Or a Fat Burner? Does it even matter?
That’s the $64 million question, isn’t it?
Sugar burners rely on sugar for that quick energy burst: think refined carbs, gels, beans, chews. Sugar burners tend to have a quick burst of energy and then a crash (hello, mile 10 slump in a half!).
Fat burners are also called fat adapted, as they believe that they are burning fat for fuel, basically by eating much less carbs: think Paleo, Atkins, Keto. Fat burners claim it helps them to sustain their energy and bring mental clarity.
I am not a coach, a nutritionist — you know the drill. These are just my own thoughts.
Am I a fat burner?
Oh heck no. Consuming 20 gms of carbs a day — seriously, how do you even do that? Fat burners typically report higher energy (I wish!), less cravings, and the ability to go a long time between meals — some days I do go a long time between meals; and some days I’m just inexplicably hungry. And hangry.
Am I a sugar burner?
I usually do rely on sugar for fuel. While I may make some of my own, in general I’m consuming chews and simple carbs for fuel when it comes to running.
Who am I?
I think I fall somewhere in between being a sugar burner and a fat burner. I’m careful about sugar, but it has a way of creeping into my life, which causes me to crave more of the sweet stuff, which in turn causes the scale to slowly and steadily creep up.
I am not afraid of fat — healthy fats like almond butter, avocado, butter (yes! in moderation), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, whole eggs. We need some fat in our lives, for certain vitamins, to keep us feeling satisfied — but again, the question remains: how much is too much? And the answer is it’s going to vary from person to person.
Most of my carbs aren’t refined (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, quinoa, oats), but the truth is that an excess of anything in our bodies is going to turn to fat.
How to put the damper on a sugar burner
Here’s the interesting thing: I am still working my way through the Eat Live Thrive Diet book (Amazon Affiliate link, hoping to have a review out soon — maybe next week). It is not keto, but it does suggest that most of us that struggle with our weight are probably eating too many carbs — even if they’re unrefined carbs.
I’m always open to exploring, so while going through the elimination phase, I was still running (a little — including that 5 mile race you can read about here) — without eating any grains. I was still getting in plenty of carbs, though — but I was eating less carbs than normal. In addition to no grains, I was also easing up a bit on the fruit (which also helped me to eat less carbs).
Where did my carbs come from? Fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables like butternut squash and carrots, sweet potatoes (occasionally), greek yogurt, protein powders, and a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup. You’d be surprised how many carbs you can get in your diet without ever consuming a grain. I have to admit I was!
So what did I eat for breakfast on race day? I made pancakes with half a banana, a scoop of protein powder, and some egg whites. Which seemed to work just fine. I had meant to bring a snack with me because I knew I’d be going 3 hours between breakfast and the race, but I forgot it. It might have helped with the whole energy thing towards the end of the race but maybe not. Again, we’ll never know.
I did find it interesting that when I embraced this change and eliminated some foods (temporarily); that are problematic for many women, my cravings for sugar did, indeed, go way down and my overall feeling of being full went way up. I could eat less calories — even when running — and still feel satisfied.
Unlike my initial return to running after my last half, I did not have a spike in hunger on the days I ran (read my thoughts about runger here). I almost never dealt with rungries at all.
What is the perfect diet?
It’s highly individual, is what it is. What works for you in your 20s will almost definitely not work for you in your 50s, unless you have really good genes. What works for me may not work for you. I personally believe that carbs are not the devil, that we do literally run on carbs, and cutting out an entire food group is never a wise decision (unless it’s based on real health issues).
Have you ever heard of sugar burners vs fat burners?
Which do you think you are?
Have you found your perfect way of eating?
I don’t think that we need to become fat adapted, but I do believe that most of us would benefit from less carbs in our diets. What carbs we do consume should be *mostly* unprocessed (there’s always room for a few fun foods!). We don’t need to fear fat, either. Sugar . . . that’s a different story. — Chocolaterunsjudy