What makes you obese, fat or sugar (and some thoughts on popular diets)?

Howdy,

I know that you are getting sick of similar topics and I understand that (this is the very famous battle between vegans and the rest of the people), therefore – I will be as short as possible because the answer is so simply at least. The truth is that any caloric surplus makes you obese gradually. Whether it’s by eating fat or sugar (or proteins), any surplus that an organism DOESN’T NEED converts in fat cells and stores somewhere in the body (slower or faster, it depends on how much surplus is). Of course, the needs of the organism are higher if we train (or similar) and we need to eat more in that case (carbs and proteins mainly), but that’s another topic.

Some nutritionists believe that you can’t get sick (and fat if you eat “normal” individualized amounts) by eating animal fat and proteins only (mixed with some veggies of course), they believe it’s a myth. On the other side, some of them believe opposite – but the truth is that you shouldn’t be so restrictive. You should be trying to find combinations that work best for you on all matters. Proteins and fats are building components of course (and comes together pretty often; eat proteins every main meal – you burn more calories during digestion on that way because of good thermogenic effect of proteins… – for every 100 calories you eat, your body will burn about 20-30 percent of those calories off simply breaking down the food), but I think that you should eat around 40% of carbs daily – especially because some serious nutritionists believe it’s not healthy if your brain works on ketones only or if our body is trying to produce glycogen/glucose… I mean, you can lose fat a bit faster but… You should mix a lot of carbs and proteins only for breakfast. The essence is that you need all the 3 macros in your nutrition (40% – carbs, 35% – proteins, 25% – fats, for example).

I believe that you will be more likely to get obese by eating processed sugar, trans fats/oils (refined carbs, added fats…) and similar than by pure animal fat by edible animals. Fat is the crucial component of our organism and if you lack it you could be in trouble. Some nutritionists say that you don’t need too much carbs because human brain can also work on ketones (advocates of the Ketogenic diet say that you don’t need carbs almost at all). “Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function. However, if there is very little carbohydrate in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source.” – Wikipedia. But what if you are an athlete who trains in high intensities very often and carbs are needed? I know, you can find something in meat but… I wouldn’t play with this…

“Through ketosis, your body becomes what many refer to as “fat adapted,” meaning your body adjusts to what you’re giving it and uses fat for energy. What happens in the process of becoming fat adapted? Expect extreme fatigue, brain fog, and sluggish exercise performances. After all, your brain is the primary user of your body’s carbs and glycogen. Without that fuel, your entire central nervous system feels the effects.”K. Aleisha Fetters

Ketogenic diet

But, of course, you can eat some really healthy plant based fats (extra virgin organic oils, nuts, avocado…) if you prefer not to eat animal products. I even prefer that – but be sure to intake enough amount of fats. Proteins from animal sources have higher quality and better utilization than plant based proteins, but side effects of meat/animal products TODAY are extremely suspicious and unexplained. I would say animal sources in general… There are many contradictions here (nutritional science in general) and further research is needed.

Paleo diet contains almost everything that worth and that could be a smart option. You just need to figure out the amount of food you should eat to prevent caloric surplus which will store as a fat in your organism. Also, you can eat animal products a lot less if you are not an athlete.

“The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.”Robb Wolf

Paleo diet

On the chart below you can see what is ok to eat and what should you avoid if you choose Paleo diet.

Okay To Eat Avoid
Fruits Dairy
Vegetables Grains
Lean Meats Processed Food & Sugars
Seafood Legumes
Nuts & Seeds Starches
Healthy Fats Alcohol

Hmmm, if you ask me – legumes and most of grains are not bad at all if they aren’t refined and processed…

Vegetarian and vegan philosophies aren’t bad if you have knowledge of how to make smart combinations so you don’t have some lacks. In my opinion, vegan option is better but you need more knowledge if you choose that because it’s only plant based food that counts.

Our organism simply store fat as a priority because it’s the defensive mechanism of survival (fat is a high source of energy and a good thermic isolator, store of A-D-E-K vitamins, an integral part of the cells and hormones…). That’s why you eat a lot if you skip breakfast – your organism is afraid of lacking food and he needs to store some fat again. That’s why more meals works, but be sure not to eat like a pig during those meals 🙂 . Drink water immediately before meal, eat slower (chew the food longer and/or eat on a harder way by using chopsticks for example), eat from smaller plates… and you will not eat like a pig.

