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What is the Cellular “Metabolic Switch” and Why Is It So Important to Losing Weight?

Posted on: May 19, 2020 in Category: Intermittent Fasting, Medical Weight Loss, weight loss blog

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The “metabolic switch” takes place in our cells when we don’t eat. When we fast, either “intermittently” on a daily basis, or for 4-21 days are cells begin using our fat stores as an energy source. Humans can live ( while drinking water daily) for up to 45 days without eating.

The human body recognizes the fat stored in our fat cells as “food.” Our cells can’t tell the difference between a hamburger as an energy source, or our own fat already stored in our fat cells. Our cells will always use that substrate that is MOST available. So, if we are overweight and fasting our cells will use our own fat (triglycerides) stores.

The “switch” occurs when our cells start using the fat stored in our fat cells as an energy source, and not the carbohydrates (sugars) we’ve ingested. So, if we consume meals throughout the day, the human body evolutionarily will store all these calories as fat. The way many animals do just prior to winter when food sources are scarce; like when a bear prepares for hibernation. Humans will do the same and it’s programmed into our genetic code.

But, unfortunately food is ubiquitous in our daily lives throughout all the seasons and its been industrialized to taste great. So, we gain weight.

Typically, after not eating for 3-5 days the metabolic switch begins taking place in our cells. Behaviorally and mentally most people don’t feel “right.” They may be depressed. Irritable. And quite frankly angry. They may feel weak, lethargic and sleepy. They just aren’t “right.”

During these mental and behavioral feelings it’s normal to crave the foods we are accustomed to eating; those high in bad fat and sugar, those industrialized processed foods. The metabolic switch occurs cellularly, but people feel and behave like they are going through a “withdrawal.” Because in fact they are. Industrialized foods are packed with sugar, salt, saturated fats and many, many chemicals that alter the brain’s neurotransmitters. So, most people feel Just awful!

In order to lose weight and maintain it, it’s important to breakdown our own fat stores as an energy source. We accomplish this metabolic switch NATURALLY, as every cell in our body is genetically programmed to carry out the switch, even though mentally many people are in a “dark” place emotionally.

Once people experience the switch and begin metabolizing their own fat stores they begin feeling so much better, emotionally! Their behavior changes; they are happier and invigorated. Those overweight begin losing weight. Those who were lethargic and depressed, “wake-up” feeling so much better ready to tackle the challenges of everyday living.

The metabolic switch is a fantastic cellular adaption that the body PREFERS. Our cells prefer to use our own fat stores as an energy source because biochemically it’s highly efficient to do so.

The metabolic switch occurs in all people wanting to lose weight. People respond differently at the beginning. But, once they’ve switched their metabolism they begin feeling so much better physically and mentally.

The goal is to do your best at staying away from industrialized processed foods particularly in the beginning when you want to lose weight. These foods lower BDNF in your brain which causes the addiction so commonly seen in people who can’t wean off of industrialized processed foods.

So, the “metabolic switch” is a normal cellular process leading to weight loss and weight maintenance. The emotional and behavioral consequences of the switch are short-lived. At the Sand Institute we will show you how to tackle the emotional and behavioral adaptations necessary to wean off of industrialized processed foods.

Would You Like to Learn More?

If you are interested in learning about new treatments and methods for weight loss, then feel free to contact Dr. Sand by calling (562) 297-4068 or (310) 441-2263 or fill out this contact form

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