When you eat carbohydrates (carbs) of any kind, including sugar, insulin is switched on and the body goes into carb storage mode. Burning body fat then ceases.
The body can only store a small amount of carbs as glucose or glycogen, the rest is stored as fat – in the liver and around the body.
Flicking the switch
Once you have stopped eating carbs for a few hours and the last meal has been stored away, sugar levels in the blood fall to the preferred minimum and the body starts burning fat.
You become what I like to call a ‘fat burning machine’. If you carry on eating about 20g or less of carbs a day, you will be in this mode indefinitely, potentially burning a combination of 100-200grms of dietary or body fat a day! This is also known as ketosis.
As soon as you eat a little extra carbs the body stops burning the fat until the carbs have been stored away. A small amount of carbs, say a biscuit or a muffin, every few hours may be enough to switch off fat burning indefinitely. It’s not so much the calorie value of the carbs as the timing.
Your bloodstream only contains 5-10g of carbohydrates, that’s just one teaspoon of sugar.
A blueberry muffin contains 54g of carbs. That’s 11 times as many carbs as the whole bloodstream!
A ‘healthy’ Nutri-Grain Bar from Kellogg’s is no better. Both require the body to store sugar surplus to its immediate requirement as fat.
The total calories in these two examples are tiny. Compared to the 2,000 calories a day the body is likely to require. However, a few small snacks like these spread throughout the day will prevent the body from burning fat.
Overweight and obese individuals who snack, feel constantly hungry. Their body fat is an ideal source of energy. However, snacking switches on insulin and denies access. They are hungry amid plenty.