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THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF DOING INTERMITTENT FASTING



FAT, FIBER, AND PROTEIN, served up with flavor—together, they’re a powerful, nat- ural prescription for weight loss and wellness. Now let’s take a good look at each of these aspects of the Smart Fat Solution so you can better understand the role they play in controlling your weight, staying lean and trim, improving your health— and saving your life. Smart Fats at Work Fat can make you thin, and controlling your weight will keep you healthy. Behind this simple truth are some complex (biochemical) realities, but don’t worry—we’re here to make them understandable. If you don’t need to shed excess weight, congrats; you’ll still reap many benefits from the Smart Fat Solution, including a reduction in the risk of various illnesses. The Smart Fat Solution will help you turn back the clock on aging. Whatever your goals, there are two big physiological reasons why adding smart fat to your diet will yield the results you want: 1.Smart fats decrease inflammation. Inflammation is the basis for virtually every degenerative disease and is a huge roadblock when it comes to permanent weight loss. 2.Smart fats balance your hormones. If your hormones are out of whack, it’s next to impossible to lose weight or to be truly healthy. How Smart Fats Break the Inflammation Chain Consuming beneficial dietary fat sets off a positive biochemical reaction in our bodies, which decreases disease-causing, obesity-promoting inflammation. Don’t underestimate the damage that chronic inflammation can cause.

When most of us think of “inflammation” (Latin inflammato; literally, “I ig- nite”), we picture an angry-looking rash or the swelling around a joint. Got an ab- scess in your tooth? An eruption on your skin? An aching back? It’s inflam- mation—at least the kind most of us are familiar with. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury (the throbbing of your sprained ankle that blew up like a balloon) or to infection (the puffy, itching skin around your scraped knee). Your body correctly perceives that it’s under attack, and in an attempt to control the damage, the immune system mounts a counterattack. If you get a splinter, the body sends fluid to the affected area, surrounding it with white blood cells to prevent microbes from invading and starting an infection. The neigh- boring vascular tissue goes into overdrive, trying to protect the body by kicking out the enemy—everything from bacteria to damaged cells.


This particular variety of inflammation is called acute inflammation. We’re all familiar with acute inflammation because it’s annoyingly painful and impossible to ignore. But the kind of inflammation we’re talking about here is very different. The potentially lethal kind of inflammation that causes or promotes every degenerative disease known to humans is a completely different animal. This much more dan- gerous kind of inflammation is called chronic inflammation, and though it does incalculable damage to our bodies over the course of our lives, it exists largely

Like high blood pressure and diabetes, chronic inflammation has no visible symptoms (though it can be measured by a lab test known as high-sensitivity C- reactive protein [hs CRP]). But it damages the vascular system, the organs, the brain, and body tissues. It slowly erodes your health, gradually overwhelming the body’s anti-inflammatory defenses. It causes heart disease. It causes cognitive de- cline and memory loss. Even obesity and diabetes are linked to inflammation be- cause fat cells are veritable factories for inflammatory chemicals. In fact, it’s likely that inflammation is the key link between obesity and all the diseases obesity puts you at risk for developing.

When your joints are chronically inflamed, degenerative diseases like arthritis are right around the corner. Inflamed lungs cause asthma and other respiratory ill- nesses. Inflammation in the brain is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neuro- logical conditions, including brain fog and everyday memory lapses that we write off as normal aging—except those memory lapses are not an inevitable conse- quence of aging at all. They are, however, an inevitable consequence of inflam- mation, because inflammation sets your brain on fire. Those “I forgot where I parked the car” moments start happening more frequently, and occurring prema- turely. Inflamed arteries can signal the onset of heart disease. Chronic inflammation has also been linked to various forms of cancer; it triggers harmful changes on a molecular level that result in the growth of cancer cells. Inflammation is so central to the process of aging and breakdown at the cellular level that some health pun- dits have begun referring to the phenomena as “inflam-aging.” That’s because in- flammation accelerates aging, including the visible signs of aging we all see in the skin.

