One Controversial Tip to Keep Metabolism Fast When Dieting

It’s a well-known fact in the fitness industry that dieting will slow down metabolism.

Assuming the dieter is diligent in their tracking, training sensibly, and sticking to their macros, then the only reason a fat loss plateau occurs is that their metabolism slowed down.

Metabolic downregulation is an inevitable part of reaching a lower bodyfat percentage. We should be grateful our bodies do this, otherwise humans would exist today; this capability has allowed us to survive through countless famines.However, it can be extremely frustrating when trying to get into the best shape of our lives.

The simplest and most effective way to speed up a slowed down metabolism is to eat at maintenance, period. But is there something you can do to prevent your metabolism from slowing down in the first place, or at least slow down the slow down?

Yes, of course! For starters, you ought to make sure you are eating at a reasonable calorie deficit, not doing too much training or cardio, and including refeeds at least once a week.  There is one more nugget of knowledge that I recently came upon though… and you may freak out at what I recommend.


EAT SUGAR WHEN DIETING

(Oh shit really!? Don lost his mind!!!)

Seriously!

First, let me clarify what I mean by sugar. In the scientific sense of the word, sugar is a carbohydrate. These are molecules with 5-6 carbons arranged in a ring. Often, these single rings, called monosaccharides, are joined with other monosaccharides, forming disaccharides (like sucrose and lactose), and polysaccharides (like starch and glycogen). But in layman terms, sugar seems to refer to sucrose or fructose, so for the purpose of this article we will define sugar as sucrose and/or fructose.

A primer on relevant sugars:
Glucose: everyone who took high school biology knows that this is the main source of energy for our cells. Obviously it is beneficial, though many have reasons for excluding it from their diet. Unless a woke doctor tells you otherwise, or you are aware and accepting of the benefits/drawbacks of ketogenic (low/no-carb) diets, it may be in your best interest to eat glucose in some form.
Fructose: a simple carbohydrate found in fruit. This has a slightly different chemical structure than glucose, but otherwise is fairly similar.
Sucrose: a disaccharide formed between glucose and fructose. It naturally occurs in sugar cane and sugar beets. This is the devil, apparently. Woe to thee who eats this crap.

 

Second, I want to dispel they myth that sugar makes you fat. I’ve heard many justifications for sugar being the cause of fat gain like “its a fast carb that raises insulin and makes you fat” or “if you don’t go exercise the sugar off within an hour it gets stored as fat”. Both are bullshit and honestly make me feel queasy.

The only thing that makes you fat is eating more than you need. And If you’re concerned about sugar and diabetes risk, here’s some evidence that sugar is actually BENEFICIAL in the fight against insulin resistance.

Despite wanting to delve into the many interplays between sugar and health, I want to keep the focus of this article on how you can use sugar in your weight loss journey. I’ll have to talk about all the other health aspects of sugar another time. 🙁
But, If you have any concerns about sugar and health, let me know in the comments and I’d love to talk about it!
One thing i will say is that, although i am not a registered dietician, nutritionist, and whatnot, i do believe that very few things are harmful in moderation. moderation is key.

 

Before I jump into why sugar will be beneficial I have two cautions for deliberately increasing sugar in your fat loss diet:

You’re eating less calories, so you’ll want to eat filling foods (different from satiating/satisfying food, which satisfy you on a deeper, hormonal level). Filling foods tend to take up a lot of space with little calories. Fiber and water content are things to look for.  Sugary foods tend to not have those two things (except for fruit); and

Sugar is an important component in hyperpapatable food, the type of food that tend to associate with addictions. I believe it is possible to have a few hyperpalatable foods that really satisfy you (for me, cannolis, organic chocolate and sometimes ice cream/froyo), but it is also possible to have foods that trigger a binge (I once ate a whole box of Oreos in less than an hour). Also, hyperpalatable foods tend to lack the vitamins and minerals that ‘healthy’ food provides, so if you eat a lot of hyperpalatable food it is more likely that you will have a nutrient deficiency. For more information on hyperpalatable food, addictive eating, and how it affects the brain, I highly recommend checking out Precision Nutrition’s two articles here and here.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into what I really want to talk about!

