Burning Fat vs Carbs

Last Updated on April 8, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Have you been curious about burning fat vs carbs? If you’re wondering how to burn fat instead of carbs, keep reading for my tips and more.

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Everyone seems to have a different theory about how to lose weight. Some people count calories. Others watch their fat and some monitor their carbs. But, regardless of what your perfect diet looks like to you, the fact is that hacking your metabolism is how you burn fat vs carbs.

Have you been curious about burning fat vs carbs? If you're wondering how to burn fat instead of carbs, keep reading for my tips and more.

Burning Fat vs Carbs

When we eat, our bodies take those calories and use them for energy. Any excess energy from sugar or carbs is stored as fat in your body. When your body needs energy throughout the day, it either burns the carbs you are feeding it or it burns the fat you have stored in your body.

To lose weight, you need to burn the fat in your body. And, you can do that by limiting the number of carbs that you take in. It’s not just about calories. It’s about what you eat.

Check out carb cycling 101 for more information.

Recipe for Chocolate Eclair Cake with Glaze

Are all foods the same?

Look at it like this, a 12 ounce can of soda has about the same number of calories as two pieces of salmon sashimi. But, clearly, they aren’t the same in nutrition. And, your body won’t process them the same way.

Without getting into complicated explanations. Your body will not handle the sugar from the soda the same way that it handles the protein and healthy fats from the salmon.

And, the result of one will be burning carbs while the other will be burning fat. The key is understanding what to eat when.

a healthy dinner on a white table

What to eat when?

I’ve experimented with a variety of diets from Paleo to Mediterranean to Weight Watchers. I’ve been everywhere from 138 to 162 in weight. And, the one thing that all of these diets had in common was figuring out what to eat when.

Some diets have complicated rules about calories, points, fat, or allowed foods to eat. And, they didn’t all take into consideration my activity level or my metabolism. Ideally, you should eat based on what your metabolism is at the moment. In most cases, you should be eating a low-carb meal that is not made up of heavily processed foods. 

The lower your carbs are, the more likely your body will begin burning fat which will cause you to lose weight. The more carbs you eat, the more your body will store for the future. These carbs turn into more fat since we generally do not burn all of the carbs we eat. 

The key is to find out what to eat to put your body into fat-burning mode and not in carb-burning mode. To do this, I’ve started using Lumen.

Lumen works by measuring your body's carbon dioxide concentration by breathing into a handheld Lumen device.

What is Lumen?

Lumen is a pocket-sized CO2 sensor and flow meter to figure out your body’s fuel source. It tells you if you’re burning fat, carbohydrates, or a combination! With the Lumen App, I can customize my meal plan and food choices based on readings from the Lumen so that it works best for me. 

Lumen works by measuring your body’s carbon dioxide concentration by breathing into a handheld device. By breathing into the Lumen at different times during the day, you can see whether you’re burning fat or carbs.

And, each morning, it gives you a score for the day based on the previous day’s information. That way, I know if I need to eat low, moderate, or high carb on that specific day.

screenshot from the Lumen app

While I’ve only started using this as part of my weight loss journey, I’m amazed at how long some of the carb-heavy foods I was eating are impacting what my body burns. It took several days of low-carb eating to reach the point where I was burning any fat at all. 

I’ll be sharing updates on how my healthy living journey is going including my progress with Lumen.

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