Boosting Metabolic Flexibility

August 5, 2019 By , , , , ,

We have been feed SO much information about what to eat over the last 40 years!  Most of the info that comes out is negated within just a few years. It can make your head spin!  Eat carbs before you work out?  Eat fat before you workout? Eat nothing before you work out?  Which is correct? Honestly, most of what we have learned about dietary wellness over the past few years was never backed by science. I have to say that Intermittent Fasting has been incredibly well studied and the results are statistically significant every time!  I ask all of my HCG Diet patients to subscribe to an intermittent fasting lifestyle.

What Does Metabolism Mean?

Metabolism is a household word that we hear about all the time. If we coost our metabolism we can eat more … right?  Well, not really. As we age our metabolism slows down. We could say that we have become more efficient at using fuel and simply need less fuel.

Metabolism is a series of processes that basically dictate how your body will function.  Metabolism will dictate how much we need to eat and when we need to eat to a certain extent.  Metabolism happens in every cell of the body and turns our food into energy to keep us alive.  Metabolism is a very complex process and it allows our bodies to utilize different types of fuel for energy.

What Is Metabolic Flexibility?

Depending upon what you eat your body will use different fuel sources.  For instance, if you eat a lot of fats then fat will be your body’s primary fuel source.   If you eat a lot of carbs, then glucose and glycogen will be your body’s primary source of fuel.  If protein is the main part of your diet, then you will be utlizing protein for energy.  Metabolic flexibility means that your body can switch easily between the different fuel sources!  Metablic flexibility means our bodies our bodies can use the fuel available very easily and efficiently.

Every time we eat, our food is either burned for energy or stored  as fat or glycogen (if in excess of the bodies needs).  Stored fat and glycogen are tucked away in the body to be used later.

When we have optimum metabolic flexibility we burn carbs as needed and fat when needed.  Those with metabolic flexibility can go between carbohydrate utilization and fatty acid oxidation very easily.

Ideally, a person with optimal metabolic flexibility can exercise in the morning in the fasted state.  Due to the fact that the metabolism is highly flexible, their body utilizes stored fat tissue to proivide energy for the workout.  This person could also eat a carb rich breakfast and use that to power the workout.  In this case, there is benefit to utilizing the stored fat.

Those who have issues with metabolic flexibility have a hard time with fat burning! Metabolically inflexible people often do not feel great and also snack more often as it is harder for their bodies to utilize stored fat. Side effects of metabolic inflexibility include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, poor sleep, low mood or depression, poor cognitive function (poor ability to focus), and shortness of breath. Metabolically inflexible people may also feel hungry often as the body is not good at burning what it has stored for later.

Additionally, metabolically inflexible people tend to be excessively hungry or have an unusually strong appetite. This is because their bodies aren’t good at burning what’s already there.

Training your Body to Be Metabolically Flexible

Understanding metabolic flexibility means we need to understand how INSULIN plays a role in regulating our energy.  When insulin levels are “normal” a person is more adept at effectively switching between fats and carbs as fuel. An insulin-resistant person cannot do this as easily.  Insulin regulates blood sugar by taking glucose into and out of your bloodstream.  In general, we can be in the FED state or in the FASTING state!

When we are in the FED state insulin levels increase due to the food consumption.  When we are FASTING, you have an opportunity to dip into your stored fat for fuel.   Basically,  when insulin levels are low, your body primarily burns fat and when insulin levels are high, your body primarily burns carbs and stores fat.

Exercise is an amazing tool to increase metabolic flexibility.  Varying the type of exercise you do is also highly beneficial as different types of exercise will use different forms of fuel and train your body to be efficient at fuel utilization.  Fasted cardio will train your body to use stored fat.

Intermittent fasting is the gold standard for making your metabolism more flexible.  In this case, we train the body to utilize fuel in the absence of food. This is how the body was designed. We were never meant to eat all day, every day.

 

 

 

 

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