Sugar and Metabolism

Sugar has been shown to maintain resting metabolic rate during a very low calorie diet!

This study pitted sucrose, sucrose and protein, and fat and protein diets against each other in 23 obese women, all with a constant (and very low) 800 calories per day. Groups sucrose and protein, and fat and protein, experienced a slowdown in resting metabolic rate (RMR), while RMR *slightly* increased in the sucrose only group!

Another study showed that women who were injected with 100 grams of pure fructose over 7 days experienced no drop in metabolic rate and no muscle protein catabolism!

If you haven’t already shunned these findings due to the almost universal bias against sugar, then there are a few steps I would use when implementing sugar in your diet with the goal of helping metabolism.

Step 1: Track macros if you haven’t already

Tracking macros is already something I highly recommend doing anyway, and if you haven’t started now is the time! You won’t be able to gauge the effect of sugar on your metabolic rate if your intake as a whole is a crapshoot.

Step 2: Use your waking underarm temperature to measure metabolism

First thing in the morning (and I literally mean first thing) take a regular mouth thermometer and put it in your armpit. Do two trials per side. A hotter temperature means a faster metabolism. A range 97.5-98 degrees indicates that metabolism is at a fine speed, any lower and I recommend a maintenance break. Note that abnormally hot or cold sleeping conditions may have an effect, so use your best judgement here and keep the environment consistent. Use this metric to see if sugar is helping you.

Step 3: Start by making sure a quarter of your carbs are sucrose or fructose and gradually increase if desired

If you’re tracking macros already then this step should be easy. If you’re tracking your waking underarm temperature then deciding whether to increase sugar intake should come from your own interpretation of data.


Let me wrap up by reminding you of my disclaimer:

Disclaimer

I am not a certified personal trainer, dietician, nutrition coach, and so forth. I am just a person who is passionate about health and fitness. All that I offer here is just advice, opinions based on independent research, and personal experience. I am not responsible for any adverse effects from practicing the recommendations, ideas, or acting on the information on this website. By practicing what I advise or the ideas I share here, you accept all pertaining risks and responsibilities. Always check with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition protocol. 

It just seems relevant to do so because suggesting sugar can actually be good for you will likely make a few people shit themselves in anger. If/when people tell you of the woes of sugar, remember that moderation is key!

I hope you find nothing but positive results from this little diet hack! Let me know in the comments what you think. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Subscribe to be notified about new posts!




How To Start- First Steps on your Health and Fitness Journey

Reaching your destination is a lot easier if the first step is in the right direction

Envision how you want to look. I’m talking your dream physique. Take a sec and really, really focus on it.

Now look at yourself. What are the differences? Are there a few? That’s ok!

Think about the journey. What kind of habits will you need to form? How will the journey to your dream physique shape your schedule, your lifestyle, and you priorities? What “inner changes” will you have to make?

Thanks for playing along. Are you overwhelmed? There’s no need to be! 

In this post I want you to learn THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of getting to your dream body. I also want you to form a two simple habits that will take little more than 20 minutes a day and some attention.


There are some numbers floating around the fitness sphere claiming that improving your body and health is 70% nutrition and 30%  exercise, or 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, or you may hear phrases like “abs are made in the kitchen”, “you can’t out-train a bad diet”… what have you.

While I’m not a fan of the arbitrary numbers and most of the cutesy taglines (they add to my distaste for sensationalized fitness stories in the media and cult-like ideals in the fitness industry), I do believe that nutrition is one of the most important factors for your results.

That being said, there are some nutrition habits you can start now before embarking on any protocol. These habits will be the foundation for fat loss, permit building muscle, and influence general health.

Habit 1: Track all calorie intake

When I first realized that all weight loss takes is manipulating calorie intake (and not eating “clean” food) I immediately started tracking what I ate. I did this with gusto and precision and I have my OCD to thank for that 😀

After coaching some folks, I realized that this habit isn’t universally easy to form. Some even opposed it, despite knowing how relatively easy the habit was and the immense benefit that stems from it.

