While we used to think that fat was fat, we now know that abdominal fat is its own beast. This fat, which surrounds the liver and other organs, is a risk factor all on its own for several diseases. Even people who are normal weight but have extra fat around the middle are at risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more.
Getting rid of belly fat is very important — but it’s also very hard. In fact, it’s notoriously stubborn, even when you seem to be doing all the right things. But some scientists from the University of Bonn in Switzerland think they may have the solution.
At the heart of the matter is the complicated relationship between two different types of fat: white fat and brown fat. To understand what the researchers from Bonn discovered, first you need to understand the difference between these two types of fat.
Brown fat has numerous mitochondria. Mitochondria are the parts of the cell that turn nutrients into energy, and they’re rich in iron (which makes the fat look brown).
Brown fat has an important purpose: It burns nutrients to generate heat. In other words, it actually burns calories instead of storing them, which is why it’s nicknamed the “good fat.” People who have higher levels of brown fat compared to white fat tend to be slimmer and have better blood sugar control.
White fat, on the other hand, is everything brown fat is not. It has far fewer mitochondria, and instead of burning energy (i.e. calories), it stores it. And when you have too much white fat around your internal organs, it leads to all those risks I outlined above — diabetes, cancer, etc.
Now here’s the really interesting part. Even though brown fat makes up a tiny fraction of the fat in our bodies, it has the potential to annihilate white fat, essentially causing it to melt away. But that only happens when brown fat is functioning as it should.
How do you keep this stealth fat-fighter operating at peak performance? First, as always, is through diet. Focus on whole foods and keep your portions in check. Next, of course, is to make sure you’re exercising regularly. Pretty much the standard weight loss advice you’re used to hearing.
But based on the findings of this new study, there’s one more thing you can do to boost the waist-trimming potential of brown fat: Rein in your inflammation.
How inflammation is slamming the brakes on your weight loss
The key to shedding stubborn abdominal fat may be to convert white fat cells to brown fat cells. But how does that happen, and what does it have to do with inflammation?
Well, according to the study I mentioned above, brown fat cells rely on a messenger called “cyclic guanosine monophosphate” (cGMP) to convert white fat cells into the beneficial brown fat. That conversion is what turbocharges weight loss and causes excess pounds to melt away.
But while that process works pretty well in superficial fat, it’s a different story deeper down in the problematic abdominal fat I told you about. And that’s where inflammation comes in.
The study, which was conducted on mice, found that when mice gained belly fat, inflammation spread like wildfire. And with that, cGMP came to a dead halt. In other words, inflammation completely de-activated brown fat.
So, the authors said, one way to combat obesity — and specifically abdominal obesity — could be to stop inflammation in its tracks.
The building blocks your body needs to curb inflammation
I’ve talked a lot about eating a Mediterranean-style diet, maintaining healthy gut bacteria, and exercising regularly to keep inflammation at bay.
But there’s another set of natural tools that can help fight inflammation and shift your fat-burning potential into overdrive. And they’re just starting to garner more attention in scientific circles. They’re known as branch chain amino acids (or BCAAs for short). And the studies coming to light about them are really exciting.
In fact, research shows they’re the “missing element” in most low-carb weight loss plans. That’s why I’ve featured them front and center in my new book, The A-List Diet, which is coming out later this month.
So what exactly are BCAAs? I’ll give you all the details in The A-List Diet (so be sure to pre-order a copy today by visiting www.AListDietBook.com). But in the meantime, here’s a quick overview.
Let’s start with some background on amino acids in general. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and we get them from the foods we eat. They’re most prominent in animal sources, though they also show up in smaller amounts in some vegetarian sources as well. Amino acids go through a complex process of absorption, synthesis, and recycling in the body. We need to feed our bodies optimal levels of the right amino acids to keep body processes running smoothly and efficiently.
So far, scientists have discovered 22 amino acids. Three of those — leucine, isoleucine, and valine — are referred to as branch chain amino acids (BCAAs). They’re most abundant in dairy, meat, and eggs. Athletes and bodybuilders love them because they’re integral to building muscle and strength.
But BCAAs offer another benefit that applies to everyone, regardless of your fitness level. Research shows they have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Obviously, the potential here is almost endless, considering inflammation is the underlying culprit behind almost every chronic disease and health concern there it.
But I’m convinced that they’re the inflammation-squashing solution we need to supercharge weight loss as well.
Here’s where it gets tricky, though. Different body types have different needs in general, and BCAAs are no exception. It’s simply not possible to offer a one-size-fits all recommendation when it comes to amino acids. What you really need is a tailored solution based on your individual requirements.
Finding that ideal level isn’t easy. I spent years researching, testing, taking notes, and adjusting my approach to figure out how to use amino acids most effectively in each and every case. It’s a delicate balance, to be sure.
But if you can strike that balance — and you will be able to after you’ve read the A-List Diet — you’ll be able to get your inflammation in check…and finally see those stubborn pounds start to melt away.