The Final Frontier of Diet: How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat
From Chapter Seven of The Warrior Diet
February 23, 2006 03:10 PM
Stubborn fat is a major problem for many people today. It doesn't matter if they are trying to get rid of it through various diets or different exercise routines?the fact is, this fat remains and seems impossible to remove. That's why it's called stubborn fat. I'm not aware of any diet that seriously addresses this problem.
Liposuction is the most popular method today of removing stubborn fat. Liposuction sucks out fat tissues through surgery. This can be dangerous, or even fatal, and it often doesn't solve the problem because the fat may indeed return in the very places it inhabited before liposuction. Such extreme measures just show how desperate people are. This is a multimillion-dollar industry today.
There are natural, noninvasive ways to remove stubborn fat. To understand how to deal with this problem, let me explain:
- What stubborn fat is
- Why we have it
- How to prevent it
- If you have it, how to get rid of it
What is Stubborn Fat?
Stubborn fat is a slow-metabolized adipose (fat) tissue. To burn fat, a natural hormonal process has to take place. When a fat-burning process is activated, the adrenal hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) bind to special receptors in the fat tissues. There are two major groups of receptors in the fat tissues, alpha and beta. The beta-receptors are the more active ones, which respond to the adrenal hormones. Fat burning occurs when the adrenal hormones activate the beta-receptors in the fat cells. If these receptors are not activated, no fat will burn off.
Stubborn fat has a lower ratio of beta-receptors to alpha-receptors. As a result, it's metabolized slowly and does not respond to the adrenal hormones. To make matters worse, stubborn fat has more estrogen receptors in the tissues. Estrogen (the female hormone), once bound to the receptors, causes even more fat gain.
There's much more to it, but I don't want to make this very complicated and too scientific. So for now, let's just say that stubborn fat presents three major problems:
- It doesn't have a high enough ratio of beta-receptors to alpha-receptors, so doesn't respond to adrenal fat-burning stimulation.
- It has more estrogen receptors, which accelerates fat gain.
And, on top of all this,
- Stubborn fat doesn't have a healthy blood circulation. These slowly metabolized fat tissues have fewer blood vessels than a normal fat tissue, and consequently it makes this fat slower to metabolize and, therefore, more stubborn or difficult to remove.
What Causes Stubborn Fat?
There are many reasons for having stubborn fat. Both men and women may suffer from it as a result of maintaining an unhealthy diet, from the liver's inability to break down and detoxify estrogenic derivatives, or due to sensitivity to certain foods or chemicals within foods. Fat gain has also been associated with insulin insensitivity and over-consumption of carbohydrates. Consuming too many carbohydrates?especially sugar and overly-processed, refined carbs?places pressure on the pancreas to overproduce insulin in order to lower blood sugar levels. Hyperinsulinemia causes insulin insensitivity. When this happens, the body converts these extra carbohydrates into triglycerides and fat.
Deficiencies in certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals?such as B vitamins, chromium, magnesium, zinc, and omega 3 essential fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid)?may also cause insulin insensitivity and compromise fat metabolism in cellular mitochondria (compounds in the cells that are responsible for energy production and fat burning).
Stubborn fat can be linked to protein deficiencies as well. Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to suffer from protein deficiencies, and especially to the essential amino acid lysine. Lysine, abundant in animal proteins but less so in grains, converts in our bodies to L-carnitine. L-carnitine is an amino acid essential for the fat-burning process. L- carnitine appears only in animal foods, especially red meat. Without enough L-carnitine and carnitine-related enzymes in your system, the ability to burn fat is severely compromised.
Stubborn fat can be an age-related problem for men. The older men get, the more testosterone is converted into estrogen?this process is called aromatazing. The older you get, the more the aromataze enzyme is active. Fat tissues produce aromataze enzymes and therefore accelerate the aromatazing action, which converts testosterone into estrogen. There are natural ways that may block this aromatazing process. We'll discuss them soon.
