Weight gain is about fat stored
…Equally, weight loss is about fat lost, not about putting fewer calories in.
There are two forms of fat in the human body: triglycerides and fatty acids. Human fat/adipose tissue/love handles – whatever you call it – this is the fat stored as triglycerides. Fatty acids are burned for fuel. Triglycerides are three fatty acids joined together by something called glycerol Fat enters and exits fat cells as fatty acids (triglycerides are too big to move across the cell membrane – think of a membrane as a cell ‘wall’).
When we talk about fat stored as human fat tissue, we are talking about triglycerides. Inside the fat cell, fatty acids continually ‘cycle’ across the cell membrane and back out again. Fatty acids can be used as fuel during this process (or recycled/stored if they are not used). If three fatty acids are joined by glycerol to form a triglyceride, they can’t get back out of the fat cell until the triglyceride is broken back down into glycerol and fatty acids.
The critical role in this triglyceride, fatty acid, and fat storage process is, therefore, played by glycerol. Glycerol provides the ‘backbone’ needed to bind three fatty acids into a triglyceride. It therefore determines the rate at which fatty acids become triglycerides within fat cells i.e. the rate at which humans store fat. If we make more glucose available to fat cells, more glycerol can be made. If more glycerol can be made, more fat is stored in the fat cells.
Anything that works to transport more glucose into fat cells will lead to the conversion of more fatty acids into triglycerides and more storage of fat (i.e. weight gain). The easiest and most effective way of achieving this fat storage environment is to eat carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose by the body, causing blood glucose levels to rise and making glucose widely available to the body. Furthermore carbohydrate breaking down into glucose causes insulin to be released and insulin facilitates fat storage. So, eat carbs and you make weight gain easy and highly likely. Avoid carbs and the body can burn its own fuel – that means your body fat – i.e. weight loss.
Essentially the body is in a carbohydrate/glucose/fat-storing environment or a carbohydrate-free/fatty acid/fat-burning environment and we have known this since the 1920’s!