Book ‘Fast Burn!’ by Ian K. Smith M.D.

Read excerpt from 'Fast Burn!: The Power of Negative Energy Balance' by Ian K. Smith M.D.
The Power of Negative Energy Balance
A motivational diet plan to blast fat―and keep it off―by Ian K. Smith, M.D., the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Clean & Lean. New York Times bestselling authorand new anchor host of the syndicated television show The DoctorsIan K. Smith, M.D.’s unique new plan takes intermittent fasting to the next level, combining the power of time-restricted eating with a detailed program that flips the body into a negative energy state, scorching fat on the way to weight loss and physical transformation...
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 13, 2021)  Hardcover: 368 pages  ISBN-10: 1250271584  ISBN-13: 978-1250271587  Dimensions: 6.38 x 1.25 x 9.59 inches

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Book excerpt

A Note from the Author

Throughout my career, I have learned a lot more than I have taught. One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned has been that regardless of how great a diet plan might be or how effective it has been for a large number of people, there’s no one diet plan that fits everyone. All of us lose weight differently, and we respond differently to the methods and strategies that are designed to help us get rid of those unwanted pounds.

Over the last year I received a significant amount of feedback from people who come from all walks of life. They had experienced varying degrees of weight loss success following a broad array of programs. If I had to rank the queries by frequency, the two most common questions had to do with the most effective strategies to burn fat and how these results could be achieved quickly. I decided to go back to school and look more intensely at the physiology of fat—how it grows and how it shrinks. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the relationship between the fat we eat and the fat that appears underneath our skin, around our organs, and other highly visible areas we would prefer it not exist. I then looked at some of the latest research to see if it was possible to better attack our body fat and to do so in a way that wouldn’t make this mission take the better part of a year to accomplish.

FAST BURN is the accumulation—the culmination—of what I discovered. I’ve taken what can be complicated science and distilled it into a nine-week plan that offers you a chance to reach your goals (presuming they’re reasonable) in a relatively accelerated time frame safely and without going to extremes. I’ve provided as much flexibility as I can, but there is still a need to have some structure so that the basic tenets of weight loss remain intact and help deliver the results many are so desperate to achieve. It’s very possible that after completing these nine weeks, you decide to adopt this style of eating for the rest of your life. It’s not that you will be obligated to follow a specific regimen, but you will take those aspects of the program that worked best for you and make them a permanent routine in your eating style. You will experience real change over these nine weeks, changes that I hope will not be temporary, but rather sustainable and long term. If you believe in yourself first, then believe in the plan, and then put in the work, you will find that at the end of nine weeks, you are a different person physically and mentally than you were when you began the journey. There’s one tenet of all diet plans that continues to stand the test of time. You get out of it what you put into it. Work hard. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And have fun. FAST BURN is a plan built in a way that you can follow for life!

Ian K. Smith, M.D.
April 2021


On the publication of this, my twentieth book, there are many people who have ardently supported my work. Thousands of people have joined my online Facebook challenges and my admins Beverly, Felicia, Sandra, and Rosemary have helped guide them. They tested various portions of the program and reported their results and gave me suggestions to enhance the plan and improve it to what you see today. Thanks to my long-time editor Elizabeth Beier who knows my cadence and helps my ideas and voice reach new heights. Hannah Phillips, thanks for keeping the trains on the track and running on time. I appreciate you. Thanks to my good friend and terrible golfer, Steve Cohen, the reason why I found St. Martin’s Press so many years ago and one of the big reasons why I still continue to publish there. John Karle, Brant Janeway, Erica Martirano, Laura Clark, Jen Enderlin, and the rest of the St. Martin’s team—you guys rock and work hard to make my words sing. John Sargent, thanks for being a great Big Boss and protecting and nourishing and supporting all of those at Macmillan who were lucky to work with you. If only other CEOs could duplicate even some of what you’ve done and how you’ve comported yourself over all these years with grace, dignity, and humanity. I look forward to your next chapter. You have made publishing a lot of fun for me! And, of course, my personal team that gives me all the reasons in the world to do what I do and to be happy while doing it: Tristé, Dashiell, and Declan. You guys know where my heart lives. I love you!

