Understanding the Mechanism of Weight Loss: Why the Body Needs a Low-Carb High-Fat Diet

In this video, Dr. Ekberg discusses why people gain weight and emphasizes the importance of understanding how the body works in order to achieve permanent weight loss. He explains that humans have the same genetic makeup as they did thousands of years ago, so the body’s behavior is dictated by hormones. Dr. Ekberg mentions that two main factors contribute to weight gain: eating too often and consuming the wrong types of food. He argues that humans should follow a natural eating pattern, similar to other animals, and eat food that is appropriate for their species. Dr. Ekberg also debunked myths about calories, low-fat diets, and the relationship between saturated fat and heart disease. He promotes a low-carb, high-fat diet for weight loss and debunks the notion that saturated fat is unhealthy. Overall, he advises eliminating sugar, reducing carbohydrate intake, and eating real, unprocessed food to maintain a healthy weight.

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How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • The human body hasn’t changed genetically over the past hundred thousand years, so understanding how it really works can help with weight loss and fat loss.
  • Two main factors contribute to weight gain: eating too often and eating the wrong things.
  • Humans, like bears, are influenced by hormones that determine our eating behavior, but unlike bears, we have developed unnatural hormone balances due to the processed and unnatural food we eat.
  • Feast and famine cycles are natural in nature, but humans eat too often and skip the fasting period, leading to an imbalance.
  • The body can store fat and carbohydrate energy, but carbohydrates are much more limited in storage capacity.
  • Excess glucose from carbohydrates gets converted into fat and stored in the body. To burn fat, it is necessary to limit carbohydrate intake.
  • High insulin levels, largely caused by frequent carbohydrate intake, prevent the body from burning fat and cause insulin resistance.
  • The Standard American Diet and recommended dietary guidelines are high in carbohydrates, which can promote weight gain and fat storage.
  • A low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet can be an effective way to reverse insulin resistance and promote weight loss.
  • Unfounded fears and myths, such as the belief that saturated fat is bad, hold people back from adopting a low-carb, high-fat diet.
  • Research linking cholesterol to heart disease has been flawed, and rather, insulin resistance and oxidative stress are stronger correlates.
  • Eating healthy fats and avoiding processed foods are important factors in maintaining a healthy diet.


Hello Health Champions. If you’re ready to lose that belly fat and you’re ready to lose that weight and do it once and for all, this is the video that’s going to bring it all together for you. Why are there so many new diets all the time? Nothing has changed the human body. The one that you have is the same genetic makeup as it was a hundred thousand years ago. So all you have to do is understand how the body really works, and then you will know why it’s doing the things that it’s doing. So watch this video very closely from beginning to end because only when you understand the mechanism will you be able to create that weight loss and that fat loss forever, and it will be easy.

Hey, I’m Dr. Ekberg. I’m a holistic doctor and a former Olympic decathlete, and if you want to truly master health by understanding how the body really works, make sure you subscribe, hit that bell, and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life saving video.

So, why do we gain fat? Is it because we’re eating too many calories? Well, of course it is, but that doesn’t answer anything. The question is why would we eat too many calories? What is it that determines that behavior? So there are two things really that we’re going to go over in some detail and really elaborate so that you get it. One is that we eat too often, and two is that we eat the wrong things. And once you understand why they are the wrong things and how things fit, then you’ll see it clear as day.

Do you think this bear is overweight? He might weigh a thousand pounds, he might have a huge percentage of body fat, but he’s perfectly normal and he is healthy, mobile, functional. He can run faster than you or I ever could. He has the exact right amount of fat for that time in his life, in his environment. He’s following natural behavior, and his behavior is dictated, it’s determined by hormones. Now, humans may not weigh a thousand pounds like the bear, but 75 percent of Americans are overweight today. More than 40 percent of Americans are obese. Is that because of a genetic switch? Did it just flip and turn us fat? No, because we’ve created most of these problems, almost all of them, in two generations after that genetic makeup has remained the same and been successful in keeping our weight normal for thousands of generations.

Is it willpower? Did we have willpower for all those years, and then all of a sudden it was just gone? I don’t think so. Sure, we have some food addictions, we have some cravings, but the question is why is that now? Just like the bear, we are following hormones. Hormones are determining our behavior, but unlike the bear, we have developed unnatural hormones, an unnatural balance of hormones because the food that we’re eating is not natural anymore. Every other animal on the planet eats food from nature that is appropriate for their species, and humans don’t do that anymore.

