Metabolic Effect Diet

Key Points:

  • Aerobic weight loss diet and exercise plans that focus on calorie control and calorie burning leading to muscle wasting as well as fat that yo-yo’s (ie fat is put back on after loss)
  • Losing weight vs changing body
    • using exercise and food to trigger hormones that burn fat
    • gaining muscle that strengthens connective tissue and pulls skin tighter
    • note that muscle not used will be catabolised and thus enhance body change


  • Adrenalin – “gas pedal”: triggers glucose metabolism and cell sensitization to insulin and leptin
  • Cortisol – released in presence of high insulin, low testosterone and limited HGH leads to fat storing and muscle catabolism. Released in the presence of high HGH and testosterone levels, it blocks muscle catabolism and enhances fat metabolism
  • Ghrelin – controls hunger from hour to hour. Increased blood levels lead to increased hunger
  • Glucagon – triggers glycolysis and glucose release and levels rise in blood with increased protein
  • Insulin – triggers glycogenesis and fat storage whilst inhibiting body’s ability to release fat; levels in blood rise with starch and sugar
  • Leptin – controls hunger from day to day and is released by adipose tissue to suppress hunger. Leptin system is triggered by starvation and fat loss to ensure energy reserves: decreased blood levels and cell sensitivity lead to hunger. Leptin sensitivity related to weight loss problems (see below)
  • Testosterone and HGH – muscle building and fat burning effects that work with cortisol and adrenalin to ensure fat is metabolized and not stored
  • Thyroid – conversion of T4 to active T3 (that raises metabolism) is inhibited by leptin resistance (T4 converted to inactive T3 instead) acting to decrease metabolic rate and increase fat storage / inhibit fat metabolism: hypothyroid and leptin resistance are related; leptin sensitization helps to raise metabolic rate and fat metabolism


  • Habituated high glycemic food intake conditions insulin surging and reactive hypoglycemia as well as fat storage. This in turn triggers cortisol release to raise blood sugar leading to muscle catabolism. This syndrome leads to mood swings and energy lows / blood sugar fluctuations that sustain cortisol release, muscle loss, fat storage and chronic stress
  • Chronic stress leads to tiredness, lack of motivation and joint and muscle pain – due to energy fluctuations, energy and motivation deficits prompting use of stimulants, lack of rest / unwinding of stress
  • Overactive adrenal response is key feature of muscle burners; exaggerated insulin response to food is key feature of sugar burners
  • When muscles are used, they become hub of hormonal activity and source of metabolic messengers: Myokines (p. 104 to 108)
    • Amount of stored glycogon and muscle mass and how intensely muscle is moved determines messages sent from muscles to brain, liver and fat cells
    • Messages regulate appetite, fat metabolism and muscle repair as well as having impact on every aspect of body’s metabolism which in turn lowers chronic disease risk
    • Myokines together with testosterone and HGH are upregulated with intense muscular use and cause muscle building and fat metabolizing effects
  • Cortisol effects depend on ratios with other hormones – together with testosterone and HGH it leads to fat metabolism

Metabolic Effect and Oxygen Debt

  • Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)
    • Measures oxygen debt or oxygen needed to convert lactic acid to pyruvic acid
    • Measures intensity of exercise and amount of anaerobic energy production
    • Triggers ripple effect of exercise that is sustained after exercise
  • Lactic acid triggers release of testosterone and HGH which together with cortisol and adrenalin create a calorific afterburn effect that metabolizes fat
    • Stress hormones that trigger EPOC effect are related to use of energy in fight or flight response (thus high intensity energy use situations) thus metabolic effects sustained for up to 48hrs due to primordial triggering of biological life preserving mechanisms
    • High intensity exercise trigger EPOC effect but aerobic exercise does not due to lack of use of adrenal hormones

Food types and hormonal effects

  • Protein consumption increases glucagon relative to insulin
    • Triggers thermic effect of food and increased fat burning and energy consumption
    • Fat is hormonally neutral, but its effects can be altered by carbohydrate consumption
    • Carbohydrate consumption triggers release of insulin and fat storage
  • High protein and high fiber foods
    • Lead to decreased ghrelin, increased glucagon, balanced leptin, improved dopamine signaling and stimulated growth hormone
    • Decrease hunger and craving and increase energy and lead to fat burning and muscle building effects

