The Myths of the Fat Burning Zone vs Scientific Facts
You hear a lot about fat burning, from working out in the "fat burning zone" to eating foods or taking supplements that supposedly burn more fat. But, gimmicks aside, what you want to know is...
What is the best way to burn fat?
One thing I know is that exercising at lower intensities will use more fat for energy. This basic premise is what started the theory of the "fat burning zone," or the idea that working in a certain heart rate zone (around 55 to 65 of your maximum heart rate) will allow your body to burn more fat.
Losing body fat is not impossible, but common mis-perceptions can make it harder. Burn body fat the right way; here are some of the myths and facts about body fat.
Myth: You Can Lose Body Fat from Just One Area
Fact: Despite the range of products and programs that claim to target body fat on one specific area of the body, the truth is, you can't burn body fat from just one area at a time. When you lose weight, the fat loss occurs throughout your entire body at once.
Your body stores fat to use as fuel, and when you begin a weight loss system, your body burns that fat from all areas of your body so that one portion isn't depleted. That is because fat also acts as your body's insulation, and your body does not want to leave one area uninsulated.
Working a specific area will build muscle in that area, but without aerobic exercise, you are still going to have a layer of fat over that muscle. A combination of aerobic and strength exercises can help you burn fat and tone your muscles.
Myth: Starving Yourself Helps Burn Body Fat
Fact: It is true that when you do not eat enough calories, your body will break down stored fat to use as energy. However, when you go off your weight loss system and start to eat normally again, you will gain all that weight back.
This happens because depriving yourself of necessary daily calories puts you in physical "starvation mode." Your body will think that there is not enough food available and that you are starving. When you go off your diet, your body will store even more fat in reserve against future lean periods. You will also be more likely to overeat during this period.
To lose weight safely, lose a little at a time; two or three pounds a week is ideal. Don't deprive yourself of food, and eat at least 1,300 calories per day.
Myth: Body Fat Comes from Fatty Foods
Fact: Fat in foods does not necessarily equal fat on your body. Fat comes from calories; it does not matter if those calories come from a burger or a salad. Obviously, it is better to obtain calories from the salad, however, if you eat more calories than your body needs, it will store them as fat. To keep off body fat, don't overeat any type of food. Instead, eat small and balanced meals.
Myth: Very Small Amounts of Exercise Will Burn Body Fat
Fact: Many products and programs advertise guaranteed weight loss in just five, eight or ten minutes a day. Some exercise machines even calculate the number of calories you have burned from the time you turn them on.
The truth is, your body will not burn stored reserves of energy, or fat, unless it feels that it needs to.
When you exercise for only a few minutes, you are not burning energy stored as fat; you are using energy from the food you ate that day. Your body will not begin to burn the energy stored in fat cells until your other body resources are depleted.
Your body will not begin to break down fat cells for fuel until you have been exercising for at least twenty minutes. If you raise your heart rate for thirty minutes, that means you have been burning stored fat for only ten minutes of the workout.
Do you know?
If you are an obese person chances are you use up more energy just trying to breathe normally. This is so because your heart is working much harder to pump blood to the vital organs and the excess body fat throughout your body. This can lead to an enlarged heart, high blood pressure and other serious health problems.
Excess body fat is also associated with high cholesterol levels and this condition makes a person more at risk for arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries which can lead to the vital organs being deprived of blood. When the heart has to pump harder to move blood around the body there may be a rise in blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a number of health risks such as heart attack and stroke. Research suggests that close to a quarter of the heart and blood vessel problems can be traced directly to obesity without any signs of weight loss .
There have been clinical studies that have shown a connection between excess body fat and the occurrence of cancer. It is believed that body fat may store cancer-causing chemicals.
Excess body fat has a connection to higher breast cancers rates in women and colon cancer in men.
You body is so designed that it has a kind of balance that exists between your body fat, blood sugar and the level on insulin in your body. If your body has excess blood sugar it stores it in the vital organs. The excess blood sugar is then turned into fat and once these fat cells are also full, they cause more insulin to be produced than can be used, overwhelming the system. This in turn may lead to diabetes which can cause long term health problems including heart disease, blindness, and kidney problems.
