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  • How protein & fat are metabolized

    When I read books by Drs. Mary & Dan Eades and by Gary Taubes, I come away with a decent understanding of how carbs are metabolized, but I think I miss something about protein & fat. I have a hard time justifying the effectiveness of my way of eating to others. Iíll try to put it into words here & Iíd really appreciate any corrections to my understanding.

    I think I understand that carbohydrates become glucose in the body, and that if the glucose isnít used it will get converted to triglycerides, and that those triglycerides will be stored in the fat cells for later use. Thatís primarily what makes us fat - because this conversion is so easy metabolically, and so much of our modern diet consists of carbohydrates in excess of our basic needs.

    Protein is broken down into amino acids which are used for rebuilding muscle and organs, and what isnít used is basically flushed from the system. Very little is further broken down into a form that can be stored in our fat cells, so it really doesnít help us accumulate fat. Is that correct?

    Fat we can also burn as immediate fuel, but it is much harder for the body to store fat from our diet as fat in our cells. Is that correct or is there more to the story here?

    If Iím a typical sized adult male and I eat a diet with excess calories (above what my metabolism needs) that consist of a large amount of carbs, my metabolism tends to slow down and is happy to store a lot of the energy from cabs in my fat cells. I get fat.

    If on the other hand Iím allowed to feed entirely on protein and fat, because itís difficult metabolically to convert those macronutrients for storage in my fat cells Iíll either raise my metabolic set point (have & use more energy) or Iíll automatically adjust my intake so that I start eating less protein & fat but still feel sated. I donít accumulate fat so I donít get fatter.

    Following that logic Iím still having trouble understanding why exactly the pounds literally melt away without much effort when I get rid of almost all carbs from my diet. I know from personal experience that it does, but Iím having trouble understanding why my body doesnít just have me stuffing myself with protein & fat to maintain my weight but not lose it.

    - Jim in Austin, TX
    Last edited by Zapped; 10-14-2011, 09:26 AM.

  • #2
    Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

    Originally posted by Zapped View Post
    ...Iím still having trouble understanding why exactly the pounds literally melt away without much effort when I get rid of almost all carbs from my diet.
    Hi, Jim! The fat quantity and quality seems to be more important than even the protein.

    Dr. Mike did some blog posts (Part 1 & Part 2) recently that might help explain it.

    If you still have unanswered questions, you might want to search the blog or even read around the internet. Peter at Hyperlipid is one person who can get very technical. There are many more.

    Good luck with your research. Keep coming back with questions!

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    • #3
      Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

      Thanks for those links, Carol. And apologies for not writing Drs. Michael and Mary Eades. Must've been thinking about Mary Dan Eades when I messed up her hubby's name.

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      • #4
        Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

        One thing I've learned is not to waste my breath explaining it to other people. I'm not being cavalier when I say that, but it really is pointless. People, for the most part, are going to do what their doctor tells them to do as long as it is painless.

        The whole fat and meat demonization is deeply ingrained at this point. I have people that I've tried to educate that still won't accept it because their backwater doctor who graduated from med school in 1968 spouts the CW. I've referenced paper after paper from pubmed...the reaction is, "well, I'm going with my doctor's opinion because people don't agree". I've seen this pattern multiple times.

        So, I give in...the world can have its way. Though it does make me sad. I had lunch with a friend who is struggling to lose weight. He isn't a bad case, but it is important to him. We went to a place that had limited options for low carb, but I got a steak with steamed broccoli. He was ordering "healthy" and had some chicken with some sauce on it and a bunch of beans. I think there was some potato involved too. So he is eating this, and telling me about his morning shredded wheat and that it is something that is "healthy" that he actually likes. It was hard to not "explain" things. Especially with such a good freind. But I've learned the only casualty in that battle will be me.

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        • #5
          Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

          I hear ya, tplank. I try to stay away from discussions about religion, sex, and politics as much as possible, but it's hard to stop preaching when the low-carb fever takes hold.

          Having had personal success with this way of eating, I'm convinced that most people who accumulate weight in mid-life (and that's most people in general) are being slowly poisoned by fructose and excess carbs. Both my wife and I feel so much better now than before we started eating this way and we wish others would try it, but it's hard to fight the USDA food pyramid or myplate or whatever it's become.

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          • #6
            Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

            Originally posted by Zapped View Post
            When I read books by Drs. Mary & Dan Eades and by Gary Taubes, I come away with a decent understanding of how carbs are metabolized, but I think I miss something about protein & fat. I have a hard time justifying the effectiveness of my way of eating to others. Iíll try to put it into words here & Iíd really appreciate any corrections to my understanding.