Now, I understand this can be extremely frustrating because we’ve been told so many different things. We’ve been told about this diet and that diet, and calories and low fat, and all of these different things. And you’ve been told the wrong thing. This is not your fault, but it doesn’t relieve you of responsibility. From now on, when you have access to the correct information, now you have to learn how your body really works so that you can make those changes and be successful once and for all.

The first issue I mentioned was that we eat too often. There’s a pattern, a cycle of feast and famine everywhere in nature. And we eat something when there’s plenty of food, we store the excess so that we have plenty left over when there is less. We can fast, we can burn through the reserves until we have a chance to eat again. Now for the bear, that cycle is about six months. They bulk up for six months so that they can afford a six-month hibernation without eating at all. Of course, humans don’t do that, and we can’t know for sure what our prehistoric humans did, but if we look at every other species on the planet, we can safely say that our ancestors did not have three square meals and snacks every two hours throughout the day. More likely, they probably ate once or twice a day when they were lucky, and if they were not so lucky, they might go a couple of three days without food. So there’s a fasting pattern, there’s a cycle built into our metabolism.

What about modern humans? Well, we probably get, if we’re lucky, eight hours and five minutes, and that’s if we can sleep a full eight hours and it takes us five minutes to find food when we get up. So what we have done as modern humans is we eat and we store, but then we bypass the fasting, we skip that part, and we skip the burning because you can’t burn unless you fast. And you just short that cycle out to eat and store and eat and store and eat and store. So it’s not really that you eat too much. You’re supposed to eat until you’re full. You don’t have to stuff yourself till you’re nauseous, but you’re supposed to eat until you’re satisfied, till you’ve had enough. That sends the body a signal that you’re safe, everything is okay, we can maintain your metabolism. When we try to skip, when we try to eat less, then we’re sending the body the message of deprivation, that there’s never quite enough, and the body starts slowing down on metabolism. So you’re supposed to eat until you’re full, but you’re not supposed to eat six times a day. And when we do that, that’s where we get stuck in this eat and store cycle. We never get a chance to balance that cycle out.

And how do we ever come to this point? Well, there are two things really. It’s because we’ve been told to eat six times a day, that we’ve been told that raising blood sugar six times a day is a good thing, which is atrocious. But the other part is the types of food that we’re eating sort of invite to that. You’ve probably heard about blood glucose, and here’s how that works and how it relates to fat and weight gain.

The average person has about 100 milligrams of glucose per deciliter. So for the average size person, that adds up to about three grams, okay? That’s half a teaspoon of glucose at any given time. And the body really likes to keep it in a tight range. So that when you’re fasting, you might be at 80 to 85 milligrams, and after a meal, it might be 120.

If you eat whole food with protein, like meat, and good fats, and non-starchy vegetables, then the changes, they fluctuate very, very slowly. Well, what about a diabetic or someone with insulin resistance? Theirs starts shooting up, and they have milligrams per deciliter. That’s only one more teaspoon. That means it’s gone from three grams to nine grams of circulating glucose. It doesn’t sound like much, right? But here’s what’s happening. You get these enormous blood sugar spikes, and when that happens, your body goes into emergency mode. This amount of blood glucose is very toxic to the brain. It ruins it. It destroys blood vessels, causing microvessel disease, which is the cause for kidney failure and blindness. Further, it causes neuropathy, which is the leading cause of amputations. So this is a big deal.

Now let’s say that you follow the recommendations and we’re not talking about snacks here. Let’s just keep it simple, and you eat 100 grams of carbohydrate three times a day, four hours apart. Now, you can’t use 100 grams of carbohydrate until you eat again, so you might be able to use 50. So at least 50 has to be stored. Now, a lot of times you will hear people say that carbohydrate is the preferred fuel because the body uses it first, it’s the preferential fuel. Well, it’s not that it prefers it, it’s that it has to use it first, it’s an emergency. It has to get this glucose out of the bloodstream. And if you ate 100 grams, all of that glucose has to get into the bloodstream before it gets into the cells. And this has to happen in a relatively short time period because even one teaspoon is going to shoot your glucose up to 300. And all this glucose has to pass through the bloodstream into the cells. And whatever extra carbohydrate you can’t use before the next meal, it has to be stored, the excess has to be stored. So every time you have something above this line here, your body goes into emergency mode. It releases a ton of insulin, which we’ll talk about in a little bit, and it stores the excess.

