Fat Burning and Sugar Burning

by admin on June 11, 2010

I want to consider describing your day.  Is your day pretty level?  Do you wake up pretty easily?  Do you wake up ready to go?  Can you just kind of roll out of bed and be started on your day?  Do you have a nice, easy day, with not many highs or lows, and then fall asleep fairly easily, within about 10, 15 minutes?  That’s the way I want you to be.  The problem is, many of the people that come to our clinic anyway, their days are nothing but highs and lows.  And lows are real low.  Now, what do you think I find is the reason  for most of those conditions?  It usually has to do with blood sugar.  So if you can describe your day as being high at some time, and then a lot of crabby time, maybe moody, just no energy and maybe you go have some sugar and that’s how you get back high.

If you depend on Coke or some other soft drink, if you’re depending on coffee to stimulate your energy, then you need to consider the fact that you are on your way to diabetes, most likely.  The most common reason for those highs and lows is that you’ve got hypoglycemia.  Now that’s not a disease.  What it means is that your body doesn’t really have the ability or the inclination to burn fat in between meals, that it’s so used to having high/lows of sugar that it overreacts or it’s forced to overreact because you put too much sugar into the system and the body has to overcompensate and actually puts away more sugar than it should.  Basically the insulin response is too high, now you’ve got hypoglycemia, which just means your body overreacted.  It means that you don’t maintain a blood sugar level that’s high enough.  Usually it’s been too high and then you took it too low.  It’s extremes.  I’d much rather your day was level throughout.  You should get a slow easing of the cortisol, meaning that you’ll be less stimulated throughout the day and then you’ll fall asleep and have a nice night’s sleep.  If that’s not you, that’s the first place you’ve got to look, is the sugar.

We have a weight loss program and that’s what happens to some of the people in our program.  Now we use things to help them metabolize fat better and in some cases, or perhaps many cases, where there’s a weight loss problem, we find those people are sugar burners.  Their body prefers and, in a sense, can only use sugar because it’s so used to getting that sugar.  So we have to work with these people, we actually do some testing on them, and we measure what they’re burning at rest, whether it’s sugar or fat.  Now when I take an athlete and test him on this equipment I can measure fat burning primarily, if not the only thing being burned.  Now you’re always burning other fuel, but predominantly, I get someone who’s been taking care of themselves, conditioning for a sport, eating well, and I find them to be a fat burner.

I take somebody who’s been eating a lot of sugar, not taking care of themselves, pretty much in poor health, I find them to be a sugar burner.  The neat part is that you can become either one.  You can go from being a sugar burner to being a fat burner.  It’s a physiological shift.  What you have to do is, in a sense, force your body to burn fat.  You have to let the sugar levels be lower, you have to take in less sugar, and get your body used to metabolizing fat again.

We do it in the clinic everyday.  It’s a matter of talking to people about how they exercise, what they do for their diet, and we can measure that shift.  We can take one person and look to see what fuel they’re burning; if it’s primarily sugar we have them do certain activities.  It has to do with working on endurance, working on, perhaps, longer activities.  It doesn’t have to be real intense.  And we train their body to burn fat.  Then we retest them, we see them to be a fat burner.  Also, by the way, they’ve lost some weight by then.  Obviously, if you start burning fat better, you’ll lose more weight.

Now we have to consider other things that could get in the way of that: the immune system being triggered, medications, other things do get involved with interference to fat burning, but for most people, it’s just that they haven’t had their body do fat burning for a while.  If you’re not exercising, especially longer activities where you’re getting your glycogen stores used up.  Say you’re doing a longer activity, over 40 minutes, you’re well into fat burning and your body is learning to metabolize that fat.

But let’s say you sit in a chair and you drink sodas and you eat sugar. You’re training your body to metabolize sugar, and it’s not going to be very good at metabolizing fat.  Again, you can make a shift in either direction.  If you’re athletic and you decide, or maybe your life changes and suddenly you’re sedentary, you’re behind a desk working, whatever, you’ll become the sugar burner and you’ll start gaining weight.  So in that case, you need to make the shift to the fat burner.  What do I want you to do?  I want you to cut down on the sugar.  You’re going to go through a little bit of a withdrawal, quite possibly, because you’ve got an addiction to the sugar.  It is a true addiction, it’s real, and it’s going to take time to get away from it, just like any other drug addiction.  But also you’ve got to train your body to burn the fat.  So I want you to start doing a little bit longer workouts, if you’re not already.

A lot of people think, I can do 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, I’m busy during the day, whatever.  It doesn’t put you into fat burning.  You usually have to do a workout over about 40 minutes, so I do have people do a longer workout, and I see the effect in that they become better fat burners.  The warning, though, is that you may not feel so good when you do that.  You drop the sugar and your body’s going to rebel.  You’re going to be real fatigued because you don’t have that ready energy, you don’t have that high sugar rush.  You’re going to be moody.  You’re going to be cranky.  You’re not going to feel great, but bear with it because it reaches a point where your body begins to use that fat better and you come back, and you come back strong.

You want to be a fat burner between your meals.  You don’t want to shock you body with the sugar, and you want to teach it how to metabolize the fat.  You want to be able to use all the fuels.  You’ve got three major fuel sources.  You do use your protein for fuel as well, but I want you to minimize that, and there’s ways to do that.  You can protect the protein with taking sufficient protein and you can protect it with taking just enough carbs.  But the main thing is that you put your body into that fat burning mode.  You do things that require it to depend on fat.  You cut down on the sugar intake, then you won’t get that hypoglycemic response.

Teach your body to burn fat, and you’ll lose weight.  So for all of you out their that think it’s about just not eating, that’s a big mistake, because when you fast, your going to probably burn up the protein and believe it or not, you’re going to be fatter at the end of it when you skip those meals because you burn the wrong fuel.

So, learn how your body works.  Learn how to work with it and you’ll get better results.  Eat the right fats, eat the right carbohydrates, get enough protein.

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