            I think I understand that carbohydrates become glucose in the body, and that if the glucose isnít used it will get converted to triglycerides, and that those triglycerides will be stored in the fat cells for later use. Thatís primarily what makes us fat - because this conversion is so easy metabolically, and so much of our modern diet consists of carbohydrates in excess of our basic needs.
            Yes, overeating carbohydrates or protein can be converted to glucose and stored as fat. To jump to what makes us fat is a matter of debate. Converting carbs to triglycerides is easier, but that also means you have more fuel to increase your metabolism and that means your going to burn more calories.
            Protein is broken down into amino acids which are used for rebuilding muscle and organs, and what isnít used is basically flushed from the system. Very little is further broken down into a form that can be stored in our fat cells, so it really doesnít help us accumulate fat. Is that correct?
            Very little is dependent on how much protien your taking in and what your energy needs are.
            Fat we can also burn as immediate fuel, but it is much harder for the body to store fat from our diet as fat in our cells. Is that correct or is there more to the story here?
            You didn't mention insuline... and fat cannot be burned as immediate fuel... you have not mentioned ketosis, the partially burned fats that are used by fuel. This is the 2 week induction that gets your body use to using ketones replacing glycogen for energy.
            If Iím a typical sized adult male and I eat a diet with excess calories (above what my metabolism needs) that consist of a large amount of carbs, my metabolism tends to slow down and is happy to store a lot of the energy from cabs in my fat cells. I get fat.
            If your eating an excess of calories your metabolism speeds up. If you limit your calories your metabolism slows down... hence you may feel chilled. If you overeat enough... yes you store it and get fat.
            If on the other hand Iím allowed to feed entirely on protein and fat, because itís difficult metabolically to convert those macronutrients for storage in my fat cells Iíll either raise my metabolic set point (have & use more energy) or Iíll automatically adjust my intake so that I start eating less protein & fat but still feel sated. I donít accumulate fat so I donít get fatter.
            Storing fat while limiting your carbs is a metabolic process that is not as easy as converting carbs to fat, but it can and your metabolic rate of burning calories is lower. This is all dependent on individual metabolism, your degree of exercise and on and on...
            Following that logic Iím still having trouble understanding why exactly the pounds literally melt away without much effort when I get rid of almost all carbs from my diet. I know from personal experience that it does, but Iím having trouble understanding why my body doesnít just have me stuffing myself with protein & fat to maintain my weight but not lose it.
            - Jim in Austin, TX
            By limiting your carbs and thus limiting your insuline your desire for sweets and other tasty treats can fall off. People have also found that by limiting their carbs they have been able to reduce their adictive cravings for other things like smoking, alcohol and enable them to reject those cravings.
            I don't understand it either Jim... I guess it's that we just aren't wired to crave that beacon in the same way we are to crave that sweet bun with honey and icing drizzled over it.
            I hope this helps and I would encourage you to read Power Protein (again).

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

              Originally posted by gitfiddle View Post
              Hi, Jim! The fat quantity and quality seems to be more important than even the protein.

              Dr. Mike did some blog posts (Part 1 & Part 2) recently that might help explain it.

              Just read these blogs you suggested. Seems to me Dr Mike has shifted his position from increasing protein to increasing fat. The 6 week Cure is defninitely low fat during the shake weeks and PP and PPLP both emphaze that if you are having trouble losing, cut the fatty foods like cheese and nuts. I am glad to see these posts, however, since he is now more in line with Atkins and with the research described in The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.

              That being said, I am having trouble converting to fat burning which may be due to not enough exercise to use the calories I am eating. I am on a very limited carb intake -- can't think of how to get much lower on carbs (Greek Salad at one meal, steamed cauliflower or green beans at another) unless I shift to just lettuce -- and eat fatty meats (beef) and am watching the scale slowly creep up. It is discouraging. I probably need to cut amounts of fatty proteins at a meal (i.e. cut calories) despite following the original PP/PPLP advice of eating a minimum amount of protein in a day which I, of course, translate into unlimited protein (being a quantity type person).

              So, Carole, I am really glad to see that my LC Guru's are now more in line with each other. Makes for much less conflict in my head. Now if I could just get my body to cooperate!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                Originally posted by Benay View Post
                Seems to me Dr Mike has shifted his position from increasing protein to increasing fat.
                Hi, Benay! I agree, and I think viewpoints change as new studies come out.

                The 6 week Cure is defninitely low fat during the shake weeks...
                The main effect on the 6WC is on fatty liver, and I believe that's all that was intended.

                That being said, I am having trouble converting to fat burning which may be due to not enough exercise to use the calories I am eating. I am on a very limited carb intake -- can't think of how to get much lower on carbs (Greek Salad at one meal, steamed cauliflower or green beans at another) unless I shift to just lettuce -- and eat fatty meats (beef) and am watching the scale slowly creep up. It is discouraging. I probably need to cut amounts of fatty proteins at a meal (i.e. cut calories) despite following the original PP/PPLP advice of eating a minimum amount of protein in a day which I, of course, translate into unlimited protein (being a quantity type person).
                I know what you mean, Benay. I cut protein down to my minimum (Dr. Mike says no lower) and I do have to count the fat calories because they do count. I lower the protein because there is some carbohydrate associated with it. My first line of fat is a tablespoon of coconut oil every day, which I find lowers my blood sugar. I also try to pay attention to actual hunger instead of "time to eat" and find that I don't need three meals and two snacks a day! I'm looking at having to watch my ad-lib fat consumption too.

