Lipolysis vs Glucosis

Many scientists are of the opinion that you need glucose for fuel. That statement is only partially true. Ketones provide the exception. They are derived from fat when lipolysis is occurring, and are the other source of fuel that energizes our cells and powers our brain and other vital organs. Ketones fuel the body in lipolysis just as glucose fuels the body in glucosis-my term for a carbohydrate metabolism. Glucose and ketones are the only two fuels that come from food. (Alcohol is a third fuel.)

I find that people understand the concept better when I tell them, "If you're not in lipolysis, you're in glucosis." The two fuel sources are your body's alternative, completely parallel options for energy metabolism.

This terminology has helped many of my patients convince their doctors or dieticians that Atkins was the right path. If you have a doctor who tells you lipolysis (and ketosis) is bad, counter with this question, "If I'm not in lipolysis then I will be in glucosis, right? So, why is it so bad for an overweight person like me, with hyperinsulinism, to be living off my own stored fat?"

If you think about it for a moment, you'll understand why such a dual system exists. Before the invention of agriculture, in the first few hundred thousand years of human life, periods of severe food shortage must have been uncomfortably common. Human beings had to be able to burn their own body fat for fuel on those recurrent occasions when the larder was bare. Naturally, our bodies devised a highly efficient system for doing just that.

Have you ever wondered what sustained bears and other hibernating animals during their long winter sleep? It was the utilization of their fat stores. When you dial down the volume of insulin production, as you do in lipolysis, your body is equipped to burn your own body fat in a similar way. It takes place smoothly and is self-sustaining. For you, this is a sort of biologic utopia. The process of losing weight becomes as painless as eating naturally was when you were piling on pounds.

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