According to Ann Louise Gittleman, top nutritionist and author of the new, very buzzy book Radical Metabolism: A Powerful New Plan to Blast Fat and Reignite Your Energy in Just 21 Days ($15), Americans have become rather obsessed with weight loss—something we witness routinely on social media and at the gym or simply overhear in the kitchen at work. “About 60 percent of Americans are desperately trying to lose weight, yet only five to ten percent actually keep it off," she explains in her book. In fact, Gittleman goes on to share that in 2013, Americans collectively spent $60.5 billion on weight-loss products and services alone, and in 2018—a year filled with what felt like a new popular diet each day—those numbers likely didn't drop.
But what's with that aforementioned lack of success when it comes to weight-loss efforts? According to Gittleman, it largely comes down to a broken metabolism of sorts, which, as you might very well guess, is where the Radical Metabolism approach comes in to play.
"Today our bodies have a hard time digesting fats, which causes digestive symptoms," Gittleman shares in Radical Metabolism. "People experience difficulty sustaining energy levels and losing excess weight. Radical Metabolism connects the dots for you in a powerful new way. You can think of it as the next wave—going beyond Keto, Paleo, and primal style diets." Her ultimate intention with the diet? Reigniting a sluggish metabolism, harmonizing hormone levels, and promoting a healthier and happier gut.
Of course, there's definitely some strategy involved, and while we're never here to promote any one kind of particular diet, we love to share what's happening in the diet and wellness industry—Radical Metabolism being one such intriguing (and potentially helpful!) point of interest. Curious to know more? Keep scrolling for the five radical rules that make up Gittleman's Radical Metabolism reset and how they just might supercharge sluggish fat burn.
The Five Radical Rules for Metabolism Rescue
According to Gittleman (and as explained at much more length in her book), a radical metabolism is a fat-fueled metabolism that that can keep you lean, healthy, and energized. In order to cultivate said metabolism, there are five different objectives she's coined "radical rules." Again, these are discussed in far greater (and more complicated) detail in the book, but we'll provide a brief synopsis to whet your appetite and understanding.
Rule 1: Revamp Your Fats
"Eating enough omega-6 fat is vitally important to your metabolism and the health of your cell membranes, and it's crucial to eat the right kinds," Gittleman says right off the bat. "Unfortunately, many nutrition and health experts today are demonizing all omega-6s and idolizing all omega-3s. If you learn nothing else from this book, please learn this: the idea that all omega-6 fats fuel inflammation is a myth! While it's true most people in the United States consume far too many omega-6s, they're consuming large quantities of the toxic variety—which is completely different than the health-supporting omega-6 fats present in fresh whole foods."
So what's the main goal of rule number one? Eliminating the processed, overheated, and oxidized oils that can fuel inflammation and disease and instead sub in high-quality omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a healthy balance. Gittleman explains that the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is four to one. She recommends investing in organic nuts (think almonds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts), seeds and cold-pressed seed oils (hempseed, chia, sunflower, sesame, flax, safflower, pumpkin, and apricot), coconut and MCT oils, olive oil, and—if you're not vegan or vegetarian—grass-pastured animal products in the form of dairy and cold-water fish.
In terms of what to avoid, she recommends steering clear of processed or genetically modified oils, very long-chain fatty acids like canola and peanut oils, and any form of trans fats.
Rule 2: Restore Your Gallbladder
According to Gittleman, the gallbladder performs mandatory physiological functions that directly impact our metabolism. The catch? A large number of people may live with bile and gallbladder issues while being completely unaware. "Bile is made in the liver for the purposes of breaking down the fats you eat and escorting toxins out of your body," the Radical Metabolism book explains. "The gallbladder is a muscular pear-shaped organ located just beneath your liver whose purpose is to store, concentrate, and eject bile when needed.
Without an infusion of bile, you can't digest or absorb fat-soluble nutrients, vitamins A, D, E, and K, and those important fat-burning essential fatty acids—omega-6s and omega-3s." Of course, these are essential when it comes to maintaining healthy cell membranes, brain health, hormone production, immune responses, energy levels, and cardiovascular health.
Additionally, Gittleman says, if our body can't properly break down fats, they will be absorbed into your bloodstream in an unusable form, thus leading your body to store it as excess weight. Luckily, however, Gittleman serves up multiple easy-to-incorporate ways to give your gallbladder some love, the addition of bitter foods into the diet being one such example. She suggests watercress, arugula, kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, grapefruit, ginger, and dark chocolate.
Rule 3: Rebuild Your Muscles
Hormone imbalance, inflammation, sedentary lifestyle, and inadequate nutrition (especially poor-quality protein and impaired protein digestion) can all trigger age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia, which, Gittleman shares, can lead to weight gain and fat storage.
"Although sarcopenia is often characterized as a problem of the elderly, declining muscle mass actually begins much earlier in life and is often accompanied by weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome, which can progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes," she warns. "Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, so by increasing your consumption of high-quality proteins and amino acids, your body will receive the nutrients it requires to make muscle and other lean body tissues."
She recommends women shoot for 58 grams per day, increasing to 65 if pregnant. Though there are plenty of healthy protein sources, for a quick daily superfood boost, we love adding spirulina to our smoothies and baked goods, as just one tablespoon boasts a whopping four grams of lean-promoting protein.
Gittleman also adds that since our body can't store amino acids as it can carbohydrates and fat, eating protein daily is imperative. That said, no matter how well you're eating or supplementing your diet, you'll reap minimal rewards if your gut health is out of whack, which brings up the Radical Metabolism diet's fourth rule of thumb.
Rule 4: Repair Your Gut
Maintaining optimum gut health is discussed at length within the wellness world nowadays. Therefore, it's not all too surprising our culture's epidemic of gut inflammation and microbiome imbalances impacts the strategy of Gittleman's Radical Metabolism approach.
"Once the gut is inflamed, the rest of the body soon follows," the book explains. "Individuals with high intestinal permeability ('leaky gut') are much more susceptible to accumulation of abdominal fat, hormone imbalance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. An imbalanced microbiome is directly linked to obesity and weight-loss resistance. Your metabolism is impacted by the overall number of microorganisms living in your digestive tract, as well as their diversity."
While Gittleman explains that several strategies are required in order to restore and rebalance a compromised gut, she says infusing your diet with beneficial probiotic-rich foods (which naturally repopulate your gut with good bacteria) is key. She suggests starting with naturally fermented sauerkraut and kimchi while also enhancing environmental conditioners that will help probiotics work their magic once they're in your gut (ahem, fiber and prebiotics).
Rule 5: Reducing Toxic Load
Last but certainly not least, reducing the body's toxic load is paramount for improving and healing the metabolism (according to Gittleman's high-praised strategy, at least!). Here's the basic principle: If our bodies are carrying a heavy toxic burden, they simply cannot function at peak performance or even perform some of the most basic metabolic operations.
"Today we live in a sea of toxins, from the hormone-disrupting chemicals (known as obesogens) in our everyday products that hijack our estrogen receptors, to heavy metals and electropollution that relentlessly assault our DNA," says Gittleman. "When your body is toxic, all your resources are needed just to keep the poisons cleared out—and this leaves precious few to fire up fat burning."
To get you started, the following practices can help you to reduce or eliminate exposures to toxins sooner rather than later: drinking (a lot) of well-filtered water; sweating (think exercise and infrared saunas); logging ample hours of sleep; limiting fish consumption; investing in an air purifier (and letting fresh air in); forgoing artificial air fresheners; getting a few houseplants; prioritizing clean personal-care and home-cleaning products; washing your hands frequently; and choosing clean, organic, and unprocessed foods.