The average person in, in our modern world who eats a standard Western diet, or a SAD diet, which is also known as the standard American diet are mostly metabolically inflexible. This is because they rely on lots of carbohydrates. What happens when we rely on lots of carbohydrates is:
- We cause blood sugar highs and lows
- We overeat
- We feel hungry
- We induce cravings
Now we’ve been told that we need to eat lots of carbohydrates and this is not totally true. What is true is the body needs glucose but what we’re not told is that the body can make all the glucose the body needs.
When we choose a primal or ketogenic way of eating, we become more metabolically flexible. We can burn fat, ketones and glucose. And at this point. When we can burn fat, ketones and glucose and we are more flexible, our need for glucose reduces.
We want to be flexible to be able to switch between these substrates, the fat, the ketones and the glucose. We are more metabolically flexible.
Why do we want to be metabolically flexible?
There are several reasons for wanting to be metabolically flexible.
- Our fat and ketone burning genes are upregulated
- Our cells have enough mitochondria, which are the energy producing cells
- Our body is able to handle any type of fuel thrown at it or in the case of carb reduction, not thrown at it
How to get metabolically flexible
- Significantly reduce carbohydrate intake
- Increase healthy fat intake.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Moderate stress.
- Conduct mostly low level aerobic movement, with occasional all out efforts like sprinting.
Sticking with a primal aligned keto diet, you can become fat adapted in just a few weeks keto adaptation can take a bit longer and this will depend on your metabolic damage from prolonged, excessive carbohydrate intake and insulin production.
Our aim should be to be metabolically flexible so that we can adapt easily to whatever our body needs, keeping us healthy, up regulating our fat burning, having more energy and focus.
Being caloric efficient
When we are able to survive and thrive on fewer calories this helps not only with weight loss but in animal studies has also shown to strongly correlate with longevity. Eating Primally / Ketogenically enables you to become less reliant on external sources of food because your body can easily access your stored body fat i.e. that doughnut you ate 10 years ago or in Jackie’s case the bar of Fruit and Nut. You can also produce ketones.
Some of the benefits of improving caloric efficiency or metabolic efficiency include:
- Slowing of the rate of cell division
- Enhancement of cellular repair
- Optimisation of the flow of adaptive hormones in the blood stream e.g. testosterone and human growth hormone
- Improvement in immune function
In contrast a lifetime of over consumption of calories causes cells to grow and divide, which means a reduced lifespan. Having a faster metabolism is not necessarily better. We should be pursuing caloric efficiency and metabolic flexibility.