The carbohydrates, fats and proteins that we eat go into our cells and are converted into needed energy. That is unless they are extra fats that we’ve consumed; then they are stored for future use. But how do these nutrients move into the cells? Our body uses insulin to move glucose and protein from the bloodstream to the cells and the faster they enter the cells, the faster they can be used for energy. However, when you eat a high fat meal the fat builds up in the cells (that’s not good). That means the mitochondria… wait… the mitochondria? What’s that?
Mitochondria are structures in the cell where sugars, fatty acids and amino acids are converted into energy. Remember that we get calories (a unit of energy) only from carbohydrates (sugars), fats (fatty acids) and proteins (amino acids). To put it simply… the mitochondria are the structures where nutrients are turned into energy. Okay… that’s not too hard.
So… these little energy converters have less ability to burn the fat when fat is built up in the cell. That means it’s harder for insulin to move the glucose and protein into the cell and more difficult to use those nutrients for fuel. This slows down the process of metabolism and we don’t want that to happen because that means we are burning fewer calories.
The good news is that a low fat, plant based diet causes the fat to move out of the cells so that the mitochondria can work better and the number of them can increase. So… both metabolism and fat burning increase. And that’s what we want.
Don’t you just love those great plant foods… they are low in calories and high in fiber so it is really hard to overeat them. I’ve tried and it really is hard. Now we know the secret of the Chinese people’s ability to control weight effortlessly. They simply choose the foods that increase metabolism and help their mitochondria to work well. Simple. If they can do it… we can do it. It’s all a matter of choosing well.