Well, sorry ’bout it. Tracking your food is the most valuable habit to form, especially in the beginning of your health and fitness journey.

Also notice that I’m not even suggesting you start manipulating calorie intake yet! Just get an idea for how much you eat!

This habit will do cool things for you other than giving you a foundation for the rest of your journey:

1 ) Make you more aware of your intake;

2 ) Force you to slow down before eating; and

3 ) Combat unconscious eating (i.e. boredom, social, stress… any eating that doesn’t stem from a true physiological drive for food)

Note that I’m not even suggesting tracking macros now! Cross that bridge when you get to it (i.e. when you either start a program or have the calorie tracking habit formed).

Tracking calories is rather easy, provided you cook most of your own meals (which will be so much more helpful in the beginning). Here are the steps:

1 ) Download a tracking app. (I use My Macros +. It may not have the most extensive food library but it has very useful features and makes macro tracking a breeze, even when you only want to track calories. I can add any food that isn’t in the library anyway.)

2 ) Get a food scale that measures in metric and imperial. Weigh all whole food (meat, potatoes, etc.) and look up the nutrition by weight either on Google or in your app. WEIGH ALL FOOD RAW.

3 ) Get measuring cups for all things that are more convenient to measure (butter, oil, pasta, etc.). Understand, however, that  weight is more accurate than volume, but it won’t be by any meaningful degree.

4 ) Simply look at the nutrition label when the food has one. Be careful when reading the amount per serving and number of servings in the package. Food manufacturers can screw you there.

It may seem like a lot of work at first, and honestly it will be for some folks. Just remember that as it becomes a habit, it will get easier. If you stick to simpler meals, it will be easier to track. Also, know that you shouldn’t have to do this forever!

As you meticulously weigh and measure your food, take note of what the amount looks like and feels like after you eat it. You can even come up with different visualization cues to help you estimate calorie and macro content in meals you didn’t make. That’s a topic for another post, though.

Despite the importance of tracking your food accurately, you want to be able to estimate calorie and macro content without jumping through hoops. After all, you don’t want to track forever, but you do want to be in shape forever!

Habit 2: Food Journal

Food journaling will force you to be mindful about what you put into your mouth. From journaling, you should learn:

What food satisfies you the most;

What leads to uncontrolled eating;

What situations trigger uncontrolled eating;

The subtle differences of the different types of hunger or satisfaction: gastric distension (full stomach), hormonal, and craving; and most importantly,

How to listen to your body to let it, not your mind or cravings, guide your food choices.

It isn’t that hard. When you are about to eat, take note of how you are feeling. Note any changes during the meal. After, just write how you felt about it. Jot down anything that seems relevant: time of day, items you ate, calorie or macro content, who you were with, was the onset of hunger prior to the meal sudden or gradual, how do you feel after, etc.

Food journaling, just like tracking calories, will shine a light on your eating habits and give you valuable insight on what to manipulate when dieting, bulking, or trying to live healthier.


Hopefully you can form these two habits to make your journey so much easier; the journey is always easier when you take the proper first steps. Tracking your calories will give you valuable data that can make you, like, 300x more ready for any program you start. Starting a food journal will help you see which food really satisfies you, what food/situations could lead to uncontrolled eating, and really makes you be in tune with your body’s needs.

Even if you wanted to take your health and fitness journey alone, these two habits (and tons of practice) may be enough to get you results. However, I recommend you learn so, so much more and get some personalized guidance. That is why I want to make you aware of two programs that will help you immensely:

My personalized coaching program, where I coach you 1on1 to your dream physique; and

ShredSmart, a pdf-style workout and nutrition protocol written by one of the best fitness minds in the industry who values your TIME and GOALS (in other words the plan is efficient and easy to follow while still getting you amazing results).

Finally, feel free to use this blog as a free resource for your journey. I post weekly and am active in the comments section. Feel free to comment any questions or concerns. Subscribe to my email list to be notified about new posts, offers, weekly summaries, and other happenings!

Is there anything you’d like to see me cover?

 

Subscribe to be notified about new posts!