“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”
Guess who said that? Thomas Edison – one of his history’s greatest inventors, and also a man who was – in this case…
Why? Think of it this way: a brain without a well-functioning body results in a sad, shackled, unattractive human machine unable to perform functional movement, and a body without a well-functioning brain results in a boring, human bag of meat and muscle. If you want to optimize your brain, health, and longevity, then you have to maintain peak physical condition and a lean build. And a big step in that direction is understanding how to burn fat efficiently.
But we all know that fat loss can be a tough nut to crack. Watching the scale refuse to budge, constant weight fluctuations, and a constant barrage of the latest fat loss tips or miracle pills – talk about frustrating and stressful.
Think about the last piece of fat loss advice you received. Let me guess…it probably went something like this:
“Try this pill.”
“Read this diet book.”
And sure: fat loss and the attainment of a sexy, lean body begins with getting off your butt, moving more, working out, and denying yourself the treats that seem to show up everywhere.
But when it comes to learning how to burn fat and stay shredded, ripped and toned year round without two-a-day workouts and being hungry all the time, there are potent strategies that fly under the radar.
For example, let’s take the flawed concept that, no matter what, you’ll always be stuck with the number of fat cells you’ve built earlier in your life. This commonly accepted dogma in the fitness and diet industry dictates that if you’ve ever had excess weight or bits of undesirable adipose tissue on your waist, hips, and butt, then the fat cells in those areas will never actually disappear, but will instead simply shrink. Those fat cells will then hide, waiting in the wings for the next time you mess up and eat a few too many bites of steak or an extra scoop of ice cream – at which point those food calories are doomed to wind up getting shoved directly into the eagerly waiting fat cells – resulting in a constant uphill battle against the bulge.
But this simply isn’t true. Catherine Shanahan, M.D., in her book “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,” writes that if you banish just one particularly notorious biological variable that is present in most people eating a standard Western diet, then you can actually induce fat cells to not only die, but to get transformed into other physiologically useful tissues, such as muscle cells, stem cells, and neural cells. So what is this variable?
It’s not excess calories. It’s not chocolate. It’s not, to the chagrin of diet book authors worldwide, gluten. It’s not a low-carb, high-fat or a high-carb, low-fat diet.
Inflammation, particularly from exposure to a toxin-laden environment, consumption of heated and rancid vegetable oils, and a stressful lifestyle combined with not enough sleep – can make fat cells resistant to dying and resistant to getting converted into other tissues, particularly because excess inflammation creates excess insulin, and insulin is the hormone responsible for shoveling calories into fat tissue. So to learn how to burn fat and achieve lasting fat loss, the solution is simple: shut down inflammation.
That’s not to bash the benefits of calorie-deficit, low sugar, gluten-free, high-fat, low-carb or high-carb, low-fat diets, as they may work for some people. But we definitely know now that not all calories are created equal.
And when you eat low-quality, nutrient-poor calories, especially from processed fats and oils, your body becomes inflamed, which ultimately leads to more calories being shoveled into your fat cells.
The key, then, to effective weight loss is eliminating inflammatory factors from your diet.
It’s important to note that, despite being associated with many diseases, inflammation itself is not a disease – in fact, it’s a vital part of a healthy immune response. It protects you from bacterial and viral invaders and helps your body heal from injuries.
The problem is, in fact, one of balance. Due to poor diet and lifestyle, many individuals over-produce inflammatory chemicals, and don't get enough anti-inflammatory nutrients to counteract the oxidative damage they cause.
So let's discuss the most common pro-inflammatory and fat-causing factor for most people: Bad fats.
How Bad Fats Lead To Inflammation & Weight Gain
In just the past three decades, the human diet has changed drastically. Saturated and omega-3 fatty acid intake has decreased, while the consumption of poly-unsaturated omega-6 fatty acids (PUFAs) has increased significantly.
This has resulted in an average Western diet consisting of an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 20:1, which is far different from the evolutionary ratio of 1:1.
What does this have to do with fat gain? Turns out, a lot.
Recent studies have shown that perinatal exposure of mice to a high omega-6 fatty acid diet (similar to a Western diet) results in a progressive accumulation of body fat across generations, which is consistent with the fact that in humans, overweight and obesity have steadily increased in the last decades, and are emerging earlier in life.
This is likely because increasing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s skews the body towards an inflammatory state and increases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines from chronic, low-grade inflammation are associated with future weight gain.
And thus begins a viscous cycle, because as you gain weight, fat cells themselves start to produce more inflammatory cytokines, causing more inflammation and increasing insulin resistance, which leads to more weight gain.
This is not to say that all omega-6 fatty acids are universally bad. In fact, nuts and seeds contain a high amount of omega-6s and yet have been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, and are negatively associated with cardiovascular risk.
But nuts and seeds probably aren't your problem.
The biggest, most harmful source of PUFAs and omega-6s are from highly processed, repeatedly-heated vegetable oils.