Now, how does the body store energy and why does it do that? Well, there are two types of energy that it can store, carbohydrate and fat. Now, in your muscles, you have protein storage, and this can be used in an extreme emergency. You can convert protein to energy. But that’s not the purpose. The purpose of protein is building blocks and structural parts. It’s carbohydrates and fat that we’re going to talk about today.

We have a very limited, very poor ability to store carbohydrate. Your muscles can hold about 1,600 calories. Your liver can store about 400 calories. And why do we store energy? For survival, okay? We need energy for movement. We need it to generate heat and to think, to move, we need those signals from the brain to control movement and metabolism and all those different things. And if we look at the total storage of carbs as being 2,000 calories, represented by this little square, then this is how much a lean, relatively lean person would store. And if you’re using up about 2,000 calories a day for survival, then that means if you relied completely solely on carbohydrates, you could live one day. And that means any time that humans didn’t have food for a day, we would be wiped out. We would never have made it as a species. And this is why we can store fat. Fat is a much more efficient form of storage. We can store 90 times as much, which is 180,000 calories, which would keep us alive for three months. You could live on that amount of fat for three months, drinking nothing but water, and do perfectly fine. And your body figures out the difference. It figures out how to function and do the best possible under those circumstances. And this isn’t even an overweight person. This is a 180-pound person with 28% body fat. So it’s not like a super slim athlete, but it’s not an overweight person either at 28%.

And where did that fat come from? It came primarily from glucose. The body can store any excess energy as fat, but as we saw in the previous example, it’s the excess glucose that most readily gets stored and converted into fat. And what we have to understand is if you start building up too much fat, if you have the desire to lose some weight, lose some fat, you can’t burn fat if you keep adding carbs. If you put more carbs in before you burn through the previous ones, you can never get to lose that fat. You can’t get to fat burning. And the other thing is, if your insulin is high, which again is a result of those carbohydrates, in the presence of high insulin, you can’t burn fat because your body is busy making fat. In the presence of high insulin, your body is making fat. And it is way too smart to make fat and burn fat at the same time. What would be the point? So you can think of carbohydrates as kindling. If you’re going to make a fire, you put some kindling in for short term, but that’s never how you intend to keep the fire burning. If you want to keep it burning for days and weeks, you put some big logs on, and that’s what the fat is.

Now, while we do want to reduce overall carbs, not all carbs are equally bad. They don’t work the same. What we have to understand is that a plant is made of glucose. If it comes from the plant kingdom, it is built from glucose. And if this glucose gets into the bloodstream, then it will trigger insulin to a much higher degree than protein or fat would. But if we take bread, for example, this bread is 70% of the weight is net carbs, pure starch. And that starch is going to get converted into glucose. So we have 3% of calories are from fat, 12% from protein, and 85% of the calories are from starch, from glucose. Two slices, which is very easy to eat, is 28 grams. And if we couple that with some jam and some orange juice and some sugar in the coffee and maybe some other part of the breakfast, it’s very easy to get up to 100 grams of carbs in one meal.

Let’s look at an example of a non-starchy vegetable like cabbage. It has 3% of its weight is net carbs, meaning that it can be absorbed and turn into glucose in the blood. 12% of calories from fat, 36% from protein, and 52% from carbohydrates. So the ratios are very different. The carbs are not as dominant. There is much, much, much less of them. But also, it is absorbed much slower, and you can’t eat as much. Two slices of toast is pretty easy to eat. Two pounds of cabbage is not that easy. So you’re just not going to load up on a bunch of carbs by eating non-starchy vegetables.

So the two factors are quantity and speed. How much are you eating and how quickly do they get in there? This is safe, and this is not.

What does insulin do? So much talk about insulin. Basically, it unlocks cells. You eat something, it turns to glucose. Glucose gets in the bloodstream, but it is no good to you until it’s in the cell. The cell is the metabolic machinery that’s actually going to use this glucose for energy. It can’t become energy until it’s in the cell. And that’s what insulin does. It unlocks the cell to allow it through, and then the glucose enters the cell. The cell uses some of it for energy and turns the rest of it into fat.

And here’s what that would look like. If we have a normal blood sugar, like we talked about before, it stays within that range, and then the insulin required is very moderate. It’s going to rise very, very slowly. The yellow line here represents insulin. It’s going to rise slowly in response to a slow rise in glucose, and we have a low insulin response. We remain insulin sensitive. That’s a healthy place to be.

