Category Archives: FAT

The Brains Role in “Frying” Fat : Brown Fat Burns Calories and Benefits Health

While most people  are trying to lose fat, they may not realize the brain may be an important focus. The scientific journal “Cell” just published an animal study that describes the brain’s role in regulating the conversion (browning/”fat frying”) of inactive white storing fat (WAT) to metabolically active brown fat (BAT).

This research adds to others like my blog on the brain and gut connection,  associating the brain’s role with physical health.

It seems that neurons (in the hypothalamus) work to burn calories and then actually changing inactive WAT fat to more active BAT burning fat. The whole process includes neurons, hormones and enzymes.

There are 3 types of body fat that are distinguished by color.  White fat (WAT) is stored and not active, it comprises 90% of the body’s fat. Brown fat (BAT, but should be termed BRAT LOL) actually works to burn calories, maintain blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, BAT can burn as much as 5 times more fat than beige fat. Beige fat is a mixture of WAT and BAT.

2 neurons found in the brain work synergistically with enzymes, leptin and insulin:

Agouti-related protein expressing (AgRP) neurons encourage white fat storage otherwise known as “hunger” neurons that lend itself to storing white fat.

Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) are satiety signaling neurons that stimulate white fat “frying” or changing it to beige fat help to protect against fat storage and promote obesity. POMC neurons were found to be involved with insulin and leptin (produced by WAT) resistance that contribute to obesity blood sugar control and satiety.

Researchers from Monash University in Australia completed a study,, where enzymes (phosphatases also found in POMC neurons) were removed from the signaling reactions of insulin and leptin.

When the communication signals for insulin and leptin increased so did beige fat, BAT became more active while WAT decreased signifying the relationship between the brain and body weight and metabolism.

There have also been findings on fat color and environmental influences. Exercise can “fry” white fat so that it acts like BAT via a hormone called irisin and increases UCP1 making brown fat more active.

Cold temperatures have been found to increase beige fat activity. In a Japanese study male volunteers burned almost 300 more calories while sitting in a room at 63 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. PET-CT scan showed an increase in beige fat activity.

There is even talk over brown seaweed, licorice root and hot peppers having similar capabilities.

The bad news for those who are overweight, they may not be able to convert white fat to brown fat as easily as their thin peers.

As science tries to get a better grip on understanding the brains role in activating calorie burning brown fat and putting the pieces of the puzzle together in order to understand BAT’s role in health, there is one thing for sure the darker the body fat the better.

On a side note, I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of Martin Luther King Jr. on this day. Thank you, sir.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in FAT, insulin, weight loss


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3 Ways Eating Fat Increases Longevity


Clear your mind of fat-free eating and you will live a long healthy life. There are so many reasons why the concept of eliminating fat (or lowering fat) makes us fat, ruins health and messes with moods,,,,  It is not easy to overcome the low-fat brainwashing we have endured over all these years but it is a necessity for optimal weight, wellness and longevity.

Understanding the link between insulin and aging, metabolic health risk factors and weight and its connection with carbohydrates is a much more solid philosophy than the eat less fat and calories for better health theory.  While applying a simple math equation on paper, weight loss equals fewer calories consumed and more calories burned, seems logical. It is too simplistic for it to hold much value in a complex body system.

Realizing that food is in fact a fuel that has so much more value than just providing calories. Food is essential to life; what you put in your mouth has a profound effect on muscle, appetite, digestion, hormones, mental focus and so much more throughout its metabolism and absorption.

Dr. Joseph Mercola,, writes about how eating more fat can increase longevity through:

1. Genetics: ” In a report published in the August 2013 issue of Cell Reports, scientists discovered that the “mTOR gene” is a significant regulator of the aging process that includes insulin signaling, cellular metabolism and energy balance —in mice.”

