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Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

(you’ll need to increase your fat intake to make up the calorie shortfall)I’m all Taubed out! For those of you who’ve been following my last 5 or 6 articles, you’ll know that I’ve been trying (desperately) to summarise (as if possible) Gary Taubes’s excellent book “Why We Get Fat and What to do About it”. I feel like a regular Taubes groupie.

The essence of his book centres on a few key themes:
  • we get fat if we happen to have a lot of LPL (lipase lipoprotein) activity on our fat cells
  • we get fat if we eat lots of carbs because the side-effect of carb breakdown is glycerol molecules which attach themselves to fatty acids in the fat cells and cause triglycerides to form, making our fat cells fatter
  • the seriously overweight or obese individual is neither ‘lazy’ nor ‘greedy’ – lack of physical activity and a need to constantly consume calories are a side-effect of having too much LPL activity on the fat cells
  • we can maintain leanness if we have enough HSL (hormone sensitive lipase) on our fat cells
  • if female, we can maintain leanness by ensuring that our estrogen levels remain optimal

That’s kind of it, in a nutshell! Of course, this leads to a few obvious questions (almost every person reading this is thinking the same thing right now)… how would I know if I have a lot of LPL on my fat cells? Is there more on these cells (sorry for you), or do I have more on the liver and/or muscle cells (happy days)? Do I have enough HSL on my fat cells?

Great questions!

These are great questions since more LPL activity and less HSL activity on the fat cells = more fat being stored in those cells. The answers may lie in working out your fat/lean tendencies. That is, you pick up weight easily or you’re naturally lean. But you may only be able to gauge this once you start to manage the amount of insulin in your diet – the result of carbohydrates consumed, especially refined ones. Once you reduce insulin levels, by reducing your carb intake, you’ll have a better idea of which cells have more LPL/HSL. But you’ll need to increase your fat intake to make up the calorie shortfall.

But, you are unique too

Bear in mind though, that there are a number of factors that influence your personal fat uptake. Things such as your sensitivity to insulin; the amount of insulin you produce and the fact that each type of cell (liver, muscle, fat) may respond differently to insulin. Oh – and if you’re a woman – the amount of estrogen you produce too!

Argh! So many variables to consider – it’s enough to make you give up here and now. Unless of course, you really want to be healthy and lean… in this case, work first to manage your insulin levels; nothing else matters until this is achieved. Then – if you hit a wall, I know a certain person who maaaaay just be able to help!