This non-sugarcoated article explains how and why eating a certain fat can make you thinner. It is also a review of what fat is in general, what energy is, how the body makes, stores and uses it, and finally, what to eat and not to eat for better energy.
What is Fat?
Recall that the entire universe started at Hydrogen and Helium atoms and that through reactions, these formed all other types of atoms. Groups of atoms that can dissociate to release Hydrogen ions are called acids. The more hydrogen ions produced by an acid, the higher its acidity and the lower the pH of the solution.
Fats, are made of fatty acids, combinations of mostly carbon and hydrogen atoms. Fats we commonly eat and store in our bodies are fatty acids (acyl groups) linked to an alcohol (glycerol). The number of glycerol molecules linked gives the general type of fat: monoglycerides, diglycerides and triglycerides.
The triglycerides are the fats most found in our foods and in our bodies. Fatty acids are also significantly incorporated in all cell membranes as compounds called phospholipids. Fat gets stored, transported and used around the body for energy. To be transported through the blood, free fatty acids get bound to albumin, the major blood plasma protein.
How Can Eating a Fat Make You Thinner?
In terms of energy storage, fat has more calories (units of chemical energy) per gram than carbohydrates or protein, and yet eating fats can be the key to easier fat burning, less hunger and to a better chance at weight loss. Why would this be? Isn’t it the total calories that matter? No, to burn your own body fat for energy, which you must do to lose weight, you need to have low sustained insulin levels.
Insulin signals to your fat cells to pull fatty acids out of the blood and to store them. When you eat carbohydrates, insulin is released to help you move the glucose from carbs out of the blood and into the cells where it can be used for energy. This is why eating more carbohydrates means you are spending less time burning fat, including your own.
This is one way carbs result in more fat accumulation in your fat cells, leading to more hunger and to more weight gain.
Cure for Type II Diabetes
Insulin is an amazing molecule that helps glucose enter cells from the blood. It turns out that just one gram of fat accumulating in the pancreas will result in impaired insulin production and a condition known as Type II diabetes. In this state, you get even more fat build-up.
This pancreas-clogged-by-fat condition also means that you are not pulling the glucose out of your blood system when you eat carbs. Glucose that stays in the blood causes oxidative damage and accelerated aging.
To be cured of Type II diabetes, you do not need drugs. You just have to get up and exercise every day and make the appropriate amount of daily movement a natural habit until you lose that 1 gram of fat in your pancreas and then your blood sugar will normalize. That’s what research shows.
It is unknown how long you can have diabetes before it is not reversible, but start today if you have this problem. It is terrible that people are told T2D is irreversible and progressive when it is neither, if you are willing to change your lifestyle.
A gram of fat is not a lot. You can do it. Some people may have a natural resistance to building fat in the pancreas. This may be why you see overweight people who do not have Type II diabetes, solving another misconception.
Eating too much sugar won’t cause diabetes, necessarily, but over enough time, it can, if your pancreas gets clogged with fat.
Death from T2D doesn’t need to happen. Do serious research if you have a medical condition, to be sure you fully understand the problem. Ask a lot of questions and keep going when experts admit “we don’t know yet” until you get down to the chemical level, and research your condition as well up through the policies, politics and financial connections involved.
What is Energy?
No doubt you have noticed that your body’s energy levels seem really great sometimes and very low at others times. We can feel the energy or lack of it, but not many people understand it at the cellular level. The word energy is used in many ways. When we use the word here, we mean something specific and measurable. A calorie is a measurement of energy. A food calorie is the amount of heat needed to cause an increase by one degree Celsius in one kilogram (0.26 US gallons) of water.
What does it mean to say that fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein? Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, protein provides 4 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram. This information is widely known and accepted. In the USA, we eat 1,800 to 3,200 calories each day. To get a daily 2000 calories, you could, therefore, eat 222 grams of fat, 500 grams of protein or 500 grams of carbohydrate.
Energy is the potential to do work. That work can be moving physical objects or causing chemical reactions. One other unit of energy used besides a food calorie is a joule. 1 joule is 1 watt of energy sustained for 1 second. The human body uses an average of about 97.2 joules of energy per second, or about 8,400,000 joules a day. That 8.4 million joules of energy we use works out to 2.333 kilowatt hours per day. In Canada in 2020, the average residential price of electricity is $0.174 per kWh, which means by the electrical equivalent that we use about 40 Canadian cents, or about 30 cents in US money at current rates. It doesn’t sound like much, but our bodies are very efficient and the work being done is on a very small scale.
To verify that this all adds up, notice that a food calorie is actually a kilocalorie and that 8.4 million joules per day works out to about 2,007 food calories per day.
The Human Body’s Fuel Source
Your body is composed of cells. Most of your cells have nuclei with your complete DNA inside. Outside of the nucleus cells have structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria, which are about 25% of the volume of a typical cell, provide most of your body’s 97.2 joules of energy per second.
ATP, which is short for adenosine triphosphate, at the level of cellular metabolism, is the only source of energy we have. It consists of an Adenine (one of the bases that make up our DNA, composed of hydrogen and nitrogen,) attached to a simple sugar (ribose made of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen) which is itself attached to a triphosphate group.
The triphosphate group is composed of phosphorus and oxygen atoms. Phosphorous is a chemical element with the symbol P. These ATP molecules, made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus are our power supply.
Amazingly, the human body recycles its own body weight equivalent in ATP each day.
