How does storage of deitary fat happen?

(Ryan Tuttle) #1

Ive been looking for an answer to this and havnt found any answers yet.

So i understand that insulin helps pull glucose out of the blood and stores it in the adipose tissue and elsewhere. Etc.

But by what mechanism does dietary fat get stored into the adipose tissue? Especially when there is no insulin present?



(Erin Macfarland ) #3

Here’s a very science-y podcast about insulin that discusses how dietary fat is stored. Chris Masterjohn isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and he isn’t exclusively a promoter of LCHF (though he is not against it either). But he has good explanations about how our body uses and stores energy.

(John) #4

Couple good posts, but this part specifically caught my attention. Why would there not be insulin present? The only case you wouldn’t have it is if you were Type 1, and there are indeed examples of children who could not store fat due to that fact. A normal person, even on keto, will have plenty of insulin circulating at all times and create more as needed.

(Ryan Tuttle) #5

Are you saying that insulin promotes the storage of both glucose and fats? Thats what im trying to figure out.

(Ryan Tuttle) #6

I should have said low insulin / no insulin spike. But hypothetically or even in the case of type 1 diabetes are dietary fats stored?

(Siobhan) #7

Yes, and long story short is if there is no insulin you dont store fat, period (there are medical conditions involving this).
Protein stimulates insulin a little, and most people get some carbs but even if not you have basal (resting) insulin which keeps fat storage to a certain level. This is insulin that is always present, not stimulated by food.

Also it should be noted that excess glucose beyond glycogen stores get sent to the liver to be converted to triglycerides (fat) for long term storage.

(John) #8

Here is the image I was thinking of from Fung’s book.



other than in type 1 diabetics, some insulin will be released and be present in the blood stream when the mechanism of digestion starts, or possibly even anticipating food. there is never a case when there isn’t. its not on or off, its upregulated or down regulated. the body does not operate in on/off absolutes.

see these posts for more info.

(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #10

A non-itunes way of getting to that and other of his podcasts is here:

I believe this is that specific podcast (from 22 July 2017):

From just those “Cliff Notes”, I’d say he very definitely is not a promoter of low-carb.
It’s even clearer in the transcript:

(though I must admit, I don’t understand all the science he presents. I’d need to re-read it at least a couple more times).

I’d be interested to know what @richard and @carl think about this. Chris Masterjohn is definitely about science. But is he interpreting it correctly?

Edit: a quote from the transcript:

01:32:20 The path to weight loss is the path to a sustainable caloric deficit.

And looking at the biochemistry and physiology of this topic makes it very clear that the path to weight loss is the path to a sustainable caloric deficit. And for some people, that may mean low-carb. For others, it may mean low-fat. For others, it may mean vegan or paleo. The most reliable way is to track calories in my opinion—not necessarily the easiest but the most reliable way—because that actually allows you to judge whether your intuitive tools, like vegan or paleo or low-fat or low-carb or Atkins or Mediterranean or whatever it is, are actually leading to a caloric deficit because the caloric deficit is how they result in weight loss.

And I’m not saying that everyone needs to track calories or that everyone needs to track calories in order to lose weight, but I do definitely think that if your more intuitive approach isn’t working, you should be conscious of the fact that if it’s not working, it’s either because it’s not leading to a sustainable caloric deficit, or perhaps there’s something else you need to work on that’s interfering with your ability to sustain a caloric deficit.

hmm…so Chris Masterjohn PhD is really a CICO guy after all…?

(Erin Macfarland ) #11

@Mike_W_Ellwood you are right he is not exclusively low carb but he does promote it in certain contexts. And he has a very detailed and nuanced approach to his conclusions which I respect. Just thought I’d put another perspective out there because I don’t think keto is appropriate for everyone (go ahead and crucify me!!) . I think it’s important to be open minded and listen to other perspectives then do what feels best to you. But it is a very fascinating podcast nonetheless!

(Erin Macfarland ) #12

And as a side note it’s been noted by many people on this forum and the podcast that eating keto naturally suppresses appetite which leads to inadvertent caloric restriction. So there is still some degree of CICO thinking being promoted within the framework of keto.

(Ryan Tuttle) #13

Personally I enjoy hearing opposing arguments and different ideas. Imo it doesnt make sense to only listen to biased sources.

I will listen to the podcast when i get home. Sounds interesting.

(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #14

Yes, I agree with this.

I’ve followed his career, on and off, with interest over the years. He first came to my attention when he used to write a lot about cholesterol. He also wrote a lot for the Weston Price Foundation, and his articles were always of interest, and seemed to go deeper than most things out there.
However, I’d incorrectly got the impression that he was more pro-low-carb than he turned out to be, and this was a bit of a disappointment.

Not just this podcast, but several of the other ones I’ve listened to or read the transcripts of, do chip away at some of what many of us have come to regard as the pillars of the LCHF/keto movement.

Yes, I agree with this as well. It’s important to take on board different points of view, especially when they are backed up by science, as his output always is, or appears to be.

It’s worth remembering of course that science is never as black and white as lay-people tend to think, and different interpretations are always possible. Plus the human body is immensely complex, and I’m sure there remains an awful lot that we have yet to learn about it.

Note that there are also transcripts (as well as the podcasts) on his website:

(in case it might be quicker to read those, rather than listen to the podcast).

(Ryan Tuttle) #15

So ive listened to a portion of it but i need to take a break as it is pretty intense.

What ive gathered so far is that in a calorie deficit cells can ignore insulin and behave in a way that preserves themselves.

But i noticed he talked about the heart getting first dibs in dietary fat. I thought the fat had to be converted to ketones in the liver to be used by muscle and brain cells. Is this not true?

Also just because the body has the ability to use fat despite of insulin present doesnt mean that it happens easily. I always assumed that this condition is what causes feelings of intense craving?

(Erin Macfarland ) #16

Oh that’s really interesting @Ryan_Tuttle, I’d like to know the answer to that, about the cause of cravings…

(Erin Macfarland ) #17

And yes, his podcasts are like biology lectures, haha!


fatty acids cannot cross the blood brain barrier. only ketones and glucose.

almost all other cels can use fatty acids more directly

(Mike Glasbrener) #19

Holy crap! It’s a science lesson! What’s interesting is that he talks only about biochemistry. He doesn’t discuss how dietary changes affect hormones and how that may change the activation level of different pathways… He also goes into thermodynamics… A short term condition. However, anyone who does keto knows there’s longer term changes that happen. So thermodynamics isn’t truly a golden rule long term.

(Always take time to stop and eat the bacon) #20

The difference between the keto understanding and regular CICO is that the keto perspective sees the causality as opposite. In other words, the standard view is that reducing caloric intake causes weight loss; whereas keto is based on the idea that weight loss causes caloric intake to go down.