Fat loss for some people remains difficult because it’s so multifactorial, and the human body is often stubborn and prefers to stay at a set point (Homeostasis).
However, there are some ways we can trick / bio hack our bodies health and metabolism to accelerate fat loss and permanently keep it off.
It's easier if I break it down into 4 key areas and focus on the supplements and hacks for each…
- Calorie Control – Hunger (Ghrelin & Leptin), blood sugar (Insulin & Cortisol) & Cravings (Dopamine & Glutamate)
- Energy – Focus, motivation, exercise & mood.
- Thyroid – Calories burned metabolically (BMR).
- Thermogenesis – Burning fats as heat.
It’s well understood that calories in and calories out equals the law of thermodynamics. If you consume more energy than you burn the excess energy must store somewhere (often as body fat) and if you burn more energy than you consume, then the extra energy burned must come from within your body.
Sounds easy, but its difficult to sustain a calorie deficit as our bodies have been evolutionary programmed to survive and that mean preserving energy for times when food may be scarce.
When you cut calories, your body will slow your metabolism (to hold onto the energy it has), reduce your sleep (giving you more hours to search for food), increase your hunger (desire to search for food) and lower sex hormones (no point reproducing right now you can’t even feed yourself) which may impact your mood, energy, will power, relationships, lean muscle mass and much more.
Lucky, we have access to certain supplements found in nature that allow our body to push back and get the results we are looking for.
There are several mechanisms involved in this process and it requires a multifactorial approach.
- You should know that FATS, PROTEIN and FIBRE are more satiating (filling) than non-fibrous carbs. They also have a lower impact on insulin which means you don’t get blood sugar highs and crashing lows.
A good approach is to make sure each meal contains healthy amounts of quality fats, protein, and fibre. If you can’t prepare a healthy balanced meal a hack may be mixing a PLANT PROTEIN shake (slower released than whey), with MCT oil powder & a SUPER FOOD GREENS in the one smoothie.
This will cover… Protein, Good Fats, Fibre and Micronutrients!!
- MICRONUTRIENTS make the macros magic. What I mean by this is the vitamins, minerals, POLYPHENOLS, and ANTIOXIDANTS found in mostly plants help to support healthy metabolism and a flourishing gut microbiota.
Good gut health with balanced microbes will ensure your body doesn’t over absorb calories consumed and doesn’t demand more calories of the wrong kind. That’s right… if you have the wrong microbes, they could be sending molecules to your brain asking for more sugar to feed them & your fat stores!!
Using an antioxidant rich superfood supplement with carefully selected PROBIOTICS (Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii) is going to be super helpful. Not to mention this type of formula will support liver detoxification which is critical since your liver is where you metabolise fatty acids (fats).
- KETONES suppress hunger and improve satiation. You can produce ketones if you follow a ketogenic diet. This is part of the reason why a keto diet is so popular for weight loss as it makes it easier to stay in a calorie deficit (hunger control).
An alternative is to supplement with exogenous ketones to boost BHB (ketone) levels which will suppress ghrelin, improve insulin sensitivity and improve satiation by enhancing leptin sensitivity.
In Summary, ketones will support fat loss by reducing cravings to help you stay in a calorie deficit and improve the way your body uses carbs rather than storing them as fat. Ketones also boost BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) by enhancing mitochondrial biogenesis (increasing the number of mitochondria to boost your fat burning machinery).
- INSULIN is an anabolic hormone. This means it builds stuff… including fat stores. This is why we see a relationship between excessive starchy carb / sugar consumption and weight gain.
When you eat carbs, it converts to sugar and your body releases insulin to push the sugar out of the blood into tissue that will use it for energy (like muscles).
However, overtime your muscles become resistant to insulin. This means they no longer efficiently accept the sugar energy which results in a wired and tired phenomenon. Wired due to high blood sugar levels but tired because it can’t be used by your muscles or brain efficiently.
In addition, fat cells remain insulin sensitive and accept the sugar willingly which they convert into glycerol and store as more fat.
Improving insulin sensitivity through regular exercise, prolonged fasting, KETONES, and the use of supplements like CHROMIUM & GYMNEMA can significantly improve your ability to use carbs for fuel and store less of them as fat. In fact, chromium is a critical mineral required for GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor).
Being more responsive to glucose (sugar / carbs) means you will produce less insulin which will have a number of healthy benefits including better energy, less inflammation and greater weight management.
