Back to Basics Part 1: Energy and Fuel

Each time I begin to work with a new client I am reminded that the world of health and nutrition can be confusing and overwhelming. In this Back to Basics series I will answer the most common questions I receive, to help you make the best choices for your lifestyle. 

Let's start with energy and fuel! 

In simple terms, the human body can burn glucose for fuel or fat for fuel. Humans evolved to utilize fat as the primary fuel source. This is why the body stores fat- to serve as fuel for times when food is scarce.

The advent of agriculture- particularly grains- led to the current bleak reality of the SAD diet, carbohydrate addiction, obesity and metabolic illness. Consuming large amounts of carbs means dirty-burning glucose is the primary source of fuel instead of what our genes evolved to use: fat! 

Let's compare the two. 

Burning glucose for fuel: 

  • requires frequent ingestions of external calories, in the form of carbohydrates, which the liver converts into glucose for energy
  • increases inflammation due to excess insulin in the body (insulin is the hormone that accompanies glucose to muscle, liver and fat cells)
  • results in a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows
  • often equals sugar addiction 
  • usually corresponds to weight gain, or an inability to release weight 

Burning fat for fuel:

  • does not require frequent ingestion of calories (the body always has stored fat for fuel)
  • equals a steady stream of energy (honestly, it feels amazing!) 
  • normalizes hunger hormones and decreases (or even eliminates) sugar cravings 
  • lessons inflammation- the body was meant to utilize fat for energy 
  • equals weight release 

Obviously, I am biased in my preference, but which fuel system sounds better to you?