A flurry of new research regarding the role of fat in “fighting fat” came out in early 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was followed up by a media blitz earlier this year when Harvard researchers uncovered a newly-discovered exercise hormone that holds real promise in the way in which it allows the body to fight fat with fat.
This “so called” new research was heralded as the latest obesity theory, although my first book Beyond Pritikin broke the “real” story back in 1988.
The mechanism behind this “theory” is known as brown fat and it explains how animals can hibernate throughout the winter without eating. They simply burn calories from this metabolically active fat to create heat. The heat, besides keeping animals warm, burns adipose tissue (or white fat) for energy that can act as a food source without real food.
Brown fat activity is one of the reasons that one individual can eat an enormous quantity of food throughout the day while another gains weight with just the mere thought of food!
I like to call brown fat your personalized fat burner. Although it makes up only 10% or less of total body fat, it burns ¼ of all the calories burned by the other fat tissues combined. Brown fat is brown because it contains numerous mitochondria which are little fat burning factories. The rest of the fat in the body is white because it contains few mitochondria.
White fat is the insulating layer on the outside of the body, just under the skin. Brown fat lies deeper, surrounding the organs such as the heart, kidneys, and adrenals as well as the neck, spine, and major thoracic blood vessels. While everybody has a fat burner, they are not equally active – and there’s the rub.
The thin person has an actively functioning innate fat burner that can easily convert excess calories into body heat. The overweight or obese person, eating the same number of calories will store them as white fat instead.
For several decades – since the 1980s – it has been known that gamma linolenic acid (GLA) stimulates brown fat activity through its prostaglandin pathways. This is exactly why GLA has played a very central role in my Fat Flush programs for over 20 years!
Where do you get GLA in its natural form?
This essential fatty acid can be made from safflower oil which contain cis-linoleic acid, the raw material for GLA conversion. But the conversion into biologically-available GLA is impaired because of many modern-day factors such as heating during commercial manufacturing and cooking. Other factors that interfere with GLA synthesis are excessive saturated fat intake, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, elevated cholesterol, sugar, diabetes, and deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, B3, C, E, and selenium.
As a nutritionist, I was taught that we receive plenty of the essential fatty acids from vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, and corn (which today is not only full of mold but is likely to be genetically modified). Now we know that when oils are processed to extend shelf life or to become margarine, the cis-linoleic acid becomes trans linoleic acid – a malfunctioning fat!
To circumvent the conversion, I propose that everyone who wants effortless weight loss consider adding GLA supplementation to the diet. The early researchers for GLA suggested that at least 360 mg per day (which translates into two GLA-90s twice per day) is helpful in assisting weight loss – even without major caloric changes.
The good news about GLA is not only can it be helpful in whittling your waist, but GLA also is a stellar skin protector and keeps it naturally moist, dewy and fresh.
After a summertime of overeating and oversunning, GLA can help restore your system to a renewed slimmer YOU and maintain a glow from head to toe!