Low carb brownies
Conventional wisdom argues that fat makes you fat and you should eat less of it and then you won't be fat anymore. Right?
Actually, not quite.
We are facing a paradigm shift in nutrition science and it is increasingly widely acknowledged that fats are not to blame for the fact that more than 2/3 of us are overweight, carbohydrates are.
Your body can store energy in 3 ways:
1kg of fat stores about 7700 calories of energy, so on average we each have many tens or even hundreds of thousands of calories stored up on our hips and waist. Some have in excess of a million (e.g. a 150kg man). In fact, if we assume that you burn roughly 700 calories in a 1 hour jog, that means our 150kg man holding 1,000,000 calories round his waist would have to run for 8 hours continuously for 3 months and not eat anything extra, just to lose half of that fat. Keep on running!
To lose weight, we of course have to reduce those stores of fat. Now, insulin is the hormone of plenty in the body, and amongst its multitude of effects it tells the body to store more fat and acts as a lever switching our bodies to preferentially use glucose as opposed to fat. Not ideal, this is the opposite to what we want if we want to lose weight!
Now consider this, humans evolved for and are built for a life of scarcity. In hunter gatherer times (i.e. 99% of the time homo sapiens have walked the earth), we would have lived a life of fasting and feasting cycles, where days of fasting (aside from a few berries here and there) would be punctuated irregularly with large protein feasts. There certainly wouldn't have been any of these thrice daily, solo gorges on carb heavy meals meant for a family of 4. Romans used to eat 1 meal a day and it wasn't until the 18th century that 3 square meals a day became the norm.
It certainly wasn't until the birth of fast food and on demand donuts over the past century that we have been able to dump what is essentially spoons and spoons of pure sugar into our blood, on demand, day after day. The effect this has, is to massively spike insulin levels, which as we mentioned earlier, causes us to build up bigger and bigger fat stores. Not only does this permanent state of high insulin make us fat, it also gives us diabetes and is thought to play a role in a host of other chronic diseases too.
Now here is the really key point.
Insulin levels are spiked by carbohydrate intake. Fat and protein do not raise insulin levels.
That's not just all those cookies and puddings, it's all that pasta, rice and bread as well.
So, given all of that, doesn't minimising insulin levels by cutting down on carbohydrate intake seem like a reasonable idea? Not only would this reverse the process of storing fat, but it would also switch that lever in our body to force preferential burning of fat and decrease our risk of diabetes.
This is where the ketogenic diet comes out to play.