2. Clinical parameters: Clinical markers for aging, heart health, appetite regulation and weight improve.

 A 2010 study examined the effects of a high-fat diet on typical markers of aging. Study participants were given a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet with adequate protein, and the results were health improvements across the board. Serum leptin decreased by an average of eight percent, insulin by 48 percent, fasting glucose by 40 percent, triglycerides by nearly eight percent, and free T3 (thyroid hormone) by almost six percent.”

“In fact, Dr. Peter Attia (a Stanford University trained physician) used a ketogenic diet to help improve his own health despite a healthy lifestyle (what he thought was “eating healthy” and consistent physical activity). For 10 years, Attia followed an extreme ketogenic diet,  80 percent of his calories came from fat which included lots of coconut oil, grass-pastured butter, organic pastured eggs, avocado, and raw nuts; moderate amounts of protein and only 5 grams of sugar a day.  His approach, proved that a ketogenic diet can make profound improvements in health risk factors, see the chart below.”  An MRI also confirmed that he had lost both body fat and visceral fat (fat found around internal organs).”

Fasting blood sugar 100 75-95
Percentage body fat 25 10
Waist circumference in inches 40 31
Blood pressure 130/85 110/70
LDL 113 88
HDL 31 67
Triglycerides 152 22
Insulin sensitivity Increased by more than 400 percent


3. Calorie Reduction:

Research has shown that calorie restricted starvation diets can act as an anti-aging strategy by lowering oxidative stress, and insulin levels. High insulin levels contribute to health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and accelerate aging. The problem is that there is no fuel to nourish your body and it is difficult to function when all you can think about is the food you cannot eat.

Interestingly enough, high fat ketogenic diets can result in the same benefits without having to starve. Lowering carbs to 30-50 grams (fakes the body into thinking it is starving when in fact it is being nourished with nutrient dense foods) will lower insulin and produce similar effects on health markers to help slow down the aging process and improve health.

Afraid to eat fat? I hope not after all this information. Do you want to improve your quality of life? Eat fat because it does not affect hormones in a negative way that will impact your health and make you old. Eat fat, like avocado, butter, coconut etc…because it tastes good, helps to lower insulin and will help provide greater longevity.


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3 Anti-Aging Nutrients Missing From Low Fat Foods

Eat real foods that contain fat because they contain nutrients that low or non-fat foods DO NOT have. Expanding your eating choices to include a variety of foods that contain all types of fat can reap many anti-aging benefits like keeping waistlines slim, skin, hair and nails looking young, the immune system strong and the heart healthy.

Have you heard of Arachidonic acid (AA)? How about choline or medium chain triglycerides (MCT)? These nutrients are not commonly found on a low-fat food label but are just as important to understand as any nutrient listed on a package. Natural high fat, high cholesterol foods such as coconut, eggs, red meat contain AA, MCT and choline.

Arachidonic acid (AA) is a polyunsaturated fat but it is mostly found in saturated fats (red meat and organ meat), egg yolks and breast milk. AA is a key factor for brain development, nerve function and keeping cells flexible. It is also involved with muscle growth and repair. AA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are often talked about together because they make up a large component of the human brain,

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are also found in saturated fats: whole milk, butter, palm oil and coconut. MCT’s have a few metabolic benefits that include aiding in weight loss, promoting digestion, lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease by increasing HDL cholesterol, supporting thyroid function and boosting the immune system. MCT may also help to prevent muscle breakdown and promote muscle repair after exercise. Coconut, specifically, contains lauric and caprylic acid which are known anti yeast and anti bacterial agents.

Choline is an essential (not produced by the body but required for normal body function) nutrient found in the membrane of the cell. Good sources of choline are: ground beef, whole eggs (yes, especially the yolk) and peanut butter. Choline functions to protect the liver from fat accumulation (non-alcoholic  fatty liver disease is a somewhat new medical condition associated with the consumption of fructose-a sugar ingredient used by food companies to increase shelf life add, flavor and enable a non-fat claim on food labels, , helps to prevent advanced age memory loss and may help to lower cholesterol and homocysteine levels (an amino acid associated with heart disease, strokes, and Alzheimer’s’ disease). There is also reason to believe choline may be protective against some types of cancers.

