Is “parasitic fat” causing your arthritis pain?

I don’t want you to spend another minute suffering with arthritis pain, and that’s why I’ve spent some time over the past week talking about safe ways to eliminate it.

But there’s an important piece of the puzzle I haven’t mentioned yet.

The thing is, your weight has a lot to do with how much pain you feel, especially in your joints. I’ve seen it happen with my own patients here in New York, but a recent study shows us just how widespread this problem is. Researchers surveyed more than 1 million Americans and made a startling conclusion: If you’re overweight, you could be experiencing up to 254% more pain than someone at a normal weight.

So when I share tips to help you drop the extra pounds…it’s not because I want to help you look good in a bathing suit. It’s because I want you to live the long, healthy, pain-free life you deserve!

We already know that being overweight puts you at risk for a long list of chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and heart disease, to name a few. But there’s new research showing why osteoarthritis belongs on this list, too.

You see, until just recently, doctors have been focused on the fact that extra weight puts extra strain on your joints. And unfortunately that is true—every 1 pound of weight gain adds 4 pounds of pressure to your knees. (To do the math…an extra 10 pounds on the scale feels like 40 pounds to your knees.)

But this added pressure is NOT the whole story. If it were, then why would your fingers and elbows hurt, too? You’re not walking around on your hands all day.

Turns out there’s an entirely different reason why you might have creaky hips, crackling fingers, sore shoulders, and stiff elbows.

It represents a major breakthrough in arthritis research—and it starts with a dirty little secret about fat.

The truth is, fat is not an inactive blob of cells that just sits there. A growing mountain of research shows us that extra fat acts like a toxic parasite, and it’s particularly bad news for your joints.

In fact, every minute of the day, fat cells actively create a substance I call the “arthritis hormone.” As you might guess, it speeds up the progression of arthritis by causing 3 painful problems in your joints:

  1. Supercharged inflammation
  2. Uncomfortable friction you feel in every movement, and ultimately…
  3. Thinner, weaker cartilage that breaks down

It doesn’t matter if you’re out running errands…or looking over a restaurant menu…or playing a game of cards. At that very moment, fat cells are making your joint pain worse…no matter where that pain is. Your hips, knees, fingers, ankles, elbows—they’re all fair game.

It’s taken about 20 years for researchers to understand this link between fat, inflammation, and arthritis pain.

In my next issue, I’ll dive into some of the most eye-opening discoveries that have been made about the “arthritis hormone” so far. And over the next few days, I’ll share details on my latest approach for diagnosing this hormone-triggered joint pain at my clinic.

But in the meantime.

Now that we know why fat can be painful, I’m more committed than ever to helping my patients—and you—embrace life without pain.

But I know how daunting it is to be told you “just have to lose weight.” I was overweight for most of my childhood and I know that feeling of being “stuck.” It leaves you wondering…

How do I start? Isn’t there an easier way? What can I do right now?

So I’d like to share three simple things you can do right now to get yourself on track to a healthy weight. These are my simplest, tried-and-true quick tips to help you jump-start your weight loss…and fight pain at the same time.

  1. Replace olive oil with macadamia nut oil. Olive oil is not “bad.” It’s just that macadamia nut oil is so much better. Everyone I cooked for on Thanksgiving will tell you it tastes better too. But here’s the best part. Macadamia nut oil is packed with a higher concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that actually target your belly fat…and help you lose fat faster! You can use it in your cooking, grilling, sautéing…even baking.
  2. Add more protein to your meals. Skip the breadbasket and go for extra bites of lean meats and fish. Replacing your breakfast, lunch, or snacks with a whey protein “shake” is also one of the fastest ways to kick-start weight loss. (Click here to see my ultimate shake recipe. I post it every holiday season.) As a double bonus, your body can also use that extra protein to repair your joints.
  3. Drop soda like it’s a ticking time-bomb. This tip is really about cutting out sugar, and I’ve found that soda is the easiest place to start. Every sugary drink—whether it’s a soda or juice or a pumpkin spice latte—triggers more inflammation, and ultimately, more pain. Sugar is addictive, but if you can make it through the first 72 hours, you won’t even miss it. (And if you’re thinking of switching to “diet” soda, please don’t. Click here to discover the ugly truth about diet soda.)

Stay tuned for more details about how you can stop parasitic fat from causing you more pain.



“Obesity and Pain are Associated in the United States.” Obesity. 2012; 20(7): 1491–95.

“Significance of Increased Leptin Expression in Osteoarthritis Patients.” PLoS ONE. April 20, 2015. 10(4): e0123224.