In addition to making us sick, chronic inflammation can make permanent weight loss fiendishly difficult. The fat cells keep churning out inflammatory pro- teins called cytokines, promoting even more inflammation. That inflammation in turn prevents the energy-making structures in the cells, called mitochondria, from doing their jobs efficiently, much like a heat wave would affect the output of a fac- tory that lacks air-conditioning—productivity declines under extreme conditions. One of the duties of the mitochondria is burning fat; inflammation interferes with the job of the mitochondria, making fat burning more difficult and fat loss nearly impossible. While someone trying to lose weight may initially be successful, after a while, the number on the scale gets stuck. The much-discussed weight-loss “plateau” is often a result of this cycle of inflammation and fat storage. And here’s even more bad news: Adding more exercise or eating fewer calories in an attempt to break through the plateau will have some effect on weight loss, but not much. And con- tinuing to lose weight becomes much harder to accomplish. Why? Because inflam- mation decreases our normal ability to burn calories. (We’ll tell you more about other factors that contribute to the plateau—and how the Smart Fat Solution can help you to move beyond them—in Part 2 of this book.)

Remember, some inflammation is a good thing; it’s part of the body’s natural healing response, and it helps us recover from illness and injury. But when inflam- mation goes unchecked, which is the definition of chronic inflammation, watch out! So how do we stop inflammation from harming our health and making perma- nent weight-loss impossible? Simple. By fortifying our body’s anti-inflammatory army. And this begins with the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods, in partic- ular, smart fats. Smart Fats Fight Back We know that certain fats have anti-inflammatory properties capable of breaking the frustrating cycle of inflammation. These smart fats include powerful anti- inflammatories like omega-3 fatty acids, which are primarily found in fish and fish oil, as well as in olive oil, nuts, dark chocolate, and avocados. Reducing inflammation, however, is not as simple as just loading up on omega- 3s, though it’s definitely a first step. It’s also a matter of consuming less inflam- matory food. This is logical, but it’s not always simple to do. That’s because some of the “heart-healthy” fats we’ve been taught to consume are the worst offenders, most notably polyunsaturated “vegetable” oils that the Diet Dictators have been touting since the birth of the low-fat diet. These polyunsaturated fats are also known as omega-6 fatty acids. They’re very common in junk foods (almost all of which are made with various forms of so- called vegetable oils), but they’re also in some “healthy” foods as well. No matter where they come from, though, omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory. Consuming too much omega-6, then, is problematic. (Note: Omega-6 is not in and of itself “bad,” and we do need some of this essential fatty acid in our diets. The problem is that we’re consuming too much omega-6, while consuming too little omega-3.) SMART FAT FACT: THERE ARE NO VEGGIES IN “VEGETABLE” OIL Vegetable oils don’t come from vegetables, so the name is misleading. They are processed from grains such as corn or from other plants such as soybeans. To distinguish these fats from animal fats, manufacturers have long referred to them as “vegetable” oil, and that’s how most consumers refer to them as well. But the name is flat-out wrong. More accurately, they are plant-based oils derived from grains and seeds. We use “vegetable oil” in this book because it is common usage, but we want to point out—and we want you to understand—the inac- curacy of that term. Here’s the solution: For omega-3s to counteract inflammation most effectively, they must be eaten in the correct ratio to omega-6s—ideally, about 1:1. But that’s not what we’re doing. Research indicates that our current consump- tion of omega-6 fats is about sixteen times greater than our consumption of omega-3s, or roughly a ratio of 16:1. That means we’re giving 1,600 percent more “fuel” to our body’s inflammatory army than to its anti-inflammatory army. As you’ll see, getting this ratio right is vital. Our health depends on it—as do our very lives. While the ratio of 1:1 is the ideal, we believe that you can do just fine