Women usually suffer from age-related stubborn fat around their hips, thighs, and butt. Some women have stubborn-fat tissues around their upper arms or entire legs. Age-related stubborn fat for women may be the result of hormonal fluctuations, or an increase in estrogen receptors in the tissues. Moreover, age-related insulin insensitivity, chronic stress, liver congestion, low thyroid, vascular permeability, and exhausted adrenals may all make the syndrome even worse for both men and women.
How to Prevent Stubborn Fat
There are several things you can do to avoid stubborn fat:
- Stay away from crash diets or diets that make you lose fat and gain it again. Second-generation fat is more stubborn than the first. The more you fluctuate with your weight, the more stubborn fat you may gain.
- Avoid consuming foods that you may be sensitive or allergic to. Some people react to certain foods, such as wheat, dairy, or soy. If you suspect this may be the case, get yourself checked for food sensitivities.
- Eat as much organic food as possible, thereby avoiding many estrogenic substances that are in our food supply, like petroleum and other chemically based fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides (found in nonorganic produce), and hormones, which are found in nonorganic meats, poultry, dairy and eggs.
- Drink pure, filtered water. Don't drink or cook with tap water that is unfiltered.
- Try to minimize the purchase, consumption, and storage of food, water, and other beverages or liquids that are wrapped or bottled in plastic (particularly soft-plastic bottles and containers). If the food or liquid smells like plastic, stay away from it.
- Minimize your alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol may compromise your liver's ability to break down and detoxify estrogenic derivatives. When not broken down and detoxified, these estrogenic toxins penetrate the blood and cause unpleasant symptoms like bloating, water retention, and stubborn-fat gain. If these toxins remain unchecked, they may cause chronic diseases, and even cancer.
- Control your insulin. Naturally minimize the amount of carbohydrates you ingest by having carbs as the last component of your meal. If needed, supplement yourself with all essential nutrients necessary for stabilizing your insulin, such as essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Follow a steady exercise routine. A comprehensive diet and exercise routine is the first defense against stubborn fat. Exercising boosts the metabolic rate, reduces stress-related symptoms, and thus accelerates the diet's effects. However, avoid overtraining. Chronically overstressing your body may cause the opposite effect and slow down your metabolic rate.
Plastic is a very controversial issue. Its use is widespread in packaging all types of food and beverages, and many oils. Most of these plastic bottles are made from polyethylene (a type of plastic that's been shown to be acceptably safe packing material for foods and oils). However, there are plastics used on the market today for packaging food that are toxic.
Udo Erasmus, the "Healthy Fat Guru," says that many plastic fibers contain toxic estrogenic chemicals that are dangerous to our health. In my opinion, avoiding plastic all together would be very impractical and almost impossible today given how widespread it is. Therefore I recommend that everyone do their best to check what type of plastic packaging is used before buying and consuming products wrapped or bottled in them. And, as noted above, you can use your senses. If anything edible smells like plastic, stay away from it. Moreover, acid-based foods, such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomato sauce, and wine shouldn't be packed or stored in plastic containers, since acid is more reactive with certain plastic materials. A few safety measures I use are:
- Cut away a small amount of the outer edge of foods that are wrapped in plastic, such as cheese.
- Store food and beverages in glass or ceramic containers.
To sum up how to prevent stubborn fat:
- Avoid weight fluctuations.
- Avoid foods you are sensitive or allergic to.
- Minimize consumption of nonorganic foods.
- Drink clean, pure water.
- Be conscious of plastic packaging. Most are safe, but some may be toxic.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Control your insulin and minimize carbohydrates.
- Follow a steady exercise routine.
How to Get Rid of Stubborn Fat
If you suffer from stubborn fat (men usually have it around the belly and the chest; women around their hips, butt, and thighs), and you want to get rid of it, you should also consider trying natural supplements that may help you burn it off.
Natural Stubborn-Fat Busters
- Estrogen Blockers: Citrus Bioflavonoids and Soy Flavones
Citrus bioflavonoids contain some natural properties that may block estrogen. Citrus flavonoids are abundant in the white, spongy layer of citrus peels.
