Metabolic Flexibility Could Be the Key To Hacking Your Metabolism—Here's How

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If you're looking to understand your metabolism in hopes of losing weight, the key could be metabolic flexibility. Haven’t heard this term before? We brought in New York Times best-selling author and expert on the topic (he literally wrote a book on it, The Met Flex Diet), Dr. Ian Smith to explain how to hack your metabolism using metabolic flexibility.  

The Met Flex Diet

The Met Flex Diet


What Is Metabolic Flexibility?  

"The two main fuel sources for the body are carbs and fat. You're considered metabolically flexible when you can burn either one of these fuels efficiently when it's available," Dr. Ian says.  

Here, he breaks it down. "An analogy that might explain this better is that between a hybrid car and a traditional gasoline-powered car. A hybrid electric car has both a battery and a fuel tank. The car can be operated on battery power, but when the battery is almost depleted, it switches to gas from the fuel tank as its energy source. A hybrid car is like a metabolically flexible state, because it can use whatever power source is available. A gasoline-powered car, however, can only use gas as its power source. Unfortunately, once the gas tank is empty, the car can no longer run until more fuel is pumped into it. This would be metabolically inflexible," he explains.  

"Being metabolically flexible is the key to losing weight, having energy, and feeling your best," Dr. Ian adds.  

The diet Dr. Ian lays out in his book teaches you to be metabolically flexible. And, those who have been on the program for six weeks and have followed a particular diet and exercise regimen, are losing weight.  

However, it's important to note that results do vary. "The key is not always the number on the scale, it's also about your physique. So people are losing inches in their chest, in their thighs, all over. So, the metrics are beyond the scale, it's also about your inches," Dr. Ian explains.  

How Can You Improve Your Metabolic Flexibility?  

Dr. Ian explains that there are 3 ways to start improving your metabolic flexibility right away. "Some ways to improve metabolic flexibility are exercise, intermittent fasting, and cyclical ketosis," he says.  

What Is Cyclical Ketosis?  

"Ketosis is the process that occurs when your body doesn't have enough carbs to burn as a source of fuel, so it turns to fat. Cyclical keto basically alternates between a standard keto diet for five or six days a week and a higher carb diet on the other days. On the keto days, 70-90% of your daily calories will come from fatty foods, but the key is choosing healthy fats like avocados, flaxseed, and nut butters. 10-20% should come from protein like eggs, fish, and poultry. I'm not a huge fan of a full-on keto diet because that much fat can cause some health issues, which is why I want you to eat healthier fats and alternate with non-keto days. Obviously this may not work for some people, like people with liver issues, which is why you should always consult your doctor," Dr. Ian explains.  

"Then, spend one or two days eating lots of carbs to allow your body to adjust to burning carbs again now that they are available. The belief is that alternating between carb availability and fat availability teaches your body how to become more metabolically flexible by learning how to adapt and burn whatever fuel is available," he adds.  

"On these days, as much as 70% of your calories will come from carbs, 20% from protein, and only 10% from fat. It's almost the complete opposite of the keto days. Focus on complex carbs, which are more nutritious, higher in fiber, and digested more slowly than simple carbs. Examples of complex carbs include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and fruits and veggies," he says.  

Dr. Ian also shares a recipe that you can eat on the Met Flex Diet, Chicken Burrito Bowls. Yum!  

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