These vegetable oils include canola, corn, rapeseed, soy, and safflower oils, to name a few.
Consuming vegetable oils is associated with cardiovascular risk by repeated heating that leads to lipid oxidation. Thermal oxidation yields new functional groups which are hazardous to cardiovascular health. Prolonged consumption of the repeatedly heated oil has been shown to increase blood pressure, total cholesterol, and vascular inflammation.
On the other hand, several clinical studies have shown that decreasing the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio protects against chronic, degenerative diseases. One study showed that replacing corn oil with olive oil and canola oil to reach an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1 led to a 70% decrease in total mortality.
So, how exactly do you balance your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, reduce inflammation, and start burning fat?
- Eliminate any highly processed oils from your diet. Replace these with nutritious fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, and tallow, for example.
- Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods with an emphasis on anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods like vegetables, berries, avocados, herbs and spices, dark chocolate, organic coffee and tea.
- Eat plenty of cold water fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel, or take a fish oil supplement.
Once you've eliminated pro-inflammatory foods from your diet, here are some other methods to consider to reduce inflammation and burn fat effectively…
How To Burn Fat Safely & Effectively
1. Burn Fat with a Lower Carb Diet
Low carb diets have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity in obese individuals. Studies have shown that low carb diets may result in more weight loss than low-fat diets (often 2-3 times more), reduce hunger, reduce blood sugar and insulin, show greater improvements in blood triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, and report greater loss of harmful visceral fat.
Low carb diets can range from 20 grams (very low carb) to 200 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, not every person will do well or lose weight on a very low carb (or Keto) diet. Your ideal carbohydrate intake will depend on your current health status, activity level, genetics, and gender.
The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all diet for fat loss. Everyone is different.
However, the best way to find your personal best macro-nutrient ratio is to look at your own genetics and biomarkers, and then try out a few different diets to see what works best (learn more in this article Why Diets Fail & How To Determine The Perfect Diet For You).
2. Lose Fat with Fasting
Fasting reduces inflammation, improves circulating blood glucose and lipid levels, reduces blood pressure, and improves metabolic efficiency while reducing oxidative stress. Studies show that various types of intermittent fasting protocols result in equal or greater fat loss compared to regular calorie restricted diets.
Common approaches to intermittent fasting include:
- The 16/8 Method: Fast for a period of 16 hours per day and eat during an 8-hour feeding window, such as by skipping breakfast and eating from 12pm-8pm.
- Periodic Fasting: Fast for a 24 hour period one to two times per week.
- The 5:2 Diet: Two days out of the week, eat only 500-600 calories per day. Eat normally the other five days.
Check out the free Ultimate Guide to Fasting to learn more about how to fast for fat loss.
3. Fasted Cardio for Fat Loss
Fasted cardio may be one of the most effective fat loss weapons you can have – and it's free and easy.
Simply wake up, and before you eat anything, do a brief 20-30 minute aerobic exercise session. Light cardio in a fasted state allows your body to tap into its own fat as fuel.
It doesn't need to be complicated, and can simply look like walking the dog, going for an easy swim, or doing a yoga session. Basically, stick to anything that’s light and even conversational, that's low stress and not going to cause a big release of cortisol, and that's not going to completely exhaust you and make you feel famished.
You can also enhance this morning aerobic session with two easy boosts:
- Consume caffeine, which mobilizes fatty acids and may help to convert them to other tissue types or empty them more quickly. Two great caffeine sources are green tea or just wholesome, organic coffee. Drink either of those or any natural caffeine source prior to doing your fasted workout.
- Sneak in some cold exposure by either taking a cold shower before or after your workout or by working out in a cold environment either by exercising outside or by swimming. More on this in the next section.
4. Increase Fat-Burning with Cold Thermogenesis
Cold exposure has been shown to reduce inflammation, increase brown adipose tissue activity and energy expenditure, increase metabolism by 80%, increase adiponectin (a protein that increases fat burning with low levels being associated with obesity), and much more.
The easiest ways to benefit from cold exposure are by taking cold showers daily, sleeping in temperatures lower than 66 degrees, or wearing targeted ice packs by using a product like the Cool Fat Burner vest. Additionally, bitter melon extract works simultaneously with cold exposure to increase brown fat.
5. Control Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels to Lose Fat
Type 2 diabetes rates are rising, both in the United States and globally (even among athletes and so-called “healthy” people), but so are a host of other chronic disease, neural degradation and weight issues directly related to high blood sugar. Characterized by insulin resistance and chronic high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), type 2 diabetes can lead to both brain and metabolic dysfunction and is also a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
When blood sugar is chronically elevated, the insulin released by the pancreas becomes progressively less effective in bringing those blood sugar levels down, and ultimately, pancreatic tissues begin to suffer damage (although some evidence shows this pancreatic damage can be reversed with specific lifestyle and food strategies).
Although blood sugar can slightly rise in response to factors such as stress, hard exercise, or long periods of sedentary time, blood sugar typically rises most significantly after a meal, and studies show that these post-meal hyperglycemic spikes are the most likely to lead to vascular complications, even when compared to elevated fasting glucose levels.