But if we have the 300 milligram blood glucose example, like a diabetic, now it looks like this. And we have huge spikes of glucose. And whenever glucose is really high, we need a ton of insulin. This is an emergency. We have to get that glucose out of there, shuttle it through into the cells. But if we have that much insulin going, and we eat every four hours, that insulin doesn’t even have time to come down to baseline before we load up on more carbs. So carbs are the things that drive insulin high. The frequency amplifies it. So, if we do all of those things, now we drive that insulin higher and higher and higher. It works less and less and less. So the body has to make more and more insulin because the cells don’t respond. And now we have insulin resistance.

Let’s look at insulin resistance and our friend, the fat cell. What’s the purpose of a fat cell? Well, its purpose is to store fat, that’s where we load up our energy so we can survive a famine. A fat cell can grow quite a bit more than any other cell in the body, really. And in its shrunken state, it’s about 10 microns, 10 micrometers. But it can grow in diameter 20 times. So, because it’s a spherical or a volume structure, that means it can grow 8,000 times, it can expand and hold 8,000 times more fat. That’s the capacity. But when we start pushing the limit of that capacity, then this is not a healthy fat cell anymore. It becomes inflamed, we have stuffed it so full that it starts leaking, and now is where we get all of these metabolic problems, of insulin resistance, of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, and the list goes on and on.

Now let’s look at the historical perspective of what we’ve been eating. So, if we go about a hundred thousand years, some people argue we’ve been around with the same genetic makeup for about a quarter million years, but let’s just call it a really long time. For all of that time, 100% of what we ate was from nature, unprocessed, unmodified, just like every other species on the planet to this day. We ate from nature. We didn’t mess with it. No grain, no processed foods. We ate meat, vegetables, nuts, tubers, anything we could hunt, capture, dig up, or pick, basically just like every other species. Then, 8,000 years or so, give or take, we started with some agriculture, and that time frame is represented by this yellow here. So everything was still unprocessed. We ate. Most of what we ate was still whole food. The grain was probably processed to some degree, but it certainly wasn’t bleached or hybridized or anything like that. And maybe during this time, we also started using some oils, like a natural, easy-squeezed, pressed oil, like olive oil.

Then we get into the last 50 years. So, in comparison, this 100,000 years is probably like 5,000 generations, thousands, and thousands, and thousands of generations, and then we get into two generations, like from your grandparents basically. And this time period is so short that if I did that to scale, it wouldn’t even be one pixel. That’s a tiny, tiny little line here that wouldn’t even be visible. That’s how short a time frame that is where we have turned everything completely upside down. Now, hardly any of what we eat is unprocessed. There’s virtually no whole food to be had anymore. We eat white flour, sugar, plant oils, processed with harsh chemicals and high heat, with GMOs, chemicals, artificial flavors, artificial sugars, artificial colors, etc., etc. So almost all of this is non-food. We changed it. It’s not food anymore. And this is what we have to start realizing: that we come from a genetic makeup that is used to getting fed, and we’re not getting fed anymore.

Now, here’s an interesting question: if you were trying to get someone fat as fast as possible, what would that diet look like? Well, they haven’t done that with humans, but they do it with mice and rats on a regular basis because for certain studies, they want fat rats. So they designed obesogenic rat chow. They formulated it so that these rats would gain weight as fast as possible, and they came up with a formula that was 15% of calories from protein, 45% from fat, and 40% from carbohydrates. Mice are much smaller, rats are much smaller than humans, but if you convert these percentages to the human scale of 2,000 calories, then that’s about 200 grams of carbohydrate a day, about a hundred grams of fat, and about 70-75 grams of protein. Now, maybe it’s just me, but when you look at the standard American diet, it’s not that different. It’s almost as if this diet was designed to make you as fat as possible as fast as possible. And this is what they tell you. They say eat lots and lots of carbs. And then you say, „Well, that’s just the standard American diet, that’s not what they’re supposed to eat. People just eat junk food.“ Well, let’s look at the US daily allowances, then what they recommend. Now, they give us some ranges, so it’s not an exact number, they tell us 20 to 35% of fat, 45 to 65% carbohydrate. But again, it’s really not that different, right? It looks pretty much the same. So we’re talking about an obese population, we’re talking about reversing it, and they give you even more of the thing that is making you fat. They’re recommending you to eat as much as you possibly can of the thing that is making you fat.