Burner types and what to eat

  • Fuel type that body metabolizes for energy determined by
    • Genetics, early childhood eating patterns, everyday food choices
    • Foot type eaten, type of exercise, lifestyle lived
    • These factors determine whether it is muscle, fat or sugar that is metabolized
  • Sugar burners
    • Have problems losing fat, have insulin metabolism problems, consume excess carbohydrates / have cravings, have fatigue
    • Metabolism relies on sugar, has high insulin inhibiting fat metabolism, may have leptin resistance due to cravings, may also have insulin resistance and hypothyroid
    • Diet focus on lean protein (45%), vegetables (50%), low sugar fruits and starch (5%)
  • Muscle burners
    • Have loss of muscle and tone due to excess stress hormones, are highly strung and anxious, are driven of type-A, prefer repetitive exercise to reduce nervous energy, have difficulty winding down and sleeping, have mood and blood sugar swings
    • Release larger amounts of adrenalin and cortisol, catabolise muscle and have belly fat, often skip breakfast and can go for hours without eating, may be actor, model or long-distance runner and may be at risk for osteoporosis, arthritis and fibromyalgia
    • Diet focus on breaking habit of using adrenal hormones by eating breakfast, and breaking habit of catabolism through balanced protein, fat and starch
      • Lean protein 25%, vegetables 50%, all starch and fruit sugars (25%)
    • Mixed burners
      • Switch between sugar and muscle burning due to lifestyle factors such as poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, stress, overwork and hormonal changes
      • Have a well regulated metabolism that can adapt quickly to food and exercise training
      • Diet focus on lean protein (30%), vegetables (50%), whole grain / fiber rich starch (20%)
    • All diets aim to trigger a metabolic spark to induce fat metabolism and muscle building with focus on
      • 4 to 6 meals daily – with no skipping of snacks or meals and eating every 2 to 4 hours, no eating before bed, and having meals prepared in advance
      • Quenching hunger with fiber, protein and water
      • Quenching cravings with fiber, protein, exercise and sleep
      • Addressing low energy with fiber and protein

Spark stage

  • Results: feel better, face thinner, new contours and toning, weight loss mostly water and signifies body is switching to fat metabolism
  • Important to continue spark stage for full 3 months – initial results will be with 3 weeks
  • Diet accounts for 75% of results and awareness whilst eating and adjusting should be enhanced
    • Dietary and energy journal useful
  • Symptoms of low blood sugar as body adjusts to fat burning: headaches, sleep disruptions, energy lows in morning or afternoon
    • These should disappear within a week to be replaced by increased energy and better sleep
    • Biofeedback of hunger, energy and cravings are useful learning guides for learning how to manage energy and fat burning as transformation occurs

Spark workout

  • Choose weight exercise, measure weight by ability to do 3 and no more perfect reps, then divide weight by 2 and aim to do 12 reps in a set
  • Choose 4 exercises that mix upper and lower body and warm up with low weight for 10 mins
  • Rest weight to do 12 reps of each to a set, and do as many sets as possible until exhaustion
  • Rest for as long as needed
  • Repeat exercise and rest rotation for 20 mins
  • Stretch when warming down
  • Alternatively choose running, cycling, martial arts practice, etc
    • 5 mins warm up at beginning and 5 mins cool down at end
    • 20 mins Fartlek intervals at 90% VO2 max lasting 20 seconds, then 30, then 40, then 50, then 1 minute
  • Intense workout should be matched with low intensity walking, tai chi, yoga etc at 30 to 60 mins per day

Metabolic Transformation workout

  • Metabolic Spark uses diet and exercise and the effects on hormone signaling (eg using adrenal hormones as part of the training) to condition the body to metabolize fat
  • Metabolic Transformation concerns conditioning the body to metabolize fat through building muscle as building muscle maintains and promotes fat metabolism
  • Transformation begins with redistribution and loss of water as fat hormones indirectly affect water stores
  • Water and fat loss should be promoted with sodium control
    • Dietary sodium inhibits water loss and leads to puffy or bloated appearance
    • Sodium levels above potassium lead to increased internal pH of cells (acidity) antagonizing fat metabolizing enzymes
    • Insulin and cortisol lead to sodium retention
  • Transformation adds elements to enhance muscular myokine release and maintain muscles and changes in metabolism:
    • Increases in amount of weight lifted
    • Decrease the number of reps from 12 to 8
    • Increase in degree of muscle burn
    • Include warm up, rests only when needed and warm down
    • Perform circuit for 20 mins
    • Add supersets for 5 mins after circuit:
      • Choose two pair of exercises (eg chest and back)
      • Decrease weight by 50%
      • Do reps of one exercise until failure, then do other exercise, then repeat
      • Aim to be doing 2 of 3 reps at end of 5 mins

Sourced from:

Teta, J., Teta, K. (2009). The New ME Diet. New York, NY: Harper Collins

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