Soy flavones contain mild estrogenic properties. Most people are not affected by this mild estrogenic stimulation. Soy flavones bind to the estrogen receptors in the tissues, and thus block these receptors from estrodiol, the most potent estrogen hormone. Estrodiol is called the "bad estrogen" because of its occasionally powerful effects on the body, such as bloating, water retention, fat gain, feminization of men (such as "bitch tits"), fat under the skin, and stubborn fat gain around the chest and the belly.
Experiments conducted in Italy have shown that combining citrus bioflavonoids with soy flavones was a most powerful, natural way to block the estrogenic effect on the body. Adding citrus bioflavonoids to soy flavones created a more powerful defense against estrogen than taking soy flavones alone. It's popular today to take soy flavones as a natural preventative aid against estrogen-related cancers, but I feel the above combination is much more potent. You can find both in health food and specialty vitamin stores. They're sold as nutritional supplements in the form of capsules or tablets. Let me mention again here that those who are sensitive to soy should consult their physician before taking any supplements containing soy flavones.
Anti-Aromataze Nutrients: Chrysine, Lignans, and Stinging Nettle
Chrysine is a flavone that's derived from the Passiflora plant, or passionflower. It's chemically similar to cercitine, which is a citrus flavone.
There was much hype about chrysine a few years ago when it was considered to be a powerful natural anti-aromataze substance. Unfortunately, those who took chrysine didn't get the expected results. Some today believe that in order to get a positive result, one needs to take large amounts (up to 5, or even 10, grams per day) of chrysine. In my opinion, chrysine may work as an anti-aromataze agent if taken in combination with other citrus bioflavanoids. These flavones and flavonoids work very well when combined together. However, when you isolate them they aren't as potent. The synergetic effect of all these flavones together is what makes them so active. That's the way they appear in nature, and that's the best way to take them to get positive results.
According to Udo Erasmus, flaxseed lignans, found in the fibrous part of flaxseed, contain anti-estrogenic properties. It's unclear whether they work by solely blocking estrogen receptors, or by blocking the aromataze enzyme as well. However, lignans have shown positive results as a natural aid against estrogen-related problems.
The best way to naturally ingest flaxseed lignans is through high-lignan flaxseed oil, or flaxseed meal. Both are available in health-food stores.
Stinging nettle is an herb with promising potential as a natural aid against aromataze. Historically, people used nettle seeds and roots as a potency herb. Nettle may have an aphrodisiac effect on men by increasing the level of free testosterone in the blood.
The anti-aromatazing properties of this herb are probably due to its ability to bind to the aromataze enzyme, and thus neutralize it. Recent studies suggest the plant may also be useful in treating enlarged prostate. When you take stinging nettle, follow the dosage recommended on the bottle. Nettle may also be a natural aid for women who suffer from estrogen-related stubborn fat. Due to its high-lignan content, this herb may help women block the effect of estrodiol.
Liver Detoxifiers (as Defense Against Alcohol-Related Stubborn Fat and Estrogen Derivatives
- Inol 3 Carbinol, Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, and SAM
As I've mentioned before, one of the reasons for excessive estrogenic activity in the body is liver congestion. The liver works as a filter organ. It's supposed to break down or neutralize toxins, preventing them from reaching the blood. Excessive alcohol consumption, for instance, blocks the liver enzyme that breaks down estrogen. Therefore, toxic estrogen derivatives go directly into the bloodstream, creating negative estrogenic effects. That's one reason why many heavy drinkers and alcoholics suffer from estrogen-related stubborn fat.