Now, I want to contrast that with a low-carb or a ketogenic diet, which has the same amount of protein approximately, but it has very, very low carbohydrates. So a keto diet typically becomes ketogenic when you get carbohydrates under 5%, or about 20 grams a day. And what you do then is you eat moderate protein, and you fill up the rest of your energy from fat. So you get a profile that’s distinctly different than the other patterns. So I hope you can see that the obesogenic rat chow is very, very close to both what people eat and what they’re told to eat. But the low-carb lifestyle that’s often ridiculed is the one that’s actually making a difference.

Then are there any drawbacks to a low-carb high-fat diet? Well, in my opinion, the only drawback is unfounded fears because people don’t understand this. We’ve been conditioned and programmed so long that we think that we’re supposed to eat more and more and more carbohydrate because the fat on the body comes from fat. That’s just not how it works. And unfounded fears and myths are what’s holding people back. So one example is I hear all the time, „Well, your recommendations, they’re going to clog your arteries because research showed that high-fat diets are unhealthy.“ Well, how do they do that research? Have they actually researched this on a healthy low-carb high-fat diet? How do they do that? Well, first of all, most of these studies are done on rats. And again, what they do when they go high fat, when they call it a high-fat diet, they start off with a standard American diet or those approximate ratios, and then they take the fat from 35% to 45%. That’s their idea of a high-fat diet. But here’s the problem. They don’t reduce the carbs significantly, right? You cannot burn fat while your insulin is high. And taking it from 250 grams to 200 grams is not going to reverse your insulin resistance, right? So you’re maintaining carbs at a level that’s going to maintain insulin, which means you cannot burn fat. So now you raise the fat and you get even unhealthier. So even though I eat tons of fat, I do it while eating very low-carb. If you’re very insulin sensitive, then the fats are very healthy, as long as they’re healthy fats. If you cram in a bunch of extra fats while you’re cramming carbohydrates and sugar, then that’s extremely unhealthy. So the research is not done on a high-fat low-carb diet. It’s done on a high-fat extremely high carbohydrate diet.

Another thing I hear very often is that saturated fat is bad. So the keto diet, the low-carb diet, the paleo, they promote way too much saturated fat, which raises cholesterol, which clogs arteries. And I hear a lot of concerned people who say, „Well, I started eating like you said and I feel better. My insulin is down. I lose the weight. My doctor says I’m healthier, but my cholesterol went up, and now I’m worried that I’m going to clog my arteries.“ Well, let’s look at that. When we study the research, there’s some research from the early 1950s and 1960s, very old, very flawed research, that suggested there may be some relationship between cholesterol and heart disease. It wasn’t a causative relationship, it was observational. They found that people with higher cholesterol might have more heart disease. But in every study since then, there’s virtually no correlation whatsoever. However, if we look at insulin resistance, if we look at the amount of insulin in the bloodstream, there’s a very strong correlation to heart disease. There’s a very strong correlation to diabetes. There’s a very strong correlation to stroke and to Alzheimer’s and even to cancer. So all of the things that cholesterol gets blamed for is actually about insulin resistance. And if you eat a good quality fat while reducing your carbs, then your insulin is going down. Even if your cholesterol goes up, it is irrelevant. It has no bearing on heart disease. And there’s one exception I want to cover, that’s if you have small oxidized LDL. So you often hear about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, where LDL is supposedly good and LDL is supposedly bad. Well, it doesn’t work like that. All of them are good unless they get damaged and oxidized. Now, that LDL is actually a risk of heart disease, but that doesn’t come from cholesterol. It was the insulin resistance and the oxidative stress that damaged the cholesterol so that it became harmful. So it’s never cholesterol by itself, it is the insulin resistance. And you can reduce the insulin resistance by eating saturated fat or any healthy fat. What you want to avoid are plant oils, and you want to eat lots of good, healthy fat. If the animal was healthy, the fat is healthy. So keep it simple. It’s really not that complicated. The hardest thing we have to do is to unlearn all of the stupid things that we’ve learned in the last 50 years about cholesterol and calories and saturated fats. So it’s simple. You eliminate sugar, you eat till you’re full, you reduce carbohydrates, you eat meat, vegetables, fat, you stop processed foods, you eat healthy fat, you eat less often, and you keep insulin low by doing all those things. And you learn what actual real food is. If you enjoyed this video and you’d like to learn more about how the body actually works, I think you should check out that one next. Thank you so much for watching. I’ll see you in the next video.