Optimum health: Low fat kills metabolism

Fitness expert Richelle Melde

Fitness expert Richelle Melde
(Photo courtesy of Hollye Schumacher Photography)


First of all, when fat is pulled out of food, it tastes terrible. So, what do you think gets added in to make it taste better? EXACTLY! SUGAR! Eating low-fat, reduced-fat, no-fat, fat-free or skim products actually increases your triglycerides levels and stores more fat because of the sugar load.

You have to remember that your liver stores about 1,200 calories or a 12-hour supply of glycogen, which is energy that can be readily used. When you reduce your caloric load, your body will release this stored energy to be used because blood-sugar levels are not balanced for your brain to function. Your muscles also store glycogen for just-in-case-moments. They release gylcogen in order to keep you moving.

Now, you might tell me that you’ve lost weight when you’ve reduced your calories. This is probably true, but unfortunately, it’s just water weight that you’re losing. Glycogen is stored with water, so when you release those stores, you release that water, which is heavy, thus creating a quick weight loss that will not last.

Once the liver is depleted of sugar stores, it will use proteins to make sugar for brain function, thus reducing your muscle mass. Because you aren’t consuming enough dietary fat, your body has to steal necessary building components from your bones and muscles to keep up. This is like building a house without having enough material to complete the house, so you build one room and then have to use the materials from that room to build the next one. Doesn’t make sense, right?

Now, it is true that your body will burn some fat during this time of undernourishment; however, the fat loss you will experience is not worth the damage you are doing by leaching nutrients from your bones and muscles. In reality, you are losing more weight from using your muscles and bones than you are from fat loss.

Your body cannot continue to eat itself and keep you functional, so your systems will begin to slow down. The first to slow is the metabolic process.

We have been so scared into not eating fat that this is a big nutrition myth to overcome. When I explore the eating habits of a new client during the initial consultation, there is always fat-free this and low-fat that, egg whites only, no butter and they dare not eat red meat!

So what exactly does cholesterol do in our bodies?

  1. Essential for brain function
  2. Forms membranes inside cells
  3. Helps form cellular structure
  4. Keeps cells permeable
  5. Keeps mood level by stabilizing neurotransmitters
  6. Maintains healthy immune function
  7. Makes important hormones. It is the precursor to forming pregnenolone, which produces DHEA, cortisol, testosterone and estradiol.
  8. When you deprive yourself of cholesterol by avoiding butter, meat, eggs and shellfish, you compromise the production of necessary hormones for reproductive health (infertility issues), the ability for your body to repair damaged cell membranes (increase in cancer risk) and the stabilization of neurotransmitters (mood disorders).

    Richelle Melde is the Fitness Expert for News Channel 12 EVB Live show (Phoenix, Ariz.) and has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, as well as in the AZ Republic and Business Journal. She has a B.S. in Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies and is a CHEK Practitioner and Holistic Life Coach.

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