The Fat Truth

There’s a really good reason why we have a love-hate relationship with fat. We love the way it tastes, but we despise what too much of it can do to the appearance of our body. We enjoy that fatty piece of ribeye and those French fries and creamy alfredo sauce, because the fat we consume tastes good and triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in our brains that brings us a sense of satisfaction and pleasure. But on the other side of the equation, fat that we consume, as well as excess calories that we don’t burn off, increase the amount of body fat that is stored under our skin and around our vital organs. Excess fat and calories inconveniently find their way into our abdomen, causing an unwanted protrusion, or on the back of our arms or underneath our chins. We have a schizophrenic relationship with fat—we want it, but then we don’t want it. You’re reading this book because you want to know how to get rid of all that unwanted fat that’s making your clothes fit too tight or has you contemplating how different you might look after a session of liposuction, or maybe it’s causing your insulin hormone to not function well, and thus your blood sugars are high. All of these scenarios and others prompt us to want significant change, but before we talk about burning the fat, let’s get a quick understanding of what it is and why we actually need it—at least some of it, in appropriate amounts.

What Is Fat? Fat:

you know it when you see it. Whether it’s the rim around a pork chop or the streaks running through a steak or the dimpling you can see under a tight dress—fat is everywhere. Fat is considered one of the three macronutrients—nutrients our bodies need to ingest in large supplies for us to survive. (The other two macros are carbohydrates and proteins.) Fat is critical for our bodies to function normally, and without it, we simply couldn’t live. It’s found not just underneath our skin (subcutaneous) and in our abdomens, but also in the cells in our brains and throughout the rest of our bodies, and around our vital organs (visceral fat). Some of this fat we are born with, but a lot of it we gather from the foods we eat. So let’s take a look at the fat we’re putting into our mouth.

Dietary Fat

  • four major types of fats that are found in our food—saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans
  • chemical structures and physical properties are different, and tend to be divided between good fats and bad fats
  • good fats are the monounsaturated and the polyunsaturated
  • bad fats are the saturated and trans

The unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. They are predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as in fish. Think about the key ingredients you typically see in a Mediterranean diet. Unsaturated fats are considered good fats, because of their benefits, which include improving blood cholesterol levels (they lower the risk of heart disease and stroke), stabilizing heart rhythms, easing inflammation, and possibly lowering one’s risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Unsaturated fats are further divided into two groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The difference between the two is in their chemical structures. Without getting too scientific, both contain the same atoms—carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen—but how those atoms are arranged makes a difference. Monounsaturated fats contain only one double bond in its structure, while polyunsaturated fats contain two or more double bonds.

Good Sources of Monounsaturated Fats

  • Cooking oils made from plants such as olive, peanut, soybean, sunflower, and canola
  • Avocados
  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts, and pecans
  • Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame

Generally speaking, the more unsaturated a fat is, the better it is for your health. So, poly- (multiple) unsaturated fats are better than mono- (single) unsaturated, but both are drastically more beneficial than the saturated fats that we’ll discuss shortly. Some oils, like canola, contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Most people don’t consume enough healthful unsaturated fats. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, 8 to 10 percent of our daily calories should come from polyunsaturated fats. More evidence suggests that eating as much as 15 percent of daily calories in the form of polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat can lower one’s risk for heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids are the most “famous” of the polyunsaturated fats. They are considered “essential fats” because our bodies are unable to make them, so we must consume them in our food. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation, help with normal brain development and function, reduce symptoms of depression, improve heart health, decrease liver fat, prevent dementia, reduce asthma symptoms, and improve bone health, as well as reduce weight and waist size. Good sources of these fats are oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring, as well as oysters, sardines, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating at least two portions of oily fish per week to get sufficient amounts of the healthful omega-3 fats.

Good Sources of Polyunsaturated Fats

  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Oils such as flax, corn, soybean, grapeseed, and safflower
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, and albacore tuna

Saturated fats are quite different from unsaturated fats both in structure and impact on our health. From a chemical standpoint, these fats don’t have any double bonds between their carbon molecules. This means they are saturated with hydrogen molecules, thus the term “saturated fats.” Unlike unsaturated fats, saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature.