ATP is the driving force for all muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis our bodies do. Very little of this molecular fuel is actually stored in the body, however, and we can’t just eat it or inject it for several reasons. For one, as we said, the amount of it we use is huge. Another is that ATP is a large, negatively charged molecule that if fairly short lived and it triggers inflammation when encountered outside of cells. We also don’t have the right transport proteins to move it across our cell membranes according to a discussion on Reddit. So, if ATP is our only fuel source, what about fats, carbs and proteins?
How does the body get Energy?
ATP is produced by fat, carbohydrate or protein metabolism. The most efficient way to get ATP is from carbohydrate. We each have a storage of about 24 hours of carbohydrates we can use in the form of glycogen. The human body stores only about 400 g of glycogen, of which 300 g is locked inside the skeletal muscles and is unavailable to the body as a whole. If you go on a strict no-carb diet and cut out all carbs, your carbs will be depleted in 24 hours, at which time your body will turn to burning fat as a source of energy, that is, a source of ATP. While there are claims that no one has died from the strict no-carb diet, it can lead to other complications and can make you emotionally quite miserable. Still, keep in mind that if you consistently eat less carbs than your body stores, you will consistently burn more fat.
Fat is the main fuel stored in the bodies of animals. A young adult human stores on average between about 10–20 kg (22 to 44 lbs) of fat.
When carbs are low and because burning fat is less efficient in terms of ATP production, in times of need the body can also produce ATP from protein, although this is not a preferred pathway.
Proteins are made up of amino acids so when they are digested, these can be used for energy by turning the amino acids into sugars. This process known as gluconeogenesis results in NH3 (Ammonia) which is turned into Urea by the liver. Urea released by the liver is the major organic waste carried in our blood stream.
The blood is filtered by our kidneys and thus Urea is the major organic waste of our urine. The resulting amino acid converted this way is called a keto acid (aka “ketone bodies”). If someone is making increased ketoacids, their breath will smell of acetone, as when someone has been drinking alcohol.
When to Eat for More Energy
The sensation of “having energy” comes somewhat from your mental state, your social and environmental situation, but physical energy is tied to your body’s available cellular energy and its ability to utilize that energy.
One energy strategy is to eat several small meals a day to keep insulin low. Because “Ingesting large quantities of food stimulates insulin production and the deposition of fat,” some believe the frequent feeding system works in their favor. Others have found in research, however, that as long as the total calories remains the same for a given day, ten meals or one meal have the same metabolic effect in terms of weight loss.
In that 2010 study, however, they gave people 2% milk and thus, the more standard low fat, higher carb diet. It appears the people doing that study were unaware of the differences macronutrient ratios make in insulin signalling that tells the body cells to grab and store fat.
What to Eat for More Energy
Foods we eat take different amounts of time to digest and metabolize. For this reason, a mix of macronutrients with each meal can provide more even energy between meals. For short-term energy simple carbohydrates work fast, but too many of these can an energy “rush” and subsequent “crash”. Eating complex carbohydrates along with simple ones will give you more long-term energy. Eating fats and proteins without enough carbohydrates can cause feelings of being tired for several hours until the body is able to harvest energy. Eating healthy fats and a mix of carbs and about a small closed fist full of protein can be a good strategy.
But, Why are There Low-Fat Foods?
If eating fat does not make you fat, then low fat and non-fat foods are a scandalous scam by scurrilous scoundrels. Low fat products are cheaper to make. The fat is replaced by cheap fillers, food additives. Low fat foods cause people eat more carbs to get the body’s supply of needed fats and so, people eating the low fat products gain more weight. The more they gain, the more low fat products they consume, and so on. It’s a trap. Excess sugar in the blood gets converted to body fat. This protects the body from the sugar, which when floating around, generates reactive oxidation species and causes cellular damage and pre-mature aging.
A Fat That Makes You Thinner
There actually is a particular fat that can make you thinner. Two saturated fats have been found to increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and therefore increase metabolism. They are Palmitic Acid and Stearic Acid, with Stearic acid being the best. Stearic acid foods also work best for good cholesterol and blood pressure.
Saturated fats have been historically seen as something to avoid, but in one study, dietary stearic acid (C18:0) was sensed by the body and it regulated human physiology, causing mitochondria to fuse within a few hours of eating.
“… Dietary stearic acid (C18:0), however, does not increase atherosclerosis risk, and, if anything, actually reduces LDL cholesterol7,8,9,10. Indeed, increased levels of circulating C18:0 lipids are associated with reduced blood pressure, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk11,12,13,14,15. Hence unlike other saturated fatty acids, and contrary to the general belief that saturated fatty acids are harmful, C18:0 appears to have some beneficial effects on human health. The molecular mechanisms of this, however, are not clear.
C18:0 ingestion causes mitochondrial fusion
Stearic acid is inexpensive, nontoxic, and fairly inert so it has many uses. Fats and oils which have plenty of stearic acid are found more abundantly in animal fats (up to 30%) as compared to vegetable fats (typically <5%), but cocoa butter and shea butter, have stearic acid as a triglyceride at a percentage from 28–45%.
Why Mitochondrial Fusion is Good
Fusion helps mitigate stress by mixing the contents of partially damaged mitochondria to create new mitochondria. It also contributes to quality control by enabling the removal of damaged mitochondria.
Just Tell Me What To Eat!
If you just want to get on a diet where someone with many years of experience in healing people through food tells you what to buy, how to cook it and what to eat, I recommend 14four.me by Chris Kresser. No promotional consideration given. We are not affiliated in any way with Kresser, we just tried the program and found it very useful and comprehensive.
Good luck, stay healthy!