Other diseases also linked to excess body fat include gall bladder disease, sexual dysfunction, and stroke. It therefore stands to reason that if you reduce your excess body fat you can also reduce the risk of disease.
Being overweight is one of the most common reasons people applying for life insurance are declined or charged higher rates. If you are obese, or even just overweight, your height/weight ratio will be a factor used by life insurance companies and their underwriters to increase the premiums for your life insurance policy.
“Dynamic Health and Lifestyle”
Once again I applaud the fact there is no mention of the word “diet”!
I have not run across the words “calorie dense” in all my reading of weight loss so this intrigues me. It makes sense to eat only half portions of rice or pasta. I was reminded of my Grandmother’s words, “Don’t eat the whole bag of cookies, just eat 1 or 2.” Losing weight is a journey of mind over matter. And it is also about educating oneself instead of believing the media. When the “fat-free” foods first came out, of course I tried the cookies, and I thought that they were very salty. As you note don’t look for the fat-free but low sugar instead.
I am also intrigued by the idea of eating 6 small meals. I have read this concept before but still have a mindset that less is more which really messes with one’s metabolism. I know that it takes your brain 15 minutes to realize that the stomach is full but I hadn’t really thought about quitting eating before you are full! Going to start trying that now!
This book contains many good tips such as cooking with coconut oil for high temperatures. The “12 foods to avoid” are what my husband and I enjoy but since he had a double by-pass surgery, just 3 months ago, he is willing to change. Breakfasts are certainly easier these days: cereal instead of eggs and bacon! The guide to fruits and vegetables in season is going to be cut out and put in my purse for shopping trips!
Because my husband and I live in the country our meat comes from the local farmers=natural. We only get to the big city once a month so we do indulge in some fast food but I see the concern for the multitudes who dine on it most days of the week. It is also sad that people choose the boxed foods that contain preservatives and chemicals over the basics. How hard is it to boil noodles and add some real cheese and milk? Once again, as you have noted, the media strikes.
I look forward to trying the Detox as a kick starter for the New Year! It’s time to get back to exercise and health. It does clear the brain and make for a more energetic day!
Thank-you Ange for revitalizing me!"
The Basic Science of Burning Fat
If you are trying to lose weight, knowing how your body uses calories for fuel can make a difference in how you approach burning fat to lose weight. You get your energy from fat, carbs and protein. Which one our bodies draw from, however, depends on the kind of activity you doing. Most people want to use fat for energy, which makes sense. You figure, the more fat you can use as fuel, the less fat you will have in your body.
But, using more fat doesn't automatically lead to losing more fat. A brisk 40 minute walk will burn just as many calories of the right kind, the stored fat calories! As going to the gym and doing an intense workout for 30 minutes will. And you may not be burning the right kind of calories. Instead of burning "stored fat calories" you maybe burning the calories directly from the food you have eaten. So you are not "burning" body fat!
Because understanding the best way to burn fat starts with some basic facts about how your body gets its energy...
The body primarily uses fat and carbs for fuel. A small amount of protein is used during exercise, but it is mainly used to repair the muscles after exercise.
The ratio of these fuels will shift depending on the activity you're doing.
For higher intensity exercise, such as fast-paced running, the body will rely more on carbs for fuel than fat. That is because the metabolic pathways available to break down carbs for energy are more efficient than the pathways for fat breakdown.
For long, slower exercise, fat is used more for energy than carbs.
When it comes to weight loss, it does not matter what type of fuel you use. What matters is how many calories you burn as opposed to how many calories you take in.
This is a very simplified look at energy with a solid take-home message. When it comes to weight loss, what matters is burning more calories, not necessarily using more fat for energy. And, the harder you work, the more calories you will burn overall.
Think about it this way: When you sit or sleep, you are in your prime fat-burning mode. But, you have probably never contemplated the idea of sleeping more to lose weight, as lovely as that thought is.
The Bottom Line?
Just because you are using more fat as energy doesn't mean you are burning more calories.