Recently I have shifted my nutrition from a moderate to low carbohydrate, moderate to high protein, low fat diet…
High fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet.
Like a lot of you out there, I was feeling a little frustrated with FOOD! Looking at all the research, I was eating according to the current guidelines. I don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol and I regularly exercise. Being a personal trainer, coach and an owner of a very well equipped training studio, I don’t lack motivation nor do I lack resources. So where the hell are my rippling abs?
So why the big shift?
I’m a big believer in the importance of staying current within our Health and Fitness Industry. Recently within our industry there’s been more emphasis placed on nutrition and typical of our industry, there are always two sides – Crossfit or traditional weight training? Aerobic exercise or resistance? Treadmill or cross trainer? It’s no different when it comes to nutrition… High carbohydrate or high protein? Vegan or raw foods? It doesn’t matter which camp you’re in or whether you’re training for a marathon race or bodybuilding competition, they both are advocates of a low fat diet. I’ve tried it all and have achieved mixed results. Am I healthy? Sure! But like a lot
of you out there – I want to be the very best version of myself that I possibly can be!
But isn’t high fat dangerous? Doesn’t it cause heart disease?
Firstly, there is no actual evidence that eating fat (healthy fats) causes high cholesterol or heart disease and secondly, the question you should be asking is …
Why low carbohydrate? Don’t you need carbs for energy?
I have history of diabetes in my family and even though I exercise regularly and eat reasonably healthily (according to our dietary guidelines), there will always be a risk that I don’t metabolise carbohydrates (or sugar when it’s converted in my blood) very well which is termed “Insulin resistant” which basically means that when I eat a diet of moderate to high carbohydrate, my insulin goes a little haywire, has trouble converting it and basically stores it as fat. This is why I could eat the same diet as someone else (who is not insulin resistant), train exactly the same and I get minimal results, where they get awesome results. Yes you could argue that it’s genetics – but rather than playing the “genetics” card? I’m taking matters in my own hands and doing something about it!
Do I need carbohydrate for energy?
Not necessarily, we have two energy burning systems… Glycogen (carbohydrate) and Ketones (fat) and your body can function very well off either system. When you eat a well formulated high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet, your body taps into your body fat as fuel due to the fact that there is not enough carbohydrate in your system and your body still needs energy to function. Body fat cells are sent to the liver and converted to
ketones which the body and brain use for energy (fat burning). On the other hand, if you ingest too much carbohydrate and induce a sugar spike in your blood, the the body releases insulin to try and combat excess blood sugar (glycogen). Our bodies are only designed to deal with only 1 teaspoon of sugar in our blood at once without insulin crashing our “Fat burning party”. How many teaspoons of sugar do we currently ingest? Scary thought isn’t it? No wonder diabetes and obesity are fast becoming an epidemic here in New Zealand.
The next time you reach for that piece of chocolate or glass of wine – think of this … When insulin is released – fat burning stops.
Top 3 tips for increasing good fats into your diet
- Firstly lower or eliminate all processed foods from your diet (including vegetable oils, soya bean, canola etc …).
- Include more fish and shellfish in your diet (if you can).
- Include foods like avocados, nuts, full fat milk, butter, coconut oil, olive oil into your diet
By the way, since being on a high fat/moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet (a little over 4weeks now) …
- I have constant energy all day with no blood sugar spikes.
- I have an enhanced mental clarity and focus.
- I don’t have any food cravings.
- I don’t get hungry.
- I eat less often.
- I sleep better.
- I stress less.
- I train better.
Oh yeah and if you’re wondering … I’ve lost 3kg and 3.5% body fat but they’re minor details compared to overall health and well being.
DISCLAIMER: Remember that this is MY journey and I’m not advocating that everyone should follow this diet principle especially if you are Type 1 Diabetic. You should always seek professional advice prior to undertaking any change of diet and/or exercise.