When low-fat foods replace fat or fat in the diet is minimized, the benefits of AA, MCT and choline are lost and fat soluble nutrient absorption (Vitamins, A, D, E,K) suffers leading to health issues. These are just 3 examples of the many nutrients that may not be on your radar when you are obsessed with cutting fat.

Fuel your body to ignite better sports performance, better health, weight loss and defy aging, eat fat!

Here are sources that provide more details about the benefits of nutrients from real fat foods:


Posted by on August 5, 2014 in FAT, health, Nutrition, vitamins, weight loss


When It Comes to Saturated Fat Use Your Noggin’


“Follow The Nutrition Guidelines or Follow Your Heart,” came to be because it is important to understand that following mainstream advice without using your noggin’ is not always the right way. Cutting fat from your diet is a theme that has been used to brainwash people for way too long. Know that saturated fat is healthy for more than just your heart (60% of the hearts energy comes from burning fat) and there are healthcare professionals and research that supports this way of thinking.

Data relating saturated fat as supporting body organs and vital body functions exists and the next few blogs will hopefully open more discussions on this topic.

After last weeks blog on the heart, the brain tops this list as an organ that depends on monounsaturated and saturated fats and cholesterol for proper functioning. Fats compose 60% of the brain and is especially important for fetal brain development. This may be why human breast milk is one of the best sources of saturated fat. The brain also houses twenty-five percent of total body cholesterol.

Monounsaturated fats can help boost moods and help improve psychological health related disorders but these fats may be especially important for aging brains and the elderly, specifically in regards to memory and visual-spatial recognition (important for driving).

Saturated fats and cholesterol are just as important as monounsaturated fats in regards to brain health. In this interview for Psychology Today,, David Perlmutter (Board-Certified Neurologist and Fellow of The American Board of Nutrition) describes the benefits of both these nutrients. He says that saturated fats “are “building blocks for brain cells” and cholesterol is a “brain protective” antioxidant that is a precursor to vitamin D too, which also plays a role in brain health and indirectly is a precursor to the sex hormones.

He cites two examples that measured saturated fat and cholesterol intake in elderly volunteers. The results are not those you will likely hear from a typical doctor. One is a study that found a 36% lowered risk for developing dementia in individuals who ate the most saturated fat; the other study, resulted in a 70% risk reduction for dementia in volunteers with the highest cholesterol levels. He mentions this phenomena as a possible issue with medicine intended to lower cholesterol. Even the FDA acknowledges this, as they now require “memory decline and cognitive health concern” warnings on the labels of cholesterol lowering medicine. In another study, results showed an 89% increase in dementia risk in those who ate more carbohydrates.

The lungs need saturated fat too. Lung surfactantis a fluid made of fats and protein. It works to prevent the lungs from collapsing and helps protect the lungs from bacteria and viruses. Studies on animals with poor lung function were tested using three diets, (unsaturated, monounsaturated and palmitic saturated fat). Unsaturated fat made lung function worse.*

* The study appeared in Nutrition,2002 Jul-Aug;18(7-8):647-53 and the author and title: Wolfe et al., Dietary fat composition alters pulmonary function in pigs.”

This may be due to the fact that 68% of surfactant in the lungs is saturated palmitic fatty acid. Palmitic acid is one of the most common saturated fats found in the food supply, 14% in olive oil and 25% in beef, lamb and butter,

I’m not here trying to bring down unsaturated fats, I’m trying to shed light on the health importance of saturated fats to even the playing field in regards to your thoughts on saturated fats and optimizing your diet with a variety of all types of foods and fats. Next week I will continue to describe the helpful role saturated fats play in good health.  


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Do Not Throw In The Weight Loss Towel

My last 3 blogs were dedicated to ways to strip down for the summer. I have one more trick up my sleeve for those who may be ready to throw in the “weight loss” towel.  One  reason that weight loss is practically impossible for you is because you are in metabolic limbo. So have I got a diet for you!

