Fat Cell Metabolic Rate Slowed by High-Carb Diets

by Mike Mutzel


The carbohydrate quantity in your diet may influence your metabolic rate, a new study finds.

Drs. Ben Bikman and David Ludwig and others recently discovered that high-carb diets slow the rate of fat tissue metabolism compared to low-carb diets.

The authors speculated that, over time, this increased metabolic activity within fat cells pivot may favor weight loss instead of weight gain.

Video Breakdown and Images:




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Studies Mentioned:


Bikman, B. T. et al. A high-carbohydrate diet lowers the rate of adipose tissue mitochondrial respiration. Eur J Clin Nutr 1–4 (2022) doi:10.1038/s41430-022-01097-3.

Show Notes:

01:00 It can be easier to lose weight, manage blood sugar and keep triglycerides low, if carbohydrate intake is shifted to days when one is physically active.

02:04 The mitochondria in your fat cells are part of the energy equation.

03:11 Uncontrolled type 1 diabetics have a higher energy expenditure than expected for their lean body mass. The immune system is attacking the pancreas and your beta cells are releasing no insulin.

04:28 Carbohydrates may cause fat tissue to become uncoupled. Composition of carbs in your diet influence the metabolic activity of the mitochondria within your fat tissue.

04:50 Muscle tissue should be tightly coupled so it efficiently converts energy from food to ATP.

05:08 Fat cells should be slightly uncoupled, so it wastes stored lipids. Brown fat cells do not burn fat for energy, it uses it to create heat.

06:20 Consuming 60% of overall energy intake in the form of carbohydrates, causes more tightly coupled mitochondria in fat tissue. This is compared to consuming 20% of energy in the form of carbohydrates. A lower carb diet causes more uncoupling.

07:47 Lower carb diets may cause you fat cells to be more metabolically active compared to higher carb diets. There was a statistically significant difference between 60% carb and 20% carb intake.

09:40 If you are having a hard time losing fat, consider cycling your carbohydrates, or go on a 20% low carb diet. There may be an adjustment period for your workouts. There is benefit to intra-workout carb consumption.

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