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What is Oxidative Priority, and How Can It Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals?

When we hear about weight loss, we often hear about things like cutting calories and exercising more. What we don’t hear about often enough is oxidative priority.

Understanding how oxidative priority works can be the key to unlocking your weight loss success.

So What is Oxidative Priority?

The phrase “oxidative priority” refers to the sequence of fuels that the body burns for energy. Some fuels, like alcohol, are burnt first, while others, like fat, are stored first and burnt as a last resort.

Our bodies need to prioritise the fuel they burn because they only have so much storage capacity for many different fuel types. For example, the body doesn’t have storage capacity for alcohol, so it needs to burn alcohol first when it’s in your system. Unfortunately for anyone trying to lose stubborn weight, our bodies have unlimited storage space for fat.

Here’s the priority our bodies naturally take when burning different types of fuel for energy.

1. Alcohol

2. Ketones

3. Excess protein

4. Glucose

5. Fatty acids

6. Body fat

How Understanding Oxidative Priority Can Help You Lose Weight

You can see how oxidative priority can lead to frustration for people who are trying to lose weight. If you have other fuel types, such as alcohol, glucose, and carbohydrates, your body might never need to turn to fat for fuel.

However, if you eliminate alcohol and dramatically minimise carbohydrates and glucose, your body will end up needing to burn fat for fuel. This is where significant weight loss can take place.

When your body is in ketosis, your oxidative priority gets altered because your body produces a new source of energy, ketone bodies. These are created from fatty acids and provide an alternative energy source your body can use for fuel.

Your body prioritises ketone bodies over sugar when you are in ketosis, thereby shifting the oxidative priority. Therefore, your body burns more fat since ketone bodies are made from fatty acids.

A Few Things to Remember with Oxidative Priority and a Ketogenic Lifestyle

Following a keto lifestyle can help your body burn more fat because it will prioritise ketone bodies over glucose and carbohydrates. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re trying to lose weight.

1. You still need to burn calories

Oxidative priority doesn’t impact the number of calories you burn. So, you will still need to include exercise to burn calories. This doesn’t mean you should restrict yourself entirely; it just means you shouldn’t reward yourself with calorie-laden foods after your workout.

2. Don’t go overboard with fats

Living a keto lifestyle doesn’t mean you can have all the fats you want. Make sure you eat healthy fats (like lean meats, eggs, avocados, healthy oils, etc.). Say no to saturated fats.

3. Time your meals

How many meals you eat per day doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on oxidative priority. However, it’s essential to follow an intermittent fasting regimen, so you aren’t eating all day long. Most people find success by eating during an eight-hour window and then fasting for 16 hours.

Bottom Line

Understanding oxidative priority can be your secret weight-loss weapon. When your body is in ketosis, you’ll be burning fat instead of glucose and carbohydrates. This can help you push through weight loss plateaus and ensure you burn fat in a healthy way.

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Chan, Z. (2020, November 18). If you think there is abundant diet advice, remember this one. Medium. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from

Cronise, R. J., Sinclair, D. A., & Bremer, A. A. (2017, February). Oxidative priority, meal frequency, and the energy economy of food and activity: Implications for longevity, obesity, and cardiometabolic disease. Metabolic syndrome and related disorders. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from

Kendall, M. (2021, September 23). Oxidative priority: The key to unlocking your body fat stores. Optimising Nutrition. Retrieved November 7, 2021, from

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