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How to Lose Fat with Science-Based Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #21

How to Lose Fat with Science-Based Tools | Huberman Lab Podcast #21

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.

#HubermanLab #FatLoss #Science

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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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  1. I am 57 and have been trying to follow what you say and to incorporate suggested foods and exercise into my everyday, but my weight is staying the same. What am I doing wrong?

  2. when learning about respiratory in relationship to neo nates we learned that the shiver was for generating warmth , which makes sense that this generates fat loss ( burning energy)

  3. For me, it's your delivery. You are so well spoken and your form of delivering information that is normally seen as difficult to comprehend by many others is just so enigmatic to me. I retain your podcasts so well (I do mentally prep to give you my undivided attention). Your episodes on sleep were so helpful to me. I love you. Thank you. ❤️🙏

    I'm getting ready to go back to school and I'm deeply afraid of not succeeding like before I had to drop out due to external circumstances. Have you published/released anything on optimal performance habits for school that cover retaining information for testing, efficient strategies for before, during, and after class, etc etc?

  4. So crass to see this PhD advertising supplements and pushing products. The man is becoming a salesman, a persuader, pushing ideas and products, a media star who wants attention and money. This tendency greatly diminishes his credibility to me.

  5. Fidgiting sounds legit. I am wondering If one can learn to unconsciously make this kind of movements and if sitting on the balancing ball at the desk can be the same.

  6. Feel so privileged to be able to listen to you sharing of your unbelievable knowledge, simply mind blowing. Wish my teachers were any where near as good as you, I would been the doctor my parent wanted me to be. At least i'm learning and nerding out on how to take care of myself. Thank you!

  7. "If you ingest more calories than you burn you'll either maintain or gain weight. Typically you'll gain weight, although not always"

    Are you talking about inefficient nutrient absorption here?

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