It is a diet that was used somewhat regularly at The Atkins Center for clients who were dedicated to sticking to their weight loss plan but there was a disconnect with weight loss results. If this is happening to you, DO NOT THROW IN THE WEIGHT LOSS TOWEL. It is likely your body needs a rest. If you are pumping out too many hormones or organs are not working they way they should, give ’em a rest.

Try something that will rock your world and shock your system into submission. Try something completely contrary to the imagination…try a fat fast.

A fat fast will trick your body into thinking it is fasting when in truth you are eating 1000 calories. Some people may get away with eating up to 200 calories more. In order to help reset your system, you must consume mostly fat, 75-90% of your calories from fat (not man-made unhealthy trans fats), because fat is the nutrient that has the least effect on your hormones. If hormones are blocking your weight loss, they will no longer be present to stop weight loss progress. If this works, you will have found the answer to your weight loss problem…Metabolic Resistance.

Now this is a complete mental adjustment for those who are low-fat connoisseurs but for you low carbers, its only a stone’s throw away.  As most low carbers typically consume 60-75% fat. You must eat mostly fat.

It has worked for Dana Carpendar and now thanks to her it is a much easier task for you. Why? Because she wrote a cookbook! This makes eating mostly one nutrient, fat,  much easier and certainly much more palatable.

Here is Dana’s story, Here is her cookbook,  “Fat Fast Cookbook: 50 Easy Recipes to Jump Start Your Low Carb Weight Loss,

I had a chance to interview Dana to get  a more personal perspective and better insight into her latest masterpiece.


Valerie:  What are your favorite recipes in the book?

Dana: I really like the shirataki recipes, especially the Asian noodles and the fettuccine with pancetta cream sauce. And the pepperoni chips are crazy-good, though I try not to eat processed meats too regularly.

Valerie:  Have you had any feedback on hunger or negative side effects? Positive side effects?

Dana: Nope, except people telling me they’ve broken months-long plateaus, and lost 3-5 pounds in a few days.

Valerie:  How long can someone follow the fat fast safely?

Dana: I don’t think anyone really knows for sure. The longest I’m aware of that it’s been used in clinical research is 10 days. Jackie Eberstein, who worked with Dr. Atkins for thirty years, puts those who are seriously metabolically resistant on a rotating schedule of 5 days of Fat Fasting, 2 days of Induction. She has people follow this for as long as they can handle it, or until they’ve lost all their weight, whichever comes first. I trust Jackie’s judgment and years of experience.

Valerie: Yes I worked with Jackie for many years at the Atkins Center and I second that opinion.

Valerie:  What are the ranges of calories and macronutrient breakdown in your fat fast and recipes?

Dana: We kept the recipes in the neighborhood of 200-250 calories each. They range from just under 80% of calories from fat to at least 96% calories from fat. I’ve arranged them in groups by fat content, so that it’s easy to figure that if you eat something in the 80% range earlier in the day, you need to choose something in the 90%-and-above range later in the day to balance it out.

Valerie:  What is the average amount of time to complete the recipes?

Dana: Varies quite a bit. You can make pepperoni chips or Keto Coffee in just a few minutes, but the Coconut Flax Bread will take over an hour. However, once you have that bread in your fridge, all it takes is cutting a slice and spreading it with butter or cream cheese, and you’ve got a quick Fat Fast “feeding.”

Valerie:  Any important aspects of the book that we have not discussed and that may be important?

Dana: It’s useful for more than Fat Fasting. Anyone who is trying to stay in a good, deep ketosis will find it helpful, whether they’re doing it for weight loss, or to fight cancer, or to treat dementia. It should also be very helpful for parents with kids who are on a keto diet for seizure control.

Considering a fat fast?

