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Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Last month, I wrote about what happens to the energy you take in when you eat a meal.  To recap in a nutshell, carbs are used first for energy because they break down into ‘sugar’ and stimulate the secretion of insulin. One of insulin’s primary roles is to maintain a level blood sugar so the more carbs you consume, the more insulin you’ll produce. The result of this is that eating a lot of carbs reduces your chances of using fat for fuel before your next meal is consumed.


The picture is a lot more intricate than this, but it’s safe to say that insulin plays a massively important role in determining how much fat you will or won’t store. Another of its other roles is to ‘manage’ storage of both protein and fat. It does this primarily through two enzymes – lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).

LPL extends out from muscle, liver and fat cells and pulls fat from the bloodstream into these cells. If LPL is more active on the muscle cells, it’ll pull more fat into these cells, to be used for fuel; if more active on the fat cells, it’ll pull more into fat cells for storage.

He could eat no fat, she could eat no lean…

So how do you know whether your fat cells or muscles cells express more LPL?  Well, your fat/lean tendencies will give you a clue. Do you pick up weight easily, or are you naturally lean? You may only be able to gauge this once you start to manage the amount of insulin in your diet. This will, for most of us, mean reducing the amount of carbs we eat on a daily basis.

Once you reduce insulin levels (through reduced carb intake), you’ll have a better idea of which cells have more LPL. However, there are a few factors that influence your personal fat uptake activities through LPL. 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, are all factors!

Best place to start? Feed your body a diet comprised of MAINLY real food, and MOSTLY low in processed, simple, starchy carbs…