Losing fat – there’s only one real way to do it

Published 10:04 am Friday, December 16, 2011

This time of year, with all the rich holiday food being served, many folks are going to try to watch their weight.
Once the holidays are done, they’ll be trying to lose that extra fat. When trying to lose body fat, the real problem is sugar. There is only one way to lose body fat. You can’t sweat it out. You can’t massage it out. You can’t turn muscle to fat or fat to muscle.
Fat dissolves in the bloodstream and travels to the liver. The liver then metabolizes, or “burns” the fat for energy. Think of it this way; fat is the fuel and the liver is the furnace. The thyroid is the thermostat. Remember, your body has two fuel tanks. It has a sugar fuel tank and a fat fuel tank.
Here’s the thing. The body will never burn both tanks at the same time. This means that if sugar is in the bloodstream, the body will not dip into its fat stores.
There are three types of sugar:
1) Monosaccarides (that means one sugar). These are millions of one molecule that flood the bloodstream. These are like candy or table sugar.
2) Disaccarides (that means two sugars). These are two-molecule clusters the body breaks apart. These are things like fruit or fructose.
3) Polysaccarides (that means many sugars). These are clusters of molecules the body has to break apart. These aren’t even sweet. Things like bread, rice, pasta or potatoes are polysaccarides. Remember, once they are broken down, they are all sugar, and as long as sugar is in the bloodstream, the body will not let go of its fat.
Before we go any further, let me make it clear that we cannot live without sugar or “carbs.” Our bodies convert these “carbs” into something called glycogen. This is done in the liver. Glycogen fuels both our muscles and our brains. The problem is that many people have carbs or sugars all through the day, so they never burn their fat.
My recommendation to lose body fat is to start with going one meal a day where you eat just lean meat and fresh vegetables. I also recommend this being the same meal each day.
The reason for this is that the body will, after a few days, anticipate the type of diet you eat and when you eat it. Meals that contain carbohydrates (carbs or sugars) cause the body to release enzymes in anticipation to help digest these carbs. Meals without carbs do not cause this release.
Eating carbs at times of the day when you have not had carbs in a while will leave these carbs in the small intestine without the presence of these enzymes needed to digest them. This can cause several gastrointestinal problems.
If you do “change up” the time you have your carbs, I recommend you eat a tiny amount of carbohydrate (a couple of small crackers, spoon of rice or pasta) an hour before your carb filled meal. This will trigger the enzymes needed for proper digestion.
One thing I recommend when cutting out carbs for one meal a day is to keep a can of Coke handy. Real Coke, not Diet Coke. Keep it in your car or, if you operate machinery, anywhere. If you feel light headed, stop and drink the Coke to bring up your blood sugar and get help.
As an expert in exercise and nutrition, I will over the next few months explain how your body works, and how to make real changes through diet and exercise.
David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and personal trainer for 25 years.
He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.