Once your stores of carbs in organism are filled out, any other upcoming calories from carbs will be stored as a fat. It depends how much muscles you have, but carbs stores (muscles and liver) are not huge so be careful especially if you exercise very seldom. But when your brain is active daily a lot, less is chance for excessively fat storing, brain is a big carbs consumer/burner – keep that in mind 😉 . On the other side, even if you are skinny/fit, you have a lot of fat inside your organism – so don’t be afraid of losing it (having an issue with low fat isn’t so often) 🙂 .

Many people think that eating carbs by night will make them fat faster, but if you’re in a calorie deficit and your glycogen stores are not full, it is actually very hard to store carbohydrates as fat. Of course, insulin can make fat burning process very hard if you eat carbs all day and very often – and that can fulfill carb stores in muscles and liver pretty fast and all the surplus will store as fat (carbs stocks are very limited but you can store fats as an endless process, so our body is designed to store fat because it’s more important to him – gluconeogenesis is there for reason…). Plus, an active insulin will stop mobilizing fat cells and you could make disaster really easy on that way (that’s how most people store excessive fat and become obese – they eat a lot of food rich with SUGAR or similar). These days, you can’t find groceries without added sugar so easy – so be smart in choosing food (also, you can’t find a product without trans fats easy – which unfortunately comes with sugar very often). Drinks with added sugar are also a big problem because insulin recognize those as food – he acts the same. Also, any protein surplus will be stored as fat also. Any caloric surplus, whether it’s from carbs, proteins or fat.

If you have same/similar groceries in your fridge (not mouth) as she, don’t worry 🙂 …

Let’s see what Jordan Syatt says about carbs: “Low-carb dementors will say things like ‘carbs are bad because they spike insulin’ and ‘carbs cause inflammation’ and ‘carbs are toxic’, and blah blah blah. And it all sounds very convincing, but the truth is, some of worlds healthiest, leanest, longest living cultures have notoriously high carb intakes. The Okinawan’s, Kitavan’s, and Tukisenta’s all eat very high carb diets and have among the longest life expectancies in the world (the Okinawan diet is around 85% carbohydrate, yet they are very lean and have the longest life expectancy in the World). Don’t believe me? There’s plenty of research on this topic, which you can easily find by searching these cultures diets and reviewing published life expectancy data freely available online. Carbs are not inherently bad for you. And they will not inherently make you fat. The only way to get fat is from eating too many calories overall.”

Remember, you can get obese whatever you eat if it’s more than your body need, your body has natural logic to store every excessive amounts as a fat for the unpredictable future. But if you eat only fruits, veggies, seeds and similar, you almost never get obese because amount of calories inside that food is a lot less compared with animal sources (you need to eat a looooot for caloric surplus). Fruits and veggies are not calorically dense. Fat is the most concentrated source of calories in your diet, limit fat diet to no more than 35 percent of calories. Saturated fats should be limited to no more than 10 percent of calories. Trans fat intake should be as low as possible. Common protein foods are animal products that contain some fat, which raises the caloric density of the food. Examples include beef, eggs, pork, chicken, turkey and fish. The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 35 percent of the calories in your diet come from protein.

“I will preface by saying you don’t need to count cals to lose fat. You can 100% lose fat without counting. That said, regardless of whether or not you count, if you want to lose fat you must be in a calorie deficit. I don’t care if you do it by reducing carbs, reducing fats, a combo of the two, blah blah blah. Doesn’t matter as long as you are eating less calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. If you decide to count you don’t HAVE to eat the same number of calories every day. In fact, I prefer cycling calories to eat less on some days and more on others. This way you can strategically eat more when you are out with friends, going to parties, etc. And less when you are doing your own thing and able to stick to your “normal” diet.” Jordan Syatt

“Food tracking isn’t something you need to do indefinitely. The whole point is to teach you enough about nutrition so that you can eat more intuitively while still reaching your physique goals.”Nate Miyaki

Last but not least, I was writing about general population mainly. Whoever you are, just try to avoid “empty junk-food calories”. Eat and train smart, live well!

Thanks for reading and all the best,

Luka

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