When it comes to controlling high blood sugar, your body has two choices: get rid of the blood sugar as potential energy via uptake into muscles, or store the blood sugar in fat tissue.
For supporting healthy blood sugar levels, there is one secret weapon you’ll want to be aware of. It all starts in two of the earth’s “blue zones” where people live to an incredibly long age in good health.
There are just a handful of true blue zones or longevity hotspots in the world. One is Bama County, located in western China on the slopes of the Himalayas. This place boasts at least 79 men and women over 100 years old and still very physically active out of a population of less than 230,000. Their ratio of 3.52 centenarians per 10,000 people is the highest found anywhere in the world. Bama County has a secret: their residents have the longest average lifespan of any other country in the world.
Amongst Japan’s many islands, the people of Okinawa are also the longest-lived. Okinawa also has a secret very similar to Bama County – and in both Bama County and Okinawa medical researchers have found that key foods play a significant role in the longevity of the inhabitants.
In Bama County, much credit is given to the daily consumption of a plant they call shilianhua, or “rock lotus”. In Okinawa, a role similar to that of rock lotus is filled by “wild bitter melon”. This is not the bitter melon commonly found in many vegetable markets, but a smaller and far more bitter version that grows wild (and the same plant you read about above that will help enhance your cold thermogenesis efforts).
So what do the rock lotus and wild bitter melon have in common that promote optimal blood sugar levels and insulin response, that support healthy weight management, liver health, and longevity? The answer involves caloric restriction and insulin.
Only two mechanisms have been shown to be successful in promoting longevity in higher organisms. The first mechanism lowers the levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The second mechanism restricts calories, which usually has, as one result, a lowering of circulating insulin levels. Rock lotus influences both of these mechanisms. According to a Jutendo Medical University of Japan clinical trial, rock lotus improves liver function and fatty liver. This action resembles that of compounds known to reduce insulin levels as an aspect of healthy blood glucose control. Rock lotus has also been found to be able to regulate glucose metabolism and maintain healthy insulin sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. Another study found that rock lotus reduced blood sugar levels, which causes a reduction in insulin levels. In fact, it can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 30%, helping people in China and elsewhere to take their health into their own hands.
Bitter melon, also known as “goya” in Japan, boasts even more powerful weight management properties. Taxonomically known as Momordica charantia, bitter melon may also be an effective way to control blood sugar levels and regulating blood pressure. Although the precise mechanism by which it works (whether it’s through regulation of insulin release or altered glucose metabolism and its insulin-like effect) is not known, bitter melon naturally contains hypoglycemic compounds like charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p, plus some other health-boosting components like antioxidants.
Part of the reason bitter melon is so darn effective is likely its effect on GLP-1 secretion. GLP-1 is glucagon-like peptide-1, a peptide released from what are called L-cells, which increase in density along the length of the intestines. It helps to raise insulin levels as a part of the incretin effect, a hormonal response that effects insulin secretion following oral glucose ingestion. A study was done to examine the role of bitter melon extract in this process and found that through bitter taste receptors and/or a PLC β 2-signaling pathway, the melon stimulated GLP-1 release.
Bitter melon, specifically a wild species called Momordica charantia Linn var. abbreviata ser., has also been shown to support your body's response to inflammation. Wild bitter melon and bitter melon extracts were used in a study to inhibit macrophage activity. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated macrophages that were targeted responded to both extracts, but especially to the wild variety of the melon.
Impressive on their own, rock lotus and bitter melon extract work even better together. Both promote better blood sugar control with less insulin. Both promote healthy blood pressure. Both support healthy liver function. And both mimic changes in cellular energy metabolism typical of caloric restriction.
So how can you get your hands on the potent one-two combo of bitter melon extract and rock lotus?
Simple: they're the two main ingredients in the brand new formula now available as Kion Lean, a proprietary formula designed to assist with weight management and healthy longevity by combining the benefits of rock lotus and wild bitter melon extract to support:
- Healthy liver function
- Blood sugar regulation
- Healthy body fat levels
- Anti-aging factors associated with longevity
You can click here to try Kion Lean now for both enhanced cold thermogenesis benefits and as an effective way to blunt the harmful effects of carbohydrate-rich meals.
Now that you know how to burn fat safely and effectively, why an optimal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is important to health and fat loss, and five effective strategies for reducing inflammation, you're ready to shred fat and become lean and mean!
Simply do the following:
- Reduce or eliminate your intake of rancid, heated, processed vegetable oils
- Eat whole, anti-inflammatory foods and drink clean, organic black coffee
- Consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish or a fish oil supplement
- Implement any or all of these fat loss strategies: a lower carb diet, fasting, fasted cardio, and cold thermogenesis
- Take Kion Lean before your largest, most carbohydrate-rich meal of the day and/or prior to cold exposure
And that's how you can easily burn fat without destroying your body!