One of the most intriguing aspects about reducing your carbohydrate intake is the surprising sculpting effect it has on your body. This seems to be most notable in women because they genetically carry a greater proportion of fat in the hips and thighs are much more apt to notice a change in how their skirt or pants fit. Men will notice because they go down a notch on their belt or because their shirts fit better because their stomachs don’t stick out so much.
When we eat higher and higher proportions of carbohydrates, our fat cells are abnormally driven to store and hold on to energy than they are to release it. This tilts the balance of more energy being stored in fat cells than is being released. The problem becomes more apparent when we go to sleep.
Normally our bodies should burn the energy stored in our fat cells when we are asleep, but because the excessive abnormal energy retention caused by excessive carbohydrate consumption, our fat cells do not release as much energy as they should, and instead of burning fat our bodies are forced to break down muscle and other proteins as fuel.
The result is more body fat and too little muscle. Now fortunately, a reduction in carbohydrate intake and an increase in protein can have a dramatic impact on reversing this pattern. Less carbs and more protein will trigger the body to function normally by releasing the energy stored in our fat cells during the night and allow our bodies to increase our proportion of muscle to a more appropriate levels.
The following 2 examples are of patients of mine who have had body composition studies done during their weight loss program.
If you notice, the amount of fat lost in 4 weeks was far in excess of the total weight lost. These are not unusual results for patients who honestly work towards reducing their carbohydrate intake to my prescribed maximum of about 125-150 grams per day (25-30% of daily calories). Patients often are shocked at the dramatic change in their clothing although they may have only lost a few pounds.
The table above tells the story. By reducing their carbohydrate intake, they have normalized their body’s fat metabolism and are able to access the energy stored in their fats cells during the nighttime fast. They now burn fat while they sleep instead of the muscle and protein they use to burn.