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Great low-carb diet explanation from Dr. Eades: Let’s look at what happens when we cut carbohydrates in the diet. First, we don’t get enough carbs to replenish our blood sugar, so the body has to convert protein to glucose to make up the difference. The signal for this to happen comes from a rising level of glucagon, a hormone made in and released by the pancreas. In order for glucagon to do its job, the level of insulin in the blood has to go down, which it does. A low level of insulin and a high level of glucagon send a signal to the fat cells telling them to release their fat. [This is absolutely a healthy process – chronic elevation of insulin leads to disease according to vast volumes of scientific research including Dr. Cordain’s: Compensatory hyperinsulinemia stemming from peripheral insulin resistance is a well recognized metabolic disturbance that is at the root cause of diseases and maladies of Syndrome X (hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, coronary artery disease, obesity, abnormal glucose tolerance). Abnormalities of fibrinolysis and hyperuricaemia also appear to be members of the cluster of illnesses comprising Syndrome X. Insulin is a well established growth promoting hormone, and recent evidence indicates that hyperinsulinemia causes a shift in a number of endocrine pathways that may favor unregulated tissue growth leading to additional illnesses.] You can think of this hormonal process as you opening the doors to the fat cells so that fat can easily get out. The body burns this fat for energy. As the body burns more, the fat cells release more. When the fat cells dump their fat, they become smaller. When your fat cells or adipose tissue becomes smaller, you become smaller. And you lose weight if you have fat to lose.

What sometimes goes wrong when you are trying to lose (& need to lose) weight: If you are not losing, this could be why: Although the lowered insulin and elevated glucagon open the doors to the fat cells allowing fat to come out to be burned, the fat comes out only if it’s needed. If you are meeting all your body’s energy needs with the food you eat, the body doesn’t need the fat in the fat cells. On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesn’t care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your body’s requirements, your body won’t go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you won’t lose weight.

If you are working hard to keep your carbs at or below 50 grams per day, your insulin levels will be low and your glucagon high. The doors of your fat cells will be open and fat can easily come out to be burned. But if you’re often throwing back a few ounces of high caloric foods like cheese or nuts (or both), you’re going to be providing your body with enough fat to meet all its energy needs with some left over. And your weight loss will come to a screeching halt.

The low-carb diet is a wonderful, healthful way to lose weight quickly, but you do have to watch your calories as well to a certain extent. If you’re plugging along losing away, keep doing what you’re doing. But if you quit losing, take a look at your high caloric food consumption like cheese and/or nuts. Cut those out, and it is almost a guarantee that your weight loss will pick up again.

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