2017 Fat-Loss Revolution - Groundbreaking Scientific Diet and Exercise Plan
With a new year, it’s time to re-evaluate your fitness goals. Do you want to get in better shape and burn more fat than ever before this year? Well, you can! To help you in your goal, we put together the ultimate fat-burning diet and exercise program that uses the revolutionary science behind brown fat to help you get in better shape than you ever thought possible. Follow these guidelines and get in your best shape in 2017!
Thermogenic, Brown-Fat-Activating Nutrition
By Shoshana Pritzker, RD, CDN
The body has two forms of fat— white fat, or the ugly fat that lies underneath the skin and causes unsightly cellulite, and brown fat, which often is found in the shoulder blade region or the neck. Unlike white fat, brown fat is actively good for your body. Brown fat burns calories. The more brown fat you have, the more calories you can burn. Sounds good to me!
Interestingly, there are ways to increase the amount of brown fat you have and activate what is already there:
- Turn down the thermostat. Studies show that brown fat synthesis increases with exposure to cold.
- Eat spicy foods. Spicy foods, like chili peppers, contain capsaicin, which has been shown to activate brown fat cells, helping your body turn on the heat and burn more calories.
- Exercise more. Studies show that brown fat is more active during and post-exercise.
- Eat just the right amount, and not too much. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that hunger cues help regulate the transformation of white fat to brown fat. That means if you’re constantly eating and never allowing yourself to experience natural feelings of hunger and satiety, you could be interfering with your body’s ability to burn fat.
- Eat more apples. Ursolic acid, found in apple peels, has been shown to help increase brown fat, thus increasing energy expenditure.
- Load up on melatonin-rich foods and avoid bright lights before bed. Studies show that boosting your body’s natural production of melatonin helps increase fat loss and brown fat.
While it’s clear there are a number of ways to increase brown fat production and activation, it’s important to remember that overall nutrition is far more important to get the body you want in a healthy manner. That’s not to say these findings are any less meaningful. As you read on, you’ll find that many of the tips above will repeat themselves and will act as an integral part of this diet. After all, studies have shown that brown fat can burn an extra 250 calories a day— which after two weeks is another pound of fat lost.
Thermogenesis and the Thermic Effect of Food
Most people believe they have a slow metabolism. In fact, if I could have a nickel every time a patient told me their metabolism is slow and that’s why they’re fat, I’d be able to pay off my mortgage. What most people don’t understand is that their metabolism isn’t only controlled by genetics; it also has much to do with how much they’re eating and how much (or little) they move.
Metabolic rate is the amount of energy our bodies use to perform daily functions of life. It consists of three components: basal metabolic rate or resting metabolic rate (energy used to be at rest), voluntary activity (walking, brushing your teeth, cooking, cleaning, exercise, etc.), and the thermic effect of food (how many calories your body uses to digest the food you just ate).
We start out with the basal metabolic rate. Over time this number can change based on factors listed above. And if you could choose, most people would pick a fast metabolism that would allow them to eat whatever is lying around and looked tasty. What I tell my clients is that those people (with fast metabolisms) have a slew of their own issues to worry about, so let’s focus on maintaining or improving the metabolic rate you have now.
The problem with restricting calories to lose weight is that eventually your metabolism slows down and weight loss becomes more difficult, that is, you’ve reached the dreaded plateau. So how do we avoid plateauing? Simple. Eat enough food to fuel your metabolism and pick foods that boost this process.
The thermic effect of food is the increase in metabolic rate after consumption of food—usually estimated to be about 10 percent of our daily total energy used. That means the food you eat has the opportunity to help you burn more calories. Most studies rate the hierarchy of macronutrient thermogenesis with the sequence protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
Foods to Boost Thermogenesis
Protein Rules the Macronutrient Kingdom
Over the years, Americans have become increasingly afraid of eating protein. In fact, most Americans believe they consume too much protein when in reality most aren’t eating nearly enough. It’s only in recent years that researchers have been investigating the benefits of a high-protein diet on satiety, thermogenesis, weight loss and fat loss, with promising results.
We know that protein has a huge impact on body composition and weight control; let’s review:
- It helps you feel full during a meal and stay satisfied long after a meal. This means you potentially would take in fewer calories.
- The more protein you eat, the less you eat of everything else.
- It helps build and maintain muscle. Muscle is primarily made up of protein.
- The thermic effect of protein is higher than that of carbs or fat. You can boost metabolism by up to 80–100 calories per day by taking in more protein.
