fat, and the anti-oxidants, the vitamins the minerals the phytonutrients ( from cholesterol – which IS an anti-oxidant, and the protein/vegetables/fruits/nuts/seeds) will eventually repair damaged cells ( 100% of EVERY CELL MEMBRANE IN OUR BODY IS MADE FROM FAT AND CHOLESTEROL), and reduce and eliminate INFLAMMATION.
We don’t burn fat calories, lose weight, build muscle and GET HEALTHY until we have NORMAL, HEALTHY, CELL FUNCTION.
How? A Real Whole Food diet that’s high in fat, low in carbs, and high in nutrients; good exercise, stress management, and sleep. Lack of sleep creates a hormonal situation, as does stress, that also block Insulin and Leptin Receptors. Oh, and you must be CONSISTENT in your efforts. Too many people I talk to are so on and off the Healthy Train that results are small or non-existent.
Time and consistency matter, because it takes LONGER for our muscle cells to be leptin sensitive – and use fat for fuel – than for our brain to become leptin sensitive. Isn’t that interesting??
Want to learn more? Invest yourself!! I’m attaching some links to articles written by a brilliant Neurosurgeon who’s done a TON of research on leptin, and an Endocrinologist who’s also done a ton of research on leptin, and a podcast by a leader in the Leptin field.
Read, listen, and learn. Apply what you hear to yourself. Take notes, think about it, if you’re a client, let’s talk about it. If you’re not a client yet, and want to be, get in touch with me. You can change your body, you can lose weight, get healthy, and become NORMAL; sometimes this happens easily, and sometimes you’re so metabolically damaged, that it takes a while, but it will happen, I promise.
Here’s the Resources: