The Health Corner Vol. 31 – High-Fat, Low-Carb Diet I

Article 30—High fat-low carb diet part 1

In the next couple of articles, we are going to look at the advantages of fat metabolism or fat burning as opposed to carbohydrate burning in regards to diet. In other words, we are looking at the advantages of a high fat/low carbohydrate diet versus the traditional high carbohydrate/low fat diet.

One of the biggest advantages of the fat burning diet is the consequential balance in blood sugar.  With this type of diet, the sugar levels in the blood do not fluctuate up and down to the extent that they fluctuate with a high carbohydrate diet. I instead, the fluctuations tend to remain much more stable. This is because with a high fat diet, insulin is not secreted. Instead its counterpart, glucagon, is released, which is the blood sugar raising hormone. As a result, blood sugar levels in an individual eating a fat burning diet fluctuate much less. In fact, blood sugar regulation tends to normalize, rising and dropping slowly through the day. This is extremely advantageous to an individual in regards to his or her energy levels, as they tend to remain constant.

Many people know that carbohydrate produces energy. But they don’t know that this energy is of a short duration. With fat burning, the energy is more easily sustained and more even as a general rule. There are not the highs and lows that occur with a high carbohydrate diet, and this results in less stress on the endocrine system, as well.

Now, one of the biggest objections modern medical science has to the fat burning diet addresses a physiological process called ketosis. There are two forms of ketosis—starving and metabolic. Most of the studies in this area have been done in regards to starvation ketosis.

Starvation ketosis is that event which occurs in an individual who is deprived of food for any period of time. The individual’s sugar stores are used up and he begins burning the body’s fat stores. Initially, this may be alright because the individual has plenty of fat in his body to burn. However, in a starving state, once the fat reserves have been used, the body goes into what is called starvation ketosis. When this occurs the body begins to break down proteins, thus compromising itself. This is, of course, not a desirable state.

Metabolic ketosis, on the other hand, comes from burning the fat stores. As long as an individual is eating enough fat and protein, the body will burn it properly and remain metabolically sound. Metabolic ketosis is a very healthy and normal state for an individual to be in, and is actually the way the body was ideally designed to function. It is only the individual who has been starved who experiences the harmful effects of starvation ketosis.

I have dealt with only two aspects of the high fat diet. I hope I have managed to help you correct any faulty thinking on the subject. Next time, I will go into other misconceptions as we look further into the advantages of a high fat/low carbohydrate diet.

Until then, here’s to your health.

Dr. Jon R. Link