- Research on high-protein diets continue to have similar results: Those who eat more protein are more satisfied, take in less calories, lose more body fat, and gain more lean mass by the end of the study period. Most studies found that consuming 25–30 percent of calories from protein means the difference between leveraging benefits/results and not.
Now that we’re clear about the benefits of protein, it’s important to recognize that not all protein is created equal. Protein is made up of amino acids, many of which are produced by the body (nonessential amino acids), while there are a number of amino acids we must get from our diet. These proteins are called “essential” amino acids. Most people are unaware of the difference between animal and plant proteins. Animal protein is like the little gift that keeps on giving. It’s got all the amino acids we need all wrapped up in one delicious serving size. On the other hand, plant proteins (like those coming from soy or rice) only have a handful of the essential amino acids we need for our cells to function properly. Because of this, those who only get protein from plant sources (like vegetarians or vegans) must pair a variety of foods together to ensure they’re getting the complete proteins they need on a daily basis— or else they risk a deficiency.
Other Thermogenic Foods
It’s a good thing spicy foods are popular because the research continues to back claims that capsaicinoids can induce thermogenesis. Better yet, go bold— the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicinoids it contains. That means more fat burning with less effort— that’s a win!
Kick things up a notch and make sure you exercise regularly while incorporating spicy foods in your diet. It turns out intake of capsaicin paired with regular exercise prevents weight gain in people on a high-fat diet. That means if you’re going to eat a bacon cheeseburger, better add some hot sauce to it and make sure you exercise, too— that way you reduce your chances of storing fat.
Some other herbs and spices that may help keep your metabolism revving include ginger, black pepper, and garlic. Adding herbs and spices to your meals and snacks not only makes dishes more flavorful, but also increases satiety, causing you to eat fewer calories and thus burn more calories.
Finally, the world is catching up to nutrition scientists regarding the health benefits of dietary fats. Claims like “burn fat with fat” are everywhere and food manufacturers have put to rest their push to purchase low-fat and fat-free food products. Not only do healthy fats, including poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, reduce inflammation and assist in cellular functions within the body, but they also have the ability to stimulate thermogenesis and help the body burn fat.
The data on monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish, nuts, and olive oil are promising all around. And in terms of thermogenesis, these fats take the cake. A study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition compared three high-fat meals, each with different fat qualities, on thermogenesis, substrate oxidation, and satiety. Twenty-nine healthy men aged between eighteen and thirty years participated in the study and were fed three different meals: high in polyunsaturated fatty acids from walnuts, high in monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil, and high in saturated fatty acids from fat-rich dairy products. What researchers
found is that satiety and protein/carbohydrate oxidation were similar with all three meals, but fat oxidation increased after the two meals rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids and decreased in the meal rich in saturated fats. Bottom line is, saturated fats just don’t provide the same thermogenic fat-burning response as healthy fats do.
In addition to increasing your ability to burn fat, healthy fats coming from mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids are important for disease prevention. Recently, scientists studied the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and a low-carbohydrate Mediterranean-style diet on heart disease risk factors. They found that those subjects who followed a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean diet supplemented with omega-3s had the best outcome: a significant loss of bodyweight and body fat, lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, less inflammation, and a significant decrease in glucose and insulin levels.
Low Carbs for Fat Loss
Researchers from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese men who were on low-carb diets ate less total calories than those on a moderate-carbohydrate diet. Bingo! This is where low-carb diets reign over moderate-carb counterparts. This study confirms that high-protein, low-carb diets can help reduce your appetite, reduce hunger, and increase satiety and/or feelings of fullness, leading you to take in less overall calories. Less calories = more fat loss.
Low-Carb Diets = Less Belly Fat
Most people find their stomach to be a major problem area. Unfortunately there’s no way to spot reduce belly fat with exercise, but there is a way to make it happen with nutrition. The hormone primarily responsible for the fat surrounding your midsection is insulin. Here’s how it works:
Insulin, a fat-storage hormone, spikes after a high-carb or sugar-filled meal or drink helping to regulate blood sugar levels. When hormone levels are in balance and cortisol (the stress hormone) is present, but insulin is low (like when you exercise or are on a low-carb diet), a fat-burning enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) is released and a fat-storing enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) will be blocked, allowing you to burn belly fat rather than store it.
On the other hand, a carbohydrate-filled diet means insulin will be flowing most of the day, causing fat storage due to LPL, the fat-storing enzyme, and a reduction in HSL. Consuming high-carb and high-sugar foods that spike insulin rapidly shifts your body from fat burning to fat storage— not really what you had in mind.
If we reduce the amount of carbs in our diet, specifically those coming from sugar and white flour, we can better control insulin and blood sugar levels, helping us to avoid gaining weight, especially in our abdomen. For that reason, you’ll notice this diet contains no grains or flour-filled foods and very little sugar.
Red Wine Could Help You Burn Fat
Finally, the news we’ve all been waiting for! Looks like the benefits of red wine fall far beyond leaving your responsibilities behind for the night. Polyphenols, the compounds in red wine believed to bolster beneficial properties, specifically resveratrol, are chemical compounds found in plants and have antioxidant effects known to promote healthy aging.
New research on grapes and red wine found that resveratrol could increase conversion of unsightly white fat into calorie-burning brown fat. For wine drinkers, this means you probably have more brown fat than you thought. Interestingly, more brown fat isn’t the only calorie-burning benefit of regular red wine consumption. Researchers out of North America found that red wine made with muscadine grapes (dark purple grapes) has the ability to slow the growth of fat cells and delay growth of new ones. It’s believed that ellagic acid is the compound responsible for these fat-burning properties. That means simply eating dark purple grapes rich in ellagic acid would have the same fat-burning capabilities as a glass of red wine.
The research suggesting red wine and grapes could help ward off excess weight gain is promising so long as you keep your alcohol intake under control. One to two glasses of red wine (not white wine or any other alcoholic beverage) per day can impart health benefits as listed above. Any more than that and you’re replacing nutrient-dense calories from healthy foods with sugar and alcohol found in the wine.
How to Follow This Program
The goal of this diet program is to produce and activate brown fat to stimulate thermogenesis and increase fat burning while controlling insulin and fat storage. We’ll do this by incorporating an abundance of lean proteins, a moderate amount of healthy fats, and a small amount of complex, high-fiber carbs throughout the day.
Follow the guidelines below:
- To calculate protein needs: Take your bodyweight; divide that number by 2.2 and multiply by 1.5-2. This is the amount of protein in grams you should take in per day.
- To calculate calorie needs: Take your bodyweight; divide that number by 2.2 and multiply by 20–25 (so long as you’re an active individual). For those who are sedentary or need to lose a large amount of weight, use 15–20). This is the amount of calories you should take in per day. This number is not important, however you will use it to find how much fat you should take in daily.
- To calculate fats: Multiply your calorie allotment by 0.30, then divide that number by 9. This is the amount of fat you need in grams each day. Whether male or female, it’s suggested you keep carbohydrate intake below 100 grams per day for best results.
- Once you have your values, spread them out throughout the day into three meals and one to two snacks.
- Allow yourself one treat meal per week: This is not a free-for-all. One meal is one meal, not an entire day or a binge.
What Should I Eat?
Foods That Should Be Avoided or Kept at a Minimum
- Red meat, including beef, veal, pork, and lamb
- High-glycemic-index fruits and dried fruits
- Foods rich in saturated fat like cream, orange-colored cheeses like cheddar cheese, butter, margarine, cream sauces, cheese sauces and artificial cheese products
- Starchy carbohydrates like breads, pastas, cereals, potatoes, and all grains
- Junk food and sweets
- Sugary beverages and sugar-sweetened condiments like ketchup, teriyaki sauce and BBQ sauce
Foods to Eat More Of
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Lean beef (90% lean ground beef, sirloin, filet, shoulder or top round are great choices)
- Eggs and egg whites
- Plain nonfat or low-fat Greek-style yogurt
- Cottage cheese, 2–4% fat
- Whey protein powder
- Beans (black, kidney, cannelloni, etc.)
- Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, hummus, etc.)
- Vegetables (fresh, canned or frozen)
- Low-glycemic fruits including cherries, grapefruit, apples, blueberries, and pears
- Extra-virgin olive oil and other healthy oils
- Nuts and seeds (peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
- Nut butter (peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, etc.)
- Fish oil (EPA and DHA)
- Flax seeds and flaxseed oil
- Low-fat cheese (mozzarella, feta, goat, blue cheese, provolone, any cheese white in color with exception of American, etc.)
- Low-fat dairy (1–2% dairy milk, 2–4% cottage cheese, low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt)
- Zero-calorie beverages including coffee, unsweetened tea, diet soda, sweetened drinks, nonfat or 1% high-protein milk, water. (When taking Thermo Heat™ supplements do not drink caffeinated beverages.)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Herbs and spices, especially spicy choices like cayenne pepper
- Olive oil mayonnaise
- Low-sodium soy sauce or tamari soy sauce (if gluten intolerant)
Thermo Heat™: take with breakfast and lunch
Thermo Heat Multi™: Taken any time of the day
Thermo Heat Nighttime™: Taken with evening meal or before bedtime (do not take if driving)
Total-Body Fat-Incinerating Workout
By Thomas Fahey, Ed.D.
This workout includes HIIT two days per week on a stationary bike or elliptical trainer, moderate-intensity aerobics three days per week, and whole-body weight training three days per week. The HIIT and whole-body workouts should be at maximal intensity. Ideally, the aerobic workouts outside should be done using a GPS exercise tracking app.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Whole-Body Weight Training- performed explosively with good form
Kettlebell swings: 4 sets of 20 reps, rest one minute between sets
Medicine ball thrusters: 4 sets of 20 reps, rest one minute between sets
Kettlebell snatch: 4 sets of 15 reps with each arm, rest one minute between sets
Curl-ups: 2 sets of 20 reps, rest one minute between sets
Stir-the-pot exercise, medicine ball: 10 circles in each direction, rest one minute between sets
Side-bridges: 5 sets of 10-second holds on each side, rest one minute between sets
High to low cable chops: 4 sets of 10 reps: high to low cable chops
Outdoor cycling or running: 30 to 60 minutes. Substitute indoor cycling, elliptical trainer or treadmill walking or running if the weather is bad.
Tuesday and Thursday
High-Intensity Interval Training: stationary bike or elliptical trainer
Warm-up at 50 percent intensity for three minutes. Do four to ten sets of thirty seconds of exercise at maximal intensity, resting two to four minutes between sets. Cool down after the workout at 30–50 percent of maximum effort for three to five minutes. For best effect, go as hard and as fast as you can during each exercise interval.
Kettlebell Swings: To begin, stand a foot or so behind the kettlebell, sit back, and grasp the handle with both hands. Transfer a large portion of your weight to your heels; at the same time swing the kettlebell backward so that it pendulates (rocks back and forth) fairly close to your groin. Then drive the hips forward and forcibly contract the quads, glutes, pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles; this will promote a rapid acceleration of the kettlebell upward to shoulder level. Exhale sharply (but not fully) at the top of the swing to accentuate the bracing motions of the major body muscles. Keeping the spine in a neutral position, let the kettlebell accelerate downward as you flex or bend your hips and knees, keeping your arms straight.
Medicine Ball Thrusters: Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest. Squat down, keeping your torso upright. Drive back up through your heels and press the ball directly overhead. Use the momentum from the squat when pushing the ball overhead. Squat back down, bring the ball back toward the chest, and repeat.
Kettlebell Snatch: Begin by holding the kettlebell in one hand with your palm facing you, in a standing position with knees bent, feet placed slightly more than a shoulder-width apart, hips flexed, back straight, chest out, and head in a neutral position. Hold the kettlebell at knee level. Swing the weight to a horizontal position by initiating the motion with the hips, thighs, and abs (tighten the quads, glutes, and ab muscles as hard as you can), bending your arm as it approaches the chest and continuing the motion until straightening it overhead. The kettlebell should rotate from the front of your hand to the back during the motion. Use an upward punching motion at the top of the movement to prevent injuring your forearm. Let the weight swing back between your legs in a “football hiking motion” and then repeat the exercise. During the movement, hinge at the hips and not at the spine.
Curl-Ups: Lie on your back on the floor with your hips flexed (bent) and feet placed flat on the floor and contract your abdominal muscles, raising your torso minimally during the exercise.
Stir-the-pot exercise, medicine ball: Place your forearms on a medicine ball and extend your legs to the rear in a plank position, creating a straight line with your body. While maintaining stiff core muscles, move the ball in small circles with your forearms.
side-bridges: Lie on your side and support your body with your forearm and feet for ten seconds. Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine straight—avoid letting it sag during the exercise. Increase the intensity of exercise by moving progressively from a right-side plank to a front plank to a left-side plank while maintaining a neutral spine and a stiff core during all movements.
High to low cable chops: Stand to the side of a cable machine and adjust the pulley to the highest position. Grasp the handle with both hands and pull the handle diagonally from high to low using the core muscles. Stabilize the pelvis throughout the exercise. Do the exercise on both sides of the body.