October 28, 2009

Continuing in the new direction

210 this morning, so down 10 since last week (i.e. day 1).  10lb sounds like a lot for one week, and it is, but the dirty secret of low/controlled-carbohydrate dieting (which South Beach assuredly is) is that a goodly portion of the early weight loss is water weight.  That being said, it's water you didn't need, and generally means that after the first couple of weeks you look and feel a lot less bloated and puffy.  A lot of critics of low-carbohydrate dieting claim that all the weight loss they produce is largely attributable to this diuresis, with minor fat loss caused by a simple reduction in calories due to the restrictive nature of the diet.  I suppose that's possible, but if they still produce a reduction of adiposity, that alone would put them well ahead of low-fat diets that focus on calorie restriction exclusively.

However, low-carbohydrate dieting has the added advantage of maintaining a very steady (and low) insulin level in the bloodstream.  The process of creating new adipose tissue (i.e. laying down new body fat) is regulated largely by insulin levels.  Low insulin => not much new fatty tissue being created.  That means if you're ever in a caloric deficit, you'll reach into your existing fat stores* without making new ones, thus facilitating fat loss.  Further, with so little sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream much of the time, times of exertion will leave your body using mostly fat for fuel, since blood sugar is the only ready supply of carbohydrate fuel after the glycogen in your muscles is spent.  To be perfectly accurate, real metabolism burns all three fuel sources simultaneously, but the proportion of fat metabolism increases significantly when there's not much sugar laying around.

What all this gibberish really means is that the first two weeks will be big losers, but the weeks and months after that will also be losers, if somewhat smaller losers.

*Interesting note, this can sometimes make you sick.  There are a number of toxins that your body has a tough time getting rid of, and many of them are fat soluble, so some of them inevitably creep into your fatty tissue.  When you start to use older fat, some of the toxic compounds creep back out, and can then cause illness.  Weird, huh?

Posted by: leoncaruthers at 07:39 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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