The saturated fats have long been considered a “bad” fat, because they raise the LDL cholesterol (the bad type) in the body, which in turn can put one at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Recently, there has been conflicting data and messages about how bad saturated fats really are, but experts at the Harvard School of Public Health have deduced that cutting back on saturated fat can be good for health if people replace saturated fat with good fats, especially polyunsaturated fats. Evidence suggests that when someone eats good fats in place of the bad fats, they can lower the bad LDL cholesterol levels, which can ultimately lower the risk for heart disease.

While saturated fat is not the most healthful fat, it is still all right to have a small amount of it in your diet. The American Heart Association recommends that only 5 to 6 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. What exactly does this mean? If you eat 2,000 calories in a day, no more than 120 calories should come from saturated fat. To put this number in terms of grams, that would be equivalent to 13 grams. Saturated fats are a natural component in many foods, the majority coming mainly from animal sources that include meat and dairy products.

Common Sources of Saturated Fats

  • Fatty beef
  • Poultry with skin
  • Pork
  • Lamb
  • Cheese
  • Tropical oil (coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter)
  • Sour cream
  • Butter
  • Ice cream
  • Lard and cream
  • Other dairy products made from whole or 1 or 2% milk
  • Cookies and other grain-based desserts

Trans fatty acids , commonly referred to as trans fats, got their comeuppance a long time ago when scientists and public health advocates rang the alarm about the potential and unnecessary dangers they can impose on our health.

Trans Fatty Acids

  • Can be naturally occurring but are largely manufactured by companies.
  • Are artificially synthesized via a process called hydrogenation: heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst (something that expedites the process). This process basically converts the oil into a solid, and thus you have a “partially hydrogenated” vegetable oil, which is more stable and less likely to spoil and become rancid.
  • Margarine and shortening are the best examples of what trans fats look like in your kitchen.
  • Partially hydrogenated oils became a favorite of the food industry because they’re less likely to spoil and can withstand repeated heating without breaking down, thus making them ideal for frying fast foods.
  • Trans fats flooded the market and could be found everywhere, including fried foods, processed snack foods, and baked goods.
  • Dangers of trans fats:
    • They are the worst type of fat for the heart, blood vessels, and rest of the body.
    • They wreak internal havoc, including raising the bad LDL cholesterol and simultaneously lowering the good HDL cholesterol.
    • They increase inflammation.
    • They contribute to insulin resistance
    (make the insulin hormone less effective).
    • They damage the inner lining
    (endothelium) of blood vessels.

Not all trans fats are artificial. A relatively small amount occur naturally, and they are called ruminant trans fats, because they are found in meat and dairy that come from ruminant animals such as cattle, goats, and sheep. When ruminant animals eat grass, bacteria in their stomachs help digest the grass, and a byproduct of this process is the formation of trans fats. Natural trans fats come in modest amounts—2 to 6 percent of the fat in dairy products and 3 to 9 percent of the fat in certain cuts of lamb and beef. These trans fats that most of us consume from normal meat and dairy consumption should not be concerning, as studies have shown that moderate intake of these fats doesn’t appear to be harmful. However, when it comes to the artificial trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oil or fat, consumer beware. These are hazardous to your health. International expert groups and public health authorities have recommended that we keep our trans fat consumption to less than 1 percent of our total energy intake. So, if you’re consuming a 2,000-calorie diet, this is about 20 calories or 2 grams per day.

Look on the back of the food label and check to see if it contains trans fats. You should be aware that manufacturers use multiple terms to describe trans fats that can be confusing to the consumer. Make sure you look for these terms: trans fats, trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oil, and partially hydrogenated oils. If you see any of these terms, put the product back on the shelf and look for a similar product or different brand that doesn’t contain any trans fats. There are plenty of companies that thankfully have altered their manufacturing processes and have significantly reduced or eliminated trans fats from their products. It’s become such an important issue that many labels will clearly state right on the front of the package either 0g Trans Fats, No Trans Fats, or Trans Fat Free.

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