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Tuesday 20 October 2015

The wonders of burning fat


Challenging the limits of the body, mind and soul by racing Ironman!

Well, after my race “incident” I went back to do some blood exams to compare to my old ones. As you all know I am no doctor, but I understand about diet and training quite a bit, and I also know how I feel. Looking at glucose to start. I have a glucose tester at home, normally on a low-carb diet my fasting glucose is about 72 which is great. I remember when I was on a high carb diet (which was when my problems started) my glucose fasting was raising and it got 86 to 96. When I tested a few days after the race (and this was 2-3 days after I had a very low carbohydrate intake) my glucose was still at 86. It is worth saying that the high insulin levels “disabled” the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel.

Saturated fat is the easiest one for the body to burn. Kerry gold is my favorite butter!

The other key aspect to look at is that, when I tested for A1C (Glycated hemoglobin – is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes) in the past, I had the A1C level on the high end 5.7, and with the low-carb (reads also low sugar) diet, nowadays is down to 5.5. Dr. Jeff Volek (and expert in this diet and also co-writer of Art and Science of Low Carb Living) says people with insulin resistance (or carb sensitivity) should keep a very very low carbohydrate intake. He mentioned that “if you keep a low carb intake but still with 50% of fat (and not higher), is like traveling to Hawaii half and not enjoy Waikiki”. (Based on the blood exams we can seen some sugar spikes.)

In order to enjoy the benefits of a low carb living, people with sensitivity, like my case, have to keep fat intake about 70 to 75% of the calories. The funny  thing (and great news!) is that I did another blood test 2 weeks after the race, and my glucose fasting was back to 72 and energy level a lot higher.

With all that being said, I am here to show the wonders of burning fat. Prior to all of that I was doubting how my season was going to end. For once I was keeping my fat intake only about 55%. I was feeling burned out, and it’s all related. The sugar imbalance make you feel like that. I took 4 weeks off, by that means I only trained 2 hours a week (or less). I decided to go back on training and my longest run was 10 miles prior to the half ironman. After the incident I went back to very low-carb and high fat as I explained. Around 75% of my calorie intake is FAT, which if you really write it down, this isn’t a lot of food, only more fat than the carbohydrate (see below an example of one day diet).

In one week the results are just amazing. I went out and did 16 miles run like it was a breeze, since then training ramped up big time so did my energy levels, besides, I was able to see thru my blood exam how carb sensitive I am and how my blood sugars oscillate. Burning fat as fuel is a key piece of endurance performance and well being. Of course everyone is different, and some are more sensitive to certain foods than others, but as a general rule, real food and specially natural fats are the best fuel you can use for performance in sport, and even for daily activities.



Galina L. said...

I also like butters Ancore and President - nice yellow color and a great taste.

Lowcarb team member said...

Galina - many thanks for your comment.
My favourite has always been Kerrygold - it is often more expensive but it has a great taste.
Yes, I've also bought some President quite recently, but not Anchor for a while.

I do tend to buy my favourites when they are on a special offer and slightly cheaper in price.

All the best Jan