This book by Dr. Neal Bernard is very educational and practical. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. If you’re not looking to lose fat yourself, it will give you a great understanding as to why many people are unsuccessful at burning and keeping off fat. My favorite topic was Understanding the Calorie-Burning Secret; Chapter 3. The faster your metabolism, the less fat you’re storing and that’s what we want, right? The key point is How Foods Affect Your Metabolism. Increasing metabolism was accomplished in his study by putting ‘a group of older people with chronic weight problems’ on a diet of entirely plant based meals with very little oil (ie: very little fat in the diet). In laboratory tests, the oxygen rate taken in and the carbon dioxide breathed out were measured to determine exactly how fast calories were burned. The metabolism of participants was increased by an average of 16% for about 3 hours after each meal. If 3 meals are eaten per day, then over time a considerably greater amount of fat is burned up.
Cells, in this study, were reprogrammed to pull sugar out of the blood faster so it could be burned. What slowed down one’s metabolism in the first place is intramyocellular lipids or ‘fat inside the muscle cells’.
The buildup of fat inside the cells leads to serious insulin resistance and possibly to type 2 diabetes. High fat meals pack fat into your cells like chewing gum in a lock, which means that insulin can’t do it’s job of pulling glucose out of the blood and into the cells for energy. If the glucose isn’t used for energy then it’s stored as fat. Excessive fat gets stored in muscle cells, organs, and arteries so you can’t necessarily see how healthy a person is by looking at them on the outside.
Could this low fat/no animal food diet, (likely 10% or less of calories from fat) be the answer to burning more body fat? At Imperial College School of Medicine in London, researchers discovered that those who consumed animal products; ie: beef, pork, cheese, and other animal products had 30% more fat in their cells.
This book also had a pretty nice selection of low fat plant based recipes to help improve insulin responsiveness. Some dishes included: Garlic Hash Browns with Kale, French Onion Sourdough Soup, Quick Black Bean Chili, Sun Dried Tomato Lentil Loaf and Wacky Chocolate Cake. Try this food plan for 3 weeks and your cholesterol consumption will be zero and you will be considered a vegan. Oh and one more thing, if a vegan saves 95 animal lives per year then in 3 weeks you’ll be saving 5.5 animals their lives.
The take away is this: if you reduce your dietary fat intake, then your cells are more responsive to insulin which means you convert more food to energy, or body heat, and store less calories as body fat. Is there such a thing as low fat pork, cheese or beef? If low fat is a diet of 10% or less of calories from fat, then the answer is ‘no’. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health awarded Dr. Barnard’s research team a grant to see what kind of treatment this 100% plant based diet would be as a diabetes treatment. The results of the study convinced the American Diabetes Association to change their Clinical Practice Recommendations. The keys to choosing healthy food for diabetes are: 1)eliminating animal products from the diet, 2) keep fat intake low (10% would be a worthy goal) and 3)Avoiding high glycemic or processed foods.
When type 2 diabetics apply these dietary guidelines, their diabetes is often improved dramatically.
To your health.