- ADRENALINE, DOPAMINE & GLUTAMATE are excitatory neurotransmitters that make you feel energized, satisfied, focused, happy, motivated, and confident. A lack of these neurotransmitters may result in lowered mood, lack of motivation and increased cravings (especially for sugar, alcohol, drugs etc).
This is why GLUTAMINE supplements help reduce cravings and addiction. It’s also why supplements containing natural CAFFEINE & ALPINA GALANGA (EnXtra®) combined boost mood, motivation and reduce cravings. Together they increase the release of adrenaline, dopamine, and glutamate, while enhancing your brains receptors, so you respond better and don’t seek more from food!!
Understanding this reward system has enabled supplement companies to formulate with a combination of herbs and amino acids to support mood and motivation while reducing cravings which may have a profound impact on your calories in and calories out.
Carrying on the theme of ADRENALINE, your bodies main energy neurotransmitter. It is important to understand this is a double edge sword. Adrenaline is produced in concert with cortisol. They are adrenal hormones that when produced acutely, stimulate the breakdown of adipose tissue (bodyfat).
However, excessive production of adrenaline or cortisol (from excessive stimulation, caffeine, or stress) has the reverse effect and instead causes fatigue, tiredness and bodyfat gain.
Therefore, it’s super important to manage your stress, get adequate quality sleep and not over do the caffeine. You should make sure you combine the caffeine you do consume with Alpina galanga (EnXtra®). This form of GALANGAL improves adrenaline, glutamate, and dopamine receptors allowing for longer lasting energy, focus, motivation, happier moods, and reduced cravings.
TYROSINE is another amino acid that is a precursor to adrenaline and dopamine so can be very helpful in this energy, mood and motivation discussion. Tyrosine also has a role to play in thyroid function (coming up).
Your thyroid is essentially your bodies energy thermostat. It decides how many calories you burn or store. Like a thermostat in an electronic device, your thyroid can malfunction. This can happen for several reasons…
- Autoimmunity – Hashimotos is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. This is where your body is producing inflammatory antibodies that attack the tissue of your thyroid. This is a situation that requires close medical treatment.
- Lack of precursors – IODINE and TYROSINE are pre-cursors in the production of thyroid hormones. Having adequate levels of these two nutrients may ensure optimal thyroid output resulting in greater fat burning.
Iodine deficiency is on the rise with 50% of the Australian population deficient as we eat less fish, seafood and sea vegetables. The soil in Australia is also low in iodine and SELENIUM which can be a real problem for healthy thyroid function and ultimately fat burning.
COLEUS FORSKOHLII has been shown to increase cAMP (Cyclic Amino Monophosphate) that signals your thyroid to produce adequate thyroid hormones. Inflammation sometimes disrupts this pathway, so it’s thought coleus’s ability to lower inflammation simultaneously may be what makes the difference.
B-VITAMINS (B12, Folate, B3 and B6) are also critical cofactors in making thyroid hormones from iodine and tyrosine. They also help with energy metabolism, protein synthesis (tissue repair) and neurotransmitter production.
Burning fat as heat is critical for fat loss. There are certain supplements that can help increase thermogenesis through the production of AMPK (Adenosine Monophosphate Protein Kinase) and UCP-1 (Uncoupling Proteins).
Think of UCP-1 like a turbo charger for fat burning. It allows your body to burn through more energy quicker.
Activators of these pathways include GREEN TEA EXTRACT (GTE), BLACK PEPPER (BIOPERINE®), CAPSIACIN (CAYENNE) & GBB (GAMMA- BUTYROBETAINE).
Fat loss is complicated. Calories in and out sounds simple but with so many hormones and protein peptides in the body regulating this equation its easy to become dysregulated.
- Find an eating plan that you enjoy, and you feel you could maintain for the rest of your life. You won’t have to stay in a calorie deficit for the rest of your life because eventually you will get to a point where you are happy with your body composition.
- Make sure your eating plan has adequate quality protein, carbs (fibre), fats and micronutrients. If you find a meal that doesn’t contain enough protein or micros, then use a supplement to get what you need.
- Consider fasting options as a way of supporting insulin sensitivity, controlling calorie intake, and improving health. Fasting isn’t for everyone, and you should discuss if it is right for you with a nutritionist or dietician.
- Ketones can boost metabolic rate while controlling appetite which could fundamentally change the calorie in calorie out equation in your favour.
- Find a fat burner that combines several or all the ingredient mentioned above to support healthy metabolism, energy, mood, thermogenesis, thyroid function, reduce cravings and improve insulin sensitivity.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training, or nutritional strategy.