What is Lipolysis & How Does it Happen?

When you’re trying to lose weight, you are concentrating on removing fat cells from the body. While you do this with a deficit of calories, it’s important to understand what the body is doing during fat loss to make the process successful.

Before we can dive into the process of lipolysis, we should understand a bit more about how and where fat cells are stored. If you ask most people where their fat is stored, they’ll grab a part of their body and give it a pinch. This is definitely where some fat is stored, but there are other locations on the body that are not visible.

Body fat is stored inside a special cell known as the white adipose tissue. Years ago, people believed that you are stuck with a set amount of fat cells from birth, and you can’t remove those fat cells from the body. This isn’t the case at all.

white adipose tissue

What is Lipolysis?

The breakdown of fat stored in fat cells is called lipolysis. When the fat cells, or triglycerides, are broken down, they’re turned into glycerol and fatty acids. Those free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream with the ability to circulate through the entire body.

For lipolysis to occur, there are a few things that need to happen within the body. The enzyme sensitive lipase, or HSL, has to be present. For this enzyme to be active, there has to be reactions on a cellular level.

lipolysis

What is Insulin’s Role?

This key element in the process of lipolysis has to be at a level that encourages weight loss. The pancreas releases insulin, which is used to clean glucose out of the blood. The pancreas will direct the body, through insulin, to clean the glucose and use them for energy. When the glucose in the blood is overwhelming, the muscles and organs stop listening to the insulin produced by the pancreas. They effectively close their doors to glucose, which causes the glucose to head directly for the fat cells.

Lowering glucose levels through a low-carb diet is often the answer for those who have a high level of insulin in their bodies without it being effective. When you’re not using the glucose in the blood for energy, the body will search for its energy in other ways. This is why it’s important to reduce the glucose in the body. The fat cells get burned for energy instead.

low carb diet

Lipolysis Stimulation

The way you stimulate lipolysis is by eating foods that encourage fat to be burned as a fuel source. While some believe you can take supplements to stimulate the fat-burning process, there are natural ways that this process can occur as mentioned above like with a low-carb diet. While it’s not the carbs alone that cause an increase in the insulin production, lowering the consumption of carbs throughout the day can lessen the glucose in the bloodstream.

You’ll need to maintain a calorie deficit to see the body start to lose weight, and when you stop eating so many carbs, you’ll start burning fat cells.

smaller portions to lose weight

Reaching a State of Ketosis

You’ve started to lower your carb intake. You’re counting calories and see a huge reduction in the amount of calories per day. How do you know when you enter a state of lipolysis? After a few weeks on your carb-reduced diet, you’ll start to see some weight loss. Other than an obvious bit of weight loss, you’ll also start the process of ketosis. This is the state that you want to be in for true fat burning.

Lipolysis starts the process of ketosis, which sees the production of ketones. Ketones are the result of burned fat for fuel to organs in the body. This includes energy to the brain for healthy brain function. The body can’t run directly on fat as fuel, so when it’s burned, that results in ketones. One of the biggest clues to a body in ketosis is the fruity smell of the person’s breath.

ketosis benefits

Fat Loss Factors

When it comes to fat loss, there are a few factors that are in play. Reduced insulin production and reduced glucose in the blood equals lipolysis stimulation. This stimulation leads to burning fat as fuel for the body in the form of ketones. It can be a complicated process that you have to monitor without being able to see exactly what your body is using for fuel.

You can monitor your fat burning production by counting calories and removing most of the simple carbs from your diet. The ones that turn directly into glucose are some of the most harmful carbohydrates you can consume. Instead, focus on removing carbs and eating more protein.

Watch for ketosis by understand the signs, which are ketone breath, increased energy, and reduced hunger. You’ll also need to urinate more and have increased thirst. If you have a problem with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor before you start a diet that reduces the glucose in your blood. It’ll impact the insulin you give yourself. Always tricky unless you’re under a doctor’s care.

Jeanette Kierstead

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Jeanette Kierstead