If you’ve experienced unexplained fatigue, voracious cravings, and an energy surge (especially after high-carb meals) for a period of time, your body may just be metabolically inflexible. It’s a common disorder, but surprisingly not as well researched or discussed as it should be, given its effects. But what exactly is metabolic flexibility? According to the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, it is “the organism’s ability to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability. The inability to modify fuel oxidation in response to changes in nutrient availability has been linked to the accumulation of intramyocellular lipid and insulin resistance. “
Put simply, your body cannot efficiently switch between burning carbohydrates and burning fat to produce fuel for energy, says Dr. Juhi Agarwal, Clinical Nutritionist at SelfCare by Suman. “Studies have shown that those with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes are typically metabolically inflexible and increase insulin resistance, which in turn increases metabolic inflexibility. It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken, ”she adds.
While macronutrient ratios and caloric intake depend on factors like age, gender, resting metabolic rate, activity level, etc., ideally your body should use what you give it. “If you eat a lot of fat, fat should be your body’s fuel source. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, glucose should be your body’s main source of fuel. When you eat more protein, protein should be your body’s primary source of energy. If you are metabolically flexible, you will almost never have food cravings, you will not store extra fat, you can maintain your ideal weight and enjoy lots of energy. Metabolic flexibility is definitely a benefit if you can achieve this, ”says Neha Sahaya, founder of Neha Sahaya Wellness.
Some of the signs that you may have an inflexible metabolism include fluctuating blood sugar levels, voracious hunger, poor sleep, depression, fatigue, and the inability to exercise while fasting. “The process of developing metabolic flexibility begins with consuming real whole foods and avoiding processed, packaged foods. You should also reduce your intake of carbohydrates and increase the quality of fats and lean protein in your diet. A plant-based ketogenic diet and flexible intermittent fasting can work synergistically to make your body even more metabolically flexible, ”says Sahaya.
Both Sahaya and Agarwal emphasize the importance of exercise and exercise in achieving metabolic flexibility. “Basically, the mitochondria have to be increased [the power plants of our cells, which drive energy production] Because of this, you need to exercise in your body and include low to moderate intensity cardio, strength training and HIIT in your regimen, ”Agarwal says. “When you are fasting, doing high-intensity cardiovascular exercise with little to no glycogen stored, you can also exercise your metabolism more flexibly,” adds Sahaya.
As with anything else related to health, managing stress and sleep are key to achieving metabolic flexibility. “In particular, as many studies have shown, a lack of sleep makes a person more susceptible to metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It is important that we optimize our lifestyle and make changes that help us physically and mentally. Only then can we see the desired results on a scale, ”says Agarwal.
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