Can a Low Fat Diet Really Be High Fat Diet?

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First, let’s understand that there are 3 main groups of foods that provide us with energy: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are known as macronutrients. They provide us with the main substrates for our bodies to produce energy for all our daily activities, from just sitting down and thinking to strenuous exercise.

For the majority of people, carbohydrates are the main fuel source for our bodies. Almost all carbohydrates eaten are eventually converted to a single simple molecule (monosaccharides: glucose, fructose, galactose) so they can enter the cells and be metabolized (go through a series of chemical reactions) to decide their final fate: produce energy, produce glycogen (storage form of carbohydrates), or be used to produce other substances such as ketones or cholesterol.

All cells in the body can use glucose for energy production. An alternative fuel source is ketones, small molecules produced in the liver if carbohydrates are scarce or absent. In order to produce ketones, the body has to burn fat.

Another important concept to understand is where fat in our fat cells come from. Carbohydrates and fats provide most of the dietary energy. Proteins do not really provide a significant source of energy, but are crucial for structural functions.

Therefore, body weight and fat tissue size maintenance is primarily determined by the intake and utilization of carbohydrate and fat. The fat cell (adipocyte) can expand and shrink considerably, but once formed, their number cannot be reduced by dieting, only their size.

The main source of fat to our fat cells comes from dietary fat. Therefore, it seems only logical to think that we could lose weight by reducing the amount of fat we eat. Any excess carbohydrates we eat gets converted to fat in the liver through a process known as “de novo lipogenesis (DNL)”. However, the amount of fat produced from carbohydrates is insignificant in relation to the amount of
fat we get from diet.

However, carbohydrates have major indirect effects on fat metabolism and utilization. This becomes important when we chose a low fat diet, since for fat is usually replaced by carbohydrates, which will provide better flavor and texture, than replacing fat with protein.

Higher carbohydrate intake can have the following metabolic effects: raise insulin levels, promote fat deposits in the liver (fatty liver), cause body inflammation, increase cravings, fluid and salt retention, brain resistance to Leptin (hormone that controls appetite, cravings, food reward/pleasure), elevate triglycerides, lower HDL (good cholesterol), shrinks LDL (making bad cholesterol more
prone to stick to your arteries), and eventually can lead to food addiction.

Probably the most significant effect is elevation of insulin levels. Insulin promotes storage of nutrients, but most importantly, it stimulates the metabolic pathways and enzymes
necessary to store fat.

At the level of the fat cell, it facilitates fat release from blood stream and entrance into the fat cell (stimulates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase), stimulates conversion of free fatty acids to triglycerides (storage form of fat), and blocks fat burning, by blocking the ability of fat cells to breakdown fat (inhibits an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase) and release it back to the blood stream to be used and burned somewhere else.

At the level of the liver, insulin stimulates conversion of carbohydrates to fat (de novo lipogenesis) and cholesterol. It also blocks ability to produce ketones as an alternative source of fuel.

Higher insulin levels also have the following:

  • Stimulate more body inflammation by stimulating conversion of Arachidonic acid to active inflammatory substances, which can then lead to Leptin resistance, insulin resistance and therefore, higher insulin levels.
  • Make kidneys retain salt and water (that’s why we feel swollen after a starchy meal).
  • Make kidneys retain uric acid (lead to endothelial dysfunction with increased cardiovascular risk, gout, high blood pressure, etc).
  • Block action of Leptin in the brain, leading to higher appetite, cravings, abnormal food reward/pleasure, and potentially food addiction.
  • Stimulate cholesterol production.

Therefore, a low fat, high carbohydrate diet can act as a high fat diet by inducing liver conversion of carbohydrates to fat, promoting fat storage through higher insulin levels, blocking ability to burn fat, and stimulating cholesterol synthesis.

For all these reasons, a low fat diet, can really have worse effects than a high fat diet, if not designed carefully. It is very important that when you chose any dietary intervention for weight loss, you do it with the guidance and monitoring of a physician that specializes in weight loss. Dietary changes in macronutrients have to be designed to promote not only weight loss but also good health. Many times what we think is healthy might not be.

How To Eliminate Stubborn Fat (“Muffin Top”, “Love Handles”, Stubborn In Inner Thighs, Chin, Arms)?

For this problem, Healthy Outcomes offers i-Lipo noninvasive laser treatments. This is what our patients call “the miracle machine”.

Sometimes no matter how hard we diet or exercise, we cannot eliminate certain fat deposits. Stubborn areas include the abdomen, arms, thighs, and chin area.

i-Lipo is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. The iLipo system emits low-level laser energy, which makes the fat cells open pores and release the fat from inside them.

The released fat is then transported around the body to tissues where it will be “burned off”.

i-Lipo offers:

  • Non-Invasive fat reduction, body contouring, cellulite reduction
  • No pain, no needles, no down time
  • Safe and long lasting results
  • FDA approved therapy, clinically proven in multiple medical studies

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