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Fat loss

How to accelerate fat loss (Opinion)

Thursday, July 14, 2011 by: Andrew Kim
Tags: fat loss, solutions, health news

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(NewsTarget) The article titled "Principles to Accelerate Fat Loss," elucidated the fact that body fat is much more than a benign depot for the storage of excess calories. Rather, it is a highly regulated, dispersed organ that when in excess, decreases quality of life and increases the risk of death from virtually all causes. This article will expand upon the discussion of fat regulation and will suggest ways to shift this regulation to favor fat loss.

As stated in the article mentioned above, fat loss requires four steps:

1.Lipolysis: Triglyceride (storage form of fat) breakdown and release.
2.Partitioning of fatty acids into the muscles in favor of the fat.
3.Fatty acid oxidation (fat burning). The technical term is beta-oxidation.
4.Increasing basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), the hormone that controls step 1, is regulated by various hormones, which are in turn stimulated by fasting, intense exercise, and stress. As blood sugar decreases during the fast, glucagon rises and insulin falls, which is the signal to switch over to predominantly fat burning. The logical approach then, is to train hard - short bursts of resistance/weight training - on an empty stomach. What is more, fasting stimulates growth hormone secretion and IGF-1 receptors, which help to preserve muscle mass.

Another approach to stimulate this process is to intermittent fast. For a more complete discussion of intermittent fasting, see the articles:


All that will be said about stress is that chronic stress will impede fat loss; whereas, short, controlled episodes of stress will accelerate weight loss and muscle gain.

Step 2 is regulated mainly by the balance between insulin and glucagon (which is determined by blood sugar levels) as well as by sex hormones. The balance of these forces will determine where the fat - that is released from fat cells - will go. Dietary interventions that control blood sugar and favor the flow of fat into muscles and away from fat cells include:

-High protein diet
-Low blood sugar
-Restricting carbohydrate-laden foods to no more than one meal per day

Step 3 is regulated by the same factors as in steps 1 and 2. Alcohol is particularly harmful to fat loss because ethanol stops fat burning and increases fat making.

There are many ways to increase BMR or step 4. Some are dangerous (drugs) and some are more practical. One practical way is through the exposure to cold temperatures. Exposure to cold temperatures increases energy expenditure in order to generate heat. These thermogenic effects are mediated by uncoupling proteins, which are found in the inner mitochondrial membrane, and are stimulated by even brief exposure to coldness.

Testosterone increases BMR too, which is a reason why as men (and women) get older, putting on weight becomes much easier than losing it. Testosterone also increases protein synthesis and so keeping testosterone levels elevated during fat loss is vital to prevent muscle and bone wasting. Intense exercise, high protein diets, and increasing fat intake - specifically saturated and mono-unsaturated - are some interventions that will help support healthy testosterone levels. As body fat decreases, so will the activity of an enzyme called aromatase - which converts DHT, the biologically active form of testosterone, to estrogen - and fat loss will get easier.

The organ that controls BMR is the thyroid gland, and so if fat loss is unsuccessful despite all efforts, a full panel thyroid test is an order to determine if one is clinically hypo-thyroid. Increasing thyroid hormone almost always decreases body weight just as decreasing thyroid hormone almost always increases it.


1. Lipoprotein lipase: structure, function, regulation, and role in disease.". J Mol Med 80 (12): 753-69.
2. Preiss-Landl, K., R. Zimmermann, G. Hammerle, and R. Zechner. "Lipoprotein lipase: the regulation of tissue specific expression and its role in lipid and energy metabolism." Current Opinion in Lipidology 13.5 (2002): 471-81.
3. Volek, Jeff S., William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Thomas Incledon, and Mark Boetes. "Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise." Journal of Applied Physiology 82.1 (1997): 49-54.
4. Bjorntorp, P. "The regulation of adipose tissue distribution in humans." International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 20.4 (1996): 291-302.
5. Berg, Jeremy Mark, John L. Tymoczko, and Lubert Stryer. Biochemistry . 5th ed. New York: W.H. Freeman, 2002.
6. Hall, John E., and Arthur C. Guyton. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier, 2011.

About the author

Andrew Kim
[email protected]

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