The Basics

Before we go over anything else, we need to cover one of the most important parts of nutrition for weight loss, which is: Counting your Macro Nutrients.

But what IS a macronutrient?

A macronutrient is essentially what food is classified as based on its chemical makeup. There are 3 types of macronutrients: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.

All the foods we eat are made up of some combination of these nutrients.

Proteins are the building blocks of life. Your DNA, muscle, bone, organ, and skin tissues, are all made out of proteins. Protein intake is essential for maintaining these structures, building muscle, and ensuring that the metabolism is functioning appropriately. Adequate protein intake will also allow us to maintain our muscle mass, ensuring that we are losing pure fat mass!

Carbohydrates are essentially sugars. All carbohydrates are sugars that are linked into larger molecules to form things like starches and fibers. It is important to note, that even if a food is a “sugar-free” carbohydrate, like a vegetable, your body will break ALL carbohydrates down into sugar through the process of Glycolysis. Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that breaks complex carbohydrates(think things like potatoes, bread, vegetables, fruits) down into smaller carbohydrates (sugars).

Fats are also known as lipids. Fats are integral to our health, making up the basis of our hormones, being a component of our cell walls, and importantly are a source of energy that your body can break down very efficiently. As humans, our metabolism is actually designed to burn fat most effectively for fuel. This is what we will leverage to lose weight, and to ensure that the weight lost, is pure fat mass!

The ratios of these 3 nutrients determine how the body’s metabolism will function. Too much, or too little of one of them will skew what the body decides to burn for fuel. Because of this, manipulating the ratio of these nutrients will allow us to force the body to shift into the fat-burning metabolism that we need to be in to lose fat mass.

When the body intakes too many carbohydrates, it will enter into a predominantly sugar-burning metabolism. This is not what we need if we want to lose fat mass. A high carbohydrate intake will also result in chronically higher levels of insulin secretion and concentration in the bloodstream, which results in conditions like pre-diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes, where the pancreas is overstimulated and is continually secreting insulin. This also leads to high levels of HbA1c, a marker of chronic diabetics. HbA1c is Hemoglobin A1c, also known as glycated hemoglobin, which is essentially a marker for how much sugar has been in your blood over the past 3 months.

The role of Insulin is to remove sugar from the bloodstream as quickly as possible. To put this radically, your body doesn’t want sugar in your bloodstream. It wants it in cells, as quickly as possible, to burn it. However, when insulin is consistently in the bloodstream, we develop what is called “Insulin Resistance”. This is the crux of what diabetes is. The cells in the body are exposed to so much insulin, for so long, that they simply stop paying attention to the signal, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream.

To reset the body’s response to insulin, we need to lower insulin levels long enough to allow the cells to be able to respond normally again. To do that, we need to lower the carbohydrate intake in the diet. After a prolonged period of low insulin levels, we re-establish a normal response to insulin! The ketogenic diet has been proven to do this, and has even been proven to be able to reverse pre-diabetes, and Type 2 diabetes! Not only that, but it also teaches our body to burn fat efficiently, the very thing we want to do to lose weight and be able to keep it off!