Inol 3 carbinol is a flavon that appears in broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables. This flavon is believed to be a natural aid for the liver's estrogen metabolism. You would need to ingest a lot of cruciferous vegetables to attain positive results. This may be unappealing, and also uncomfortable, because consuming large amounts of broccoli, for instance, may cause gas, or send you running to the bathroom. It's possible today to buy an active form of inol 3 carbinol, patented as "Dim," and distributed under the brand name Indoplex. Nevertheless, routinely consuming cruciferous vegetables is a natural, simple way to protect the liver. Supplementation is recommended for those who suffer from alcohol-related liver problems. Healthy people, in my opinion, should be able to protect themselves by simply maintaining a proper nutritious diet.
Those who want to accelerate liver detoxification and rejuvenation should consider taking milk thistle and dandelion root, since these herbs have been shown to help the liver detoxify and recuperate. Dandelion root is a diuretic herb and mildly laxative, so be cautious about the amount you take. Start with a small dosage, see how you feel, and then increase it slightly. Both are available as teas, tinctures, and capsules.
Adenosylemethionine (SAM) is a relatively new supplement. Its primary function is to alleviate depression, however it can also be very useful for liver detoxification, especially for those who suffer from estrogen-related toxicity. Our bodies naturally produce SAM, but those who have metabolic problems or nutrient deficiencies, may not produce enough. SAM is available in most health food and specialty vitamin stores.
Those who take steroids, and women who take hormone replacements, place pressure on their liver to break down and detoxify these drugs. An inability by the liver to break them down may cause unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, water retention, and weight gain. Natural supplementation in these cases could help.
Yohimbe bark ?
Yohimbe bark is an herb derived from a West African yohimbe tree. Yohimbe is used as an aphrodisiac herb for men who want to boost potency. It may also benefit those who suffer from stubborn fat. Yohimbe is an alpha 2 adrenergenic antagonist, meaning yohimbe may block alpha receptors of fat cells. By blocking alpha-receptors, it makes it possible for a stubborn fat tissue to be metabolized (the adrenal hormones bind to the beta receptors and activate a fat-burning response). For both men and women who suffer from stubborn fat, this herb may offer positive effects. However, some people don't react well to yohimbe. Those who suffer from high-blood pressure, heart conditions, or thyroid problems, should consult their physician before trying it.
To help get rid of stubborn fat, it's worth considering some nutritional supplementation, which may help attack it on four levels:
- Anti-estrogen (citrus bioflavonoids and soy flavones)
- Anti-aromataze (chrysine plus citrus bioflavonoids, flaxseed lignans and stinging nettle)
- Liver detoxifiers (inol 3 carbinol, milk thistle, dandelion root, and SAM)
- Alpha antagonist (yohimbe bark)
The Warrior Stubborn Fat Burner: A Natural Supplement to Block Estrogen-Related Stubborn Fat
A couple of years ago I created a formula, The Warrior Stubborn Fat Burner
that is a potent combination of flavones and herbs that together help rid this fat by blocking the estrogen effect and deactivating alpha receptors on the fat cells. More on this can be found in the "Warrior Nutritional Supplements" chapter of The Warrior Diet
The first defense against stubborn fat is to maintain a healthy diet, proper nutrition, and a regular exercise routine. It's best to eat organic foods, drink clean water, try to reduce the purchase, consumption, and storage of foods or liquids packaged in plastic, avoid foods you are sensitive or allergic to, minimize exposure to estrogenic chemicals, minimize your alcohol consumption and, yes, avoid fluctuating your weight through fad or crash diets.
The Warrior Diet
can greatly help in preventing and eliminating stubborn fat.
As you've already seen, this diet gives you hours of daily detoxification. This, coupled with the fat burning that happens during the daily Undereating Phase, should keep you lean and healthy. If you are following the overeating rules of the Warrior Diet too, you know that all the nutritional advice mentioned in this chapter is already part of your routine, and so you should be able to block the stubborn-fat syndrome. And, if you have stubborn fat and want to burn it, hopefully you now know what to do.
As an "End Note" for this subject, let me reiterate how essential exercise is to accelerate fat burning and reduce stress. Of course, maintaining a healthy diet is of utmost importance in order to achieve positive results. Exercise makes the results you're hoping for happen that much faster.