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May 24, 2021 113 min

This episode I describe the science of fat loss, including how fat is mobilized and oxidized (burned) and how to increase fat burning by leveraging the nervous system. Most people don't realize it, but our neurons connect to our fat and release epinephrine/adrenaline to facilitate fat oxidation. I explain how this can be accomplished with non-exercise movements such as fidgeting to burn thousands of calories of fat a day-- a practice is rarely discussed but very well supported by the science literature. I also discuss an optimal fat loss protocol using cold to create shiver, and how specific types and timing of exercise impact fat loss. I discuss if exercising fasted indeed increases fat oxidation-- it turns out the type and duration of exercise really matters. And I discuss the use of caffeine, GLP1 from Mate or guayusa and emerging new prescription compounds for fat loss. The episode includes a lot of tools, links to cost-free resources and explanation of the science underlying each tool for fat loss.


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  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:06:00 Fat Loss: The Key Role of Neurons
  • 00:08:44 The First Law of Fat Loss
  • 00:11:00 Neurons Connect To Fat! (& That Really Matters)
  • 00:13:38 5 Pillars of Metabolism: Sleep, Essential Fatty Acids, Glutamine, Microbiome, Thyroid
  • 00:19:20 Mindset Truly Matters: Amazing Examples of Beliefs on Fat Loss
  • 00:23:08 Our Brain Talks To Our Fat
  • 00:25:00 The Most Incredible & Dangerous Fat Loss Agent
  • 00:27:28 Losing Fat Is a Two-Part Process: Mobilization and Oxidation
  • 00:32:25 The Critical Role of Adrenaline/Epinephrine, But NOT from Adrenal Glands
  • 00:34:45 Fidgeting & Shivering: A Powerful Science-Supported Method For Fat Loss
  • 00:41:24 How Fidgeting Works: Promotes Epinephrine Release into Fat. “N-E-A-T”
  • 00:44:55 Two Ways of Using Shivering To Accelerate Fat Loss
  • 00:47:30 White, Brown & Beige Fat; & Using Cold-Induced Shiver To Burn Fat
  • 00:50:25 How To Use Cold Properly To Stimulate Fat Loss: Succinate Release Is Key/Shiver
  • 00:52:26 Exact Protocols: (1-5X per week); Don’t Adapt! Submerge and Exit “Sets & Reps” 00:56:15 see “protocols” tab Cold-Shiver-Fat-Loss Tool (cost free)
  • 00:58:03 If Fat-Loss Is Your Goal, Avoid Cold Adaptation: Remember Polar Bear Swimmers
  • 00:58:17 Irisin: Underwhelming; Succinate Is The Real Deal
  • 01:00:00 Brown Fat, Why Babies Can’t Shiver and Becoming a Hotter Furnace, Adding Heat
  • 01:01:55 Ice On Back of The Neck, Cold Underpants: Not A Great Idea For Fat Loss
  • 01:04:00 A Key Paper For the Aficionados:
  • 01:05:00 Spot Reduction: There May Be Hope After All. Targeting Specific Fat Pads.
  • 01:09:20 Exercising For Fat Loss: What Is Best? High Intensity, Sprinting, Moderate Intensity?
  • 01:13:30 Exercising Fasted: Does It Truly Accelerate Fat Loss/Oxidation.
  • 01:16:30 The 90 Minute Rule: After 90 Minutes, The Fasted Exercisers Start To Burn More Fat
  • 01:18:15 If High-Intensity Training Is Done First, The Benefits of Fasting Arrive Before 90min.
  • 01:22:44 Post-Exercise Metabolic Increases: How To Bias This Toward Fat Oxidation
  • 01:26:05 A Protocol For Exercise-Induced Fat Loss; Adrenalin Is The Effector
  • 01:28:50 Supplements/Compounds For Fat Loss Part: Caffeine Fidgeting, & Caffeine Adaptation
  • 01:34:30 Ephedrine, Fenfluramine: Removed From Market Due to Safety Concerns
  • 01:35:22 GLP1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide 1), Yerba Mate, Guayusa Tea, Semaglutide
  • 01:40:30 Berberine, Metformin: Glucose/Insulin Reduction, Increase Fat Oxidation: But Caution
  • 01:41:28 Gardner Lab Results: What You Eat May Not Matter, But Adherence Is Key Tool
  • 01:43:00 & Enter “Yerba Mate”: Lowers Heart Rate Even Though Is a Stimulant
  • 01:44:35 Acetly-L-Carnitine: Facilitates Fat Oxidation
  • 01:48:00 Summary List of Tools & How Nervous System Controls Fat Loss
  • 01:51:20 Cost Free & Other Ways To Support Our Podcast, Making Sure We See Feedback

    Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

    Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac -

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