                I agree that it helps my head when my favorite "experts" line up on an issue.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                  Not sure I agree that the Eades have changed their position at all and although I haven't read the latest "Art and Science" book I doubt it supports the highly processed chemical carb replacement strategy favoured by the Atkins camp.

                  As Carol says 6W does have a high protein low calorie phase but it is only 2 weeks and after that you are back to fairly straight forward PP (especially so after caffeine is back in weeks 5 and 6!.

                  As far as fat goes the Eades have always been promoting healthy fats (and that ain't what mainstream media says it is!) but the bottom line is it is much easier to go overboard with fat than it is with protein, so the cheese/cream/nuts proviso still applies.

                  Like you Benay I am a quantity type person. If one is good two is better! So even after nearly 10 years of very low carb intake I still have to beat myself on the head with a kind of mantra that says that low carbing is not about how much you can have as long as it is low carb, it is about how little I can have and not suffer blood sugar roller coaster fuelled hunger. If not, I gain weight - and for all the health benefits low carb brings ... I hate that!!

                  HTH

                  Speaking of hate Carol, not sure if I'd go that far ... but bring back the old forum software!! (he says grumpily ... but not in an old grumpy way you understand, of course!)

                  PS Pass on my regards to whoever is responsible - and tell the the link to the Eades blogs above is dead.
                  Last edited by mcsblues; 04-13-2012, 07:30 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                    Originally posted by mcsblues View Post
                    Not sure I agree that the Eades have changed their position at all and although I haven't read the latest "Art and Science" book I doubt it supports the highly processed chemical carb replacement strategy favoured by the Atkins camp.
                    Hi Malcolm! I read it and they do not.


                    Speaking of hate Carol, not sure if I'd go that far ... but bring back the old forum software!! (he says grumpily ... but not in an old grumpy way you understand, of course!)

                    PS Pass on my regards to whoever is responsible - and tell the the link to the Eades blogs above is dead.
                    Oh, don't worry, I don't suffer in silence. I noticed that myself. As for the old software, I like to think I'm still flexible enough to learn new things. Also, patience is a virtue. And you may be grumpy, but you're not old. And I really hope I get the hang of this new stuff!!!!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                      It's always a relief when I find I am not alone!

                      What I liked about the Art and Science book is that they have actually tested the LCHF hypothesis in clinical trials. They talk about the research behind the hypothesis before they test it. They too say that their work is ignored in favor of the PC articles on LFHC. As Dr Mike says, its hard to change an entrenched belief system with facts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                        Hi Benay!

                        Have you ever read "Why we get fat?" by Garry Taubes? In his book he explains things like coffee cause excessive insulin secretion. I know its a long shot but maybe you want to give it a try? Do you drink a lot of coffee?
                        Last edited by SugarLips; 09-26-2012, 01:58 AM. Reason: missed the name

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                        • #13
                          Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                          Originally posted by mcsblues View Post
                          but bring back the old forum software!! (he says grumpily ... but not in an old grumpy way you understand, of course!)
                          PS Pass on my regards to whoever is responsible - and tell the the link to the Eades blogs above is dead.
                          I don't like the default "activity stream" since I prefer to read by topic, not time stamp, so I changed my bookmark to: http://www.proteinpower.com/forum/forum.php which looks more like the old software, just bluer.

                          The "Blogs" button with drop downs of blogs only seems to work from the home page, but you can get there by clicking on the "house" and then the "Blogs" button on the homepage. I have reported the problem.
                          Last edited by deirdra; 01-14-2013, 10:30 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: How protein & fat are metabolized

                            Originally posted by deirdra View Post
                            I don't like the default "activity stream" since I prefer to read by topic, not time stamp, so I changed my bookmark to: http://www.proteinpower.com/forum/forum.php which looks more like the old software, just bluer.
                            My mobile app is worse than the activity stream, Deidra. If I miss a post I have to shift into regular mode to find it, but shift back into mobile to answer it. If I notice I missed it. I've been missing some. At least I can fire up the Big Mac to look for them.

                            The "Blogs" button with drop downs of blogs only seems to work from the home page, but you can get there by clicking on the "house" and then the "Blogs" button on the homepage. I have reported the problem.
                            So have I. I think I'll do it again.

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                            • #15
                              I'm curious about one thing in this fat discussion. In the Protein Power book they say it's ok to eat fish, eggs, butter and "lean meats" among other things. I was wondering why they bother to say "lean meats" and not just "meats" if fats aren't bad for the diet, and things like butter are allowed.

                              Thanks,

                              doug

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