Speak with a knowledgeable physician before trying this and keep in mind, I absolutely do not recommend this for anyone who can lose weight on any standard diet. It should only be used for those who need to pull hormonal influence out of the weight loss equation.

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in diet, FAT, weight loss


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5 Secrets To Omega 6:Omega 3 Balance

Why should you make changes to your daily eating plan to include a variety of different fats? Check out last weeks blog, and Dr. Weil’s blog,

Now that you know why it is healthier to eat a variety of fats, you should know that it is not that difficult. A few  small changes and your Omega ratio should shift quickly towards the ideal 1:1 Omega 6, Omega 3 fat ratio.


1. Read the ingredient section on labels. Look for vegetable, corn and soy oil.

2. Eat less commercially prepared foods that contain vegetable, corn and soy oils.

3. Eat low mercury and low PCB containing fatty fish

4. Eat more omega 3 plant foods along with saturated fat (to help the plant Omega 3 convert to the fish form of Omega 3).

5. Add Omega 3 fish oil supplements

More specific tips include:

You might find it interesting that these foods contain both saturated fat and omega 3:


Beef, short ribs


Dairy: cheese, sheep milk, butter, sour cream, heavy whipping cream

Unsweetened baking chocolate

Non-meat sources high in Omega 3


Grape leaves


Chia seeds
Herbs/Spices high in Omega 3






If you fell into the fat trap, “all fats are bad” and just now realize that “some fats are good”,  DO NOT fall into the same trap again. Natural fats that are saturated and unsaturated provide nutrients that work to keep us healthy.

My goal is to get everyone to eat healthy natural fats and improve Omega 6 to Omega 3 consumption ratio.


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Eat Foods With Fat (5): Balance Foods With Fat


Oil3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Healthy foods with fat are natural foods:

Red meat










When I say eat foods with fat, I do not mean eating only fish or olive oil. Saturated fats need to be part of the balance. Why?

A healthy omega 6 to omega 3 balance should be in a 1:1 ratio but no more than 6:1. Twenty to one is what most people eat today. How?

1. Omega 6 foods are cheap (soy, corn, vegetable oil) and are used in many commercially prepared foods.

2. Consumers have bought into the idea that unsaturated fats are healthy.

3. As consumers buy into conventional dogma and avoid meat/ saturated fat they eat more unsaturated fat.

So I’m here to open your mind to adding saturated fat as part of a variety of foods that should be added to your shopping list. The omega 6/omega 3 ratio is too high. Eating less omega 6 foods and adding back saturated fats can help improve this ratio and keep you healthy.

Here’s why, here’s how:

  • Excess Omega 6 is linked to  inflammation on the cellular level that can lead to  many health issues (heart disease, arthritis, obesity and diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stomach issues, cancer, asthma, mental health issues).
  • When you use vegetable oils at high heat to microwave,  bake, sauté or fry, the high temperature oxidizes the oil and unsaturated “good” fat changes to bad cholesterol leading to heart disease,
  • Omega 6 also can compete with Omega 3 and reduce the body’s ability to use Omega 3.

Saturated fat is more stable at high heat cooking temperatures. Use olive oil as a salad dressing but cook with natural sources of saturated fats that are not hydrogenated to avoid oxidation,

Fats can oxidize over time and saturated fats are more shelf stable than unsaturated fats,

Plant sources of Omega 3 ,like flax and chia seed, cannot be converted to the essential type of Omega 3 we need to utilize unless saturated fat is present.

Research supports saturated fats:

help prevent essential fats and skin cells from oxidation;

promote utilization of essential fats;

help balance the good bacteria in the gut and boost the immune system;

help in the process of calcium absorption and bone development;

lower  lipoprotein(a) ,  a risk factor for heart disease;

protect the liver from alcohol and other toxins created by medication metabolism.

There are a few simple ways to balance the foods you eat with fat.

Will let you know…next blog :)

But maybe you have some of your own ideas. I’d love to hear one or some?


Posted by on September 14, 2012 in diet, FAT


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