"Later that morning – after all the tests were completed, I learned from Volek just how profound the changes to my body had been. Yes, my weight was almost the same, but what weight I had gained – 5.6 ounces or just under half a pound – was almost entirely fat and in my abdominal area, as the follow-up body scan showed – exactly as I had experienced it. Just as interesting, and the cause, perhaps, of this gain, was that my resting metabolic rate had fallen, by an intriguing five percent. This drop was within the day-to-day variation for this test (6.2%), but it was in the direction predicted by the diet and the magnitude to explain my small gain in weight.
"In just one month, it seems, I had reduced the number of calories I needed to maintain my body at rest by 5%, the equivalent of 76 calories. This may not sound like a lot, but over time, those calories – the amount in a one-ounce piece of mozzarella, for example, or eleven whole almonds—would add up. If I didn’t reduce my food intake in order to compensate for this decrease (go on a diet, in other words), I would put on a pound in about 46 days; 8 pounds in a year. And this 5% drop in metabolic rate was after just one month. What if I kept to this high omega-6 diet for six months? Or a year? A lifetime as most Americans do? Would my metabolic rate continue to fall?
"The change in resting metabolic rate wasn’t all. At the same time my RMR was falling, my arteries were becoming stiffer, or less able to expand and contract, as revealed by the follow-up ultrasound. In just 30 days, the amount of dilation my brachial artery was capable of had dropped by 22%, a change much larger than the day-to-day variation of this test. The direction of this change was also predicted by what is known about omega-6s, but the amplitude surprised everyone involved in this project.
"In the coming weeks, these findings from Volek’s lab were backed up by the results of the blood tests, analyzed by Bibus in Minnesota. At the same time my metabolic rate was decreasing and my arteries were becoming stiffer, the omega-6s in my red blood cells (and therefore the rest of my body) were increasing and the amount of omega-3s were falling – dramatically and precipitously.
"In just ten days, the total amount of omega-3s in my red blood cells had dropped from 10% to 6%. The amount of omega-6s had risen from 21% to 29%. The substitutions continued during the last twenty days of my diet, but the biggest change was almost immediate, as I thought it might be. The omega-3s in my cells were quickly being replaced by seed fats, as I find it helpful to think of them, fats that change with the seasons for most animals, but that Americans eat, and overeat, all year long."
The report (Microsoft Word doc) this is excerpted from is also on her web site.