It’s that time of year. The holidays are over, and lots of people are taking efforts to shed off the pounds gained from, eh, enjoying the festivities.
Now I’m sure some of you see that subject line and think “here he goes again, talking about how meat isn’t bad for you”. The fact that meat is quite nutritious is another blog post altogether. Here I want to specifically point out how meat, that is to say fat and protein, will not derail any weight loss goals you may have.
To understand what I’m getting at here, you have to understand the relationship macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) have with our bodies. Or, more to the point, how do these macronutrients affect weight gain or loss?
The first thing we need to consider is how and why do we gain weight to begin with? As Gary Taubes points out in his book Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, we humans either gain weight, or have trouble losing it, when our pancreas secretes elevated levels of the hormone insulin into our blood stream, and the insulin in turn tells our fat cells to store fat as opposed to burning it for energy. This is known as insulin response.
All of the food we eat is comprised of at least one of the three macronutrients mentioned earlier, fat, protein, or carbohydrates (that is what makes them food). The obvious question here is what foods, or which macronutrients have the biggest effect on insulin response? The answer is simple. Carbohydrates. When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts them to sugar. I’m sure we all understand that sugar is not compatible with weight loss. The more sugar you consume, the less likely you are to burn any body fat, even when exercising. This is because your body considers the dietary sugar to be the most immediate energy source, and will burn the sugar instead of body fat. As the saying goes, if you want to burn fat, you’ve got to stop eating sugar (of any form).
Here’s the good news, protein has very little affect on insulin response, whereas fat has NO affect at all!
As per usual, we ask that you don’t just take our word for it when it comes to matters such as these. By all means check our facts. This stuff is important, and is worth the time it takes to become educated. If we are indeed in the midst of an obesity epidemic, then knowledge about weight gain and weight loss will better equip all of us to make sound decisions when it comes to what we put in our bodies!