Ignite Your Fat Burning Engine

June 30, 2011
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

57302431Blast off fat this 4th of July.

A hot topic (literally) of late has been capsaicin, a substance that has been firing up the circulation for centuries. Found in sweat-inducing foods and spices like cayenne, capsaicin provides the power to get the blood pumping efficiently, the body’s metabolic rate stimulated—and fat blasted out of the body.

It works by turning white fat cells into brown, and then activating the hybrid fat to burn itself to elimination. While many are now rushing to get their hands on hot peppers and Tabasco sauce (one recent study found that eating 3 grams of Tabasco sauce can boost your metabolism by twenty percent for two hours), my fans are no strangers to brown fat—I’ve been recommending cayenne, along with brown fat-activating GLA, since 1988 when I first released Beyond Pritikin.

Brown fat can go a long way in helping you manage the excess calories you may consume on any given day, but it needs to be activated by the right nutrients so that your body will efficiently burn, rather than store, the excess fat you take in.

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), one of the most potent omega-6 fatty acids found in evening primrose oil, borage oil, and black currant oil, has been found to activate brown fat and boost the metabolic rates in healthy adults. GLA is the raw material needed for certain prostaglandins to ignite the mitochondria’s fat-burning process in the body’s brown fat.

Interestingly, researchers in Heidelberg, Germany long ago found that slimmer adults have a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their blood than did their heavier counterparts. The late Dr. David Horrobin, a highly esteemed essential fatty acid researcher, speculated that heavier people may be suffering from a fatty acid deficiency. Dr. Horrobin was one of the original investigators who found that GLA was remarkably effective in promoting weight loss.

I personally have seen women and men benefit time and time again from the addition of omega fats to their weight loss plans. My recommendation is GLA-90, which contains GLA from black currant seed oil.

All too often, dieters on no-fat or low-fat plans will plateau after an initial weight loss. This can be a frustrating time for many—especially when they don’t understand why they are not continuing to lose weight at the same pace they were initially. What has occurred is a downshift in the metabolic rate. After a certain period of time on a low-fat, low-calorie diet, the body will recognize the new, lower caloric intake as its sustenance level (it may even think it is starving!) and will slow its metabolism to match the new, lower caloric intake.

Hair may become brittle, nails may crack, and skin may become dry and flaky, but the body will resist further weight loss. Additional weight loss is stymied because your body now operates at a more sluggish level—a level that may not be healthy, but one at which you need fewer calories to subsist.

The only way to activate the metabolism again is to convince your body that it is no longer starving. Along with providing it with adequate protein, it is crucial to supply the body with plenty of essential fatty acids.

My clients who were once frustrated over why they were no longer losing weight on their diet plans have raved about the rapid improvements they made after adding heat-producing spices—like cayenne—and metabolic-raising supplements—like GLA-90—to their diets. Energy returns, complexions clear, hair regains its shine, and weight loss resumes!

Resetting your metabolic rate and reigniting those brown fat-burning engines can put some real “fire” into your Independence Day celebrations—and the rest of your summer.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. cathy

    What timing! I am on Day 2 of the hot metabolism boost.This is exactly what my body has done.I have been faithful to my eating regime for years,done 3 weeks of body protein shakes in 2 sessions and still lost NO weight.As a wheelchair bound 57 yr old,I have gained on average of 3 pounds a year and now am fast with a seemingly monumental task.of loosing 60+ pounds.Testimonials shown on ALG’s website only make me sad.Of course Suzie Q can loose 20 lbs on shakedown since she is no longer eating junk.For someone who doesn’t over eat or eat junk,my results are slim to none.My body has learned to survive on so little hubby says I can live on air and sunshine.I need the protein to push myself around and so lean protein is my choice.I have calorie counted at 1000 for weeks,gone off wine for months,diet pepsi for months,taken flax oil,flax seed,gla,cla,prednolone,progestera cream,super cleanse,and more to no avail.My thyroid checks out fine,Apart from not being able to walk I have no health issues and take no meds .I am not insulin resistant or diabetic.I am sick of my FAT.This is not me.

  2. Suzanne

    I too can testify that even though you are faithfully following a healthy diet and exercising and still not losing weight. With those of us that are Thyroid deficient, diets such as the Caveman diet or the Paleo Diet do not result in weight loss for us.

  3. Amy

    Cathy –

    Bless your heart! It sounds like you are really trying. I hope this “spicy” eating plan helps you.


  4. Diana

    why do you recommend gla from black current? I currenty take gla from borage or evening primrose

  5. Administrator

    GLA from black currant seed oil is the best balanced GLA because black currant seed oil also contains Omega 3s unlike the others.

  6. Kathleen

    Hi Cathy,
    Hang in there. At 57, you’re also going through hormonal issues, which can make it hard for any woman trying to lose weight. Some Rx drugs can also make you retain water. Have you talked with your doctor about your symptoms and frustrations?

    Regardless, maybe try to switch your focus to one of strength and health. You can still build lean muscle in your wheelchair. Have your hubby pick up some light weights for you and start with a simple routine. Unless you have upper body weaknesses, you should be able to manage working your shoulders and arms. I think that as time goes by and you get stronger, you’ll feel happier. With more muscle, you’ll be firmer, stronger and you’ll also burn more calories each day!

    And as for health…lots of vegetables and salads. A little fruit, especially those that help prevent disease. Some green tea. Herbs on your salad and in your eggs and salad dressings. Make sure you get enough sleep, spend time doing fun things with the people you love, pray or meditate, listen to music, or knit, do crafts, whatever YOU enjoy, for stress relief and quiet time.

    Good luck, Cathy. Don’t give up!

    These things will help you feel better about yourself day by day! Only let positive thoughts dominate, Cathy!

  7. Susie

    Can you please tell us more about the cayenne benefits and how much to take?

  8. liz

    Tobasco, 3 gm is mentioned in a study with good results on the metabolism. I’ve taken cayenne and I think quantity and frequency is very individual. Larger people need to take more to have the same effect.

  9. Joellen

    I currently take CLA – and I also purchased the GLA. Question I have is, can they be taken at the same time or is there a recommended time to take the GLA or CLA for optimum effectiveness? Thanks so much!

  10. liz

    Yes you can take them at the same time, with your meals. They are both really helpful for super charged fat burning.

  11. beverlee

    I am allergic to cayenne what is an alternative?

  12. Sierra

    Beverlee, you should certainly use the GLA-90, and capsaicin can be found in other peppers, like bell peppers, if you can tolerate those. The highest concentration in in the white-ish, pithy part inside the bell peppers that hold the seeds in place. You can also use the other thermogenic spices that Dr. Ann Louise lists in her books the ‘Fat Flush Plan’ and ‘Fat Flush for Life’

  13. Melissa

    Can I take 1,000 mg of cla &gla at the same time in the am along with 800 mg of green bean coffee extract & 800 mg red rasberry ketone? And when would I take the 500 mg of acetyl l carnitine & 500 mg of glutamine & 1,000mg of fish oil? I was having bloating taking all at once.
    Please help. Thank you

    • liz

      It does sound like a lot to be taking together. I know you can take CLA, GLA and Fish Oil and the same time with no problem. You could start with that combination and then try adding each of the other supplements separately until you find a combination that works for you.

  14. Marty

    My 57 year old wife had her gall bladder removed in 2004 and had a hysterectomy in 2007. So, no hormones and severe IBS since then. Recommendations? There is not enough literature either in mainstream medicine or in the alternative literature for people with no gall bladders.


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