PTHE THREE CATEGORIES OF FAT: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE NEUTRAL You can’t survive without fat. It’s that simple. In order to survive, your body must have fat. By now, you probably understand that not all fats are created equal. Different fats work differently in our bodies. So don’t run out and start ordering ham- burgers and fries chased with a creamy milkshake. Just because you need to eat fat doesn’t mean you get to eat fat indiscriminately. You still have to be smart about fats. First, a quick Chemistry 101 lesson and some terminology you should know. Scientists place fats into categories on the basis of their chemical architecture, specifically, the presence of what chemists call double bonds. Fats that have no double bonds are called “saturated” fats; fats that have one double bond are called “monounsaturated” fats; and fats that have more than one double bond are “polyunsaturated” fats. Polyunsaturated fats are further divided into omega-6s and omega-3s, named solely for the location of their first double bond. The best (smartest) fats are those that yield clear health benefits, including weight loss. Some fats are pure junk, and the worst of them are deadly. Some fats will add flavor and texture to your daily diet, but they won’t have much effect on your health. We consider those fats “neutral,” and they pretty much get a free pass. Unlike smart fats, you don’t need to make a special effort to add them to your diet, but you don’t need to make a special effort to avoid them either. Throughout this book, you’ll hear us refer to fats as good (smart), bad (dumb), or neutral. Here are a few examples of each.

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF FAT: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE NEUTRAL You can’t survive without fat. It’s that simple. In order to survive, your body must have fat. By now, you probably understand that not all fats are created equal. Different fats work differently in our bodies. So don’t run out and start ordering ham- burgers and fries chased with a creamy milkshake. Just because you need to eat fat doesn’t mean you get to eat fat indiscriminately. You still have to be smart about fats. First, a quick Chemistry 101 lesson and some terminology you should know. Scientists place fats into categories on the basis of their chemical architecture, specifically, the presence of what chemists call double bonds. Fats that have no double bonds are called “saturated” fats; fats that have one double bond are called “monounsaturated” fats; and fats that have more than one double bond are “polyunsaturated” fats. Polyunsaturated fats are further divided into omega-6s and omega-3s, named solely for the location of their first double bond. The best (smartest) fats are those that yield clear health benefits, including weight loss. Some fats are pure junk, and the worst of them are deadly. Some fats will add flavor and texture to your daily diet, but they won’t have much effect on your health. We consider those fats “neutral,” and they pretty much get a free pass. Unlike smart fats, you don’t need to make a special effort to add them to your diet, but you don’t need to make a special effort to avoid them either. Throughout this book, you’ll hear us refer to fats as good (smart), bad (dumb), or neutral. Here are a few examples of each.of these animals as toxic; their fat is equally so. Fats high in omega-6s, especially if they are used in foods that don’t have any other redeeming benefit. NEUTRAL FATS Certain (clean) saturated fats—such as palm oil or the fat found naturally in grass-fed and organically raised animal protein, such as beef, lard, butter, yogurt, milk, cream, and cheese. We consider these clean sources of satu- rated fats to be neutral. In general, neutral fats may not necessarily im- prove health, but they certainly won’t cause any harm. We’ve demonized saturated fats for decades, but it turns out that they have nothing to do with what’s killing us. In fact, you’re much better off eating a steak from a grass-fed, organically raised animal than you are eating white rice, white potatoes, or bread. (We’ll tell you what’s really doing the damage in the next chapter.) We’ve placed fats into these three categories because of how they behave biochemically once they’ve been ingested and go to work in our bodies. We tell you more about that in Chapter 4 when we look at fats more closely, and we also give you lots more examples of foods in all three categories. In looking at our three distinctions, do you notice anything interesting? We’re betting that foods you would most like to eat are made with fats that fall into the good and neutral categories. If you think about smart fat eating with that in mind, planning great meals and choosing satisfying snacks gets easier and easier. †MCT oil is commercially available and usually derived from coconut and palm kernel oils.