“Visceral” is a term for “deep” – it can refer to deep emotions, but it also refers to “deep” internal organs. You have visceral fat surrounding your organs to cushion them from shocks. This fat keeps the organs from bashing into and bruising each other. This fat is what we often call “belly fat”, but that can be confusing because your waistline is composed of both visceral fat and normal fat just under your skin. You can pinch together your under-skin (subcutaneous) fat but not your visceral fat – that’s one way to tell the difference.

Visceral fat is sometimes called “active fat”, because it does more than just acting as a fat storehouse. It also influences hormones in your body, producing inflammatory proteins. It affects insulin resistance, leading to diabetes, and can also increase risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, gallbladder issues, and cancer. You want some visceral fat, but not too much. If your belly hangs over your belt, you clearly have too much. But looks can be deceiving, because you can have a relatively flat tummy and still have too much visceral fat hiding in your abdomen.

The term “adipose tissue” refers to both types of fat. Throughout your body, your adipose tissue could be considered an organ, much like skin can be referred to as an organ, because both are active in metabolism. Your adipose tissue is a major endocrine organ as it produces hormones such as leptin and resistin, as well as cytokines (immune system attack cells) such as TNF-? and IL-6. But the adipocytes (fat cells) in visceral fat are actually different from the adipocytes in subcutaneous fat, because visceral fat cells have a have a wide variety of inflammatory cells, which, in turn, make many types of cytokines (TNF-alpha, interleukin-6, interleukin-13, interleukin-18, etc). This is why visceral fat is considered more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, having the higher concentration of inflammatory components.

Well organ-ized

When you realize fat isn’t just an energy storage facility — that it is essentially an organ that ties in with your immune system — you realize that fat management is important as is caring for your heart, liver, kidneys, or any other organ. If you handle fat badly, it becomes a toxic landfill that is constantly inflaming your body. Handled well, it not only provides energy and insulation, but also aids your immune system. Adipose tissue contains nerve cells and blood vessels, actively communicating through hormone signals with other organs throughout your body as part of your endocrine system. It also can squirrel away toxins which otherwise might overwhelm your body; this is both a positive and negative, because the toxins that it parks away before they damage your body will have to be dumped eventually.

So how do you treat your fat tissue organ well? Basically, like any organ, don’t overload it, either with calories that it then needs to store, or with toxins that it stores to prevent toxic overload and keep you alive. Sadly in modern society, we usually overload it both ways. We then blame unwanted weight gain on too much food, which is partially correct because excess sugar is converted to fat and stared in fat tissue, but we don’t think about the toxic aspect. If you go on a crash diet to lose weight, those toxins are released too quickly and you will at least feel sick, if not actually do damage to your health. Your body will attempt to resist overly fast toxic dumping into your body, so it will fight your rapid weight loss efforts because of the toxic overload danger. Now your crash diet is making you both tired and sick, making you ready to give up on the whole diet idea and just keep your extra weight.

If you seriously wish to lose weight and stay healthy in the process, simply shift your diet to the kind of food that will make all your organs, including your fat tissue, healthy and well nourished. Yes, calories matter — too many, if they are in the form of sugar or easily converted to sugar (thus driving up insulin levels) will trigger fat storage. But those calories are hallmarks of a bad diet. Most amino acids can be converted to sugar, so despite conventional wisdom that says more protein is a good weight loss diet, protein can also lead to unwanted weight gain. Toxic foods, whether due to food processing, additives, cooking denaturation of proteins, pesticides, or especially concentration of toxins that occur in animal bodies that we get when we eat animal products — these are certainly not treating your fat tissue organ well and will lead to weight gain.

Feedback

The interaction between fat tissue and the body is amazingly complex. As published in Cell Metabolism, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine conducted animal studies to explore a brain and fat tissue signaling connection which energizes the fat tissue to release energy in coordination with the brain to support the body’s energy needs and keep the fat tissue regulated. The brain, specifically the dorsomedial hypothalamus, produces a specific protein (Ppp1r17), which stimulates the central nervous system that then activates the fat tissue, releasing fatty acids which the body uses for fuel. The activated fat tissue releases another protein called eNAMPT, which then returns to the hypothalamus and aids its function. When this cycle is working properly, it forms a self-reinforcing feedback loop which keeps both brain and body healthier while keeping the fat buildup under control. In younger bodies, this feedback loop provides more energy while resisting excessive weight buildup. Unfortunately this feedback loop degenerates with age, resulting in lowered energy as less is released from the fat tissue and leads to hoarding of the energy in the fat tissue instead. In the study, the researchers were able to keep this feedback loop active even in aged animals, and they were more active, slimmer, and lived longer than control group animals. Essentially, they were keeping the fat burning mechanism running when it would normally degenerate, and the animals had, on average, a 7% longer lifespan as a result.

Since this feedback loop becomes less effective with age, it is all the more important to invoke the fat burning mechanism by other means. The young are naturally better fat burners, and older folks have to work at it a bit harder. This is where diet comes in. Without better diet management, older people will lose energy, gain weight — belly fat in particular — and risk a number of diseases. Fat is very effective as energy storage — so much so that a fasting person can get a full day’s energy needs on less than one pound of fat — but that is useless unless the body goes into fat burning mode.

There are three basic forms of energy metabolism: sugar, protein, and fat. These mechanisms are different, and fat burning is the only one that does not lead to fat storage. The easiest metabolism is sugar, including simple carbohydrates that break down readily into sugar, so the body will choose that metabolism first. Running on simple carbohydrates extracts energy very quickly, spikes insulin levels, and causes the excess to be stored as fat. Since much of protein can metabolize into sugar, protein can also result in fat storage, though the process is slower than sugar metabolism. When easier forms of fueling the body are not available, fat burning kicks in. Eating plenty of dietary fat is good training for this metabolism, and can help you become a fat burner. When you are in fat burning mode, your body won’t hesitate to take energy from your own fat storage. As the study showed, when the fat burning mechanism is working well, you have more energy, lose excess weight, and have greater health and longevity.

The study also pointed out one reason older people tend to gain weight and lose energy. A number of hormones change with age, and many lower energy levels and tendency to gain weight. That makes it so much more important to work on fat burning through diet, exercise, and proper rest as you age — poor lifestyle hits much harder with age. So while your natural fat burning processes are becoming less effective, you can compensate by pushing your body to utilize fat regularly.

Eat like an animal!

In the wild, animals don’t generally get fat even into old age. Admittedly less live to old age in the wild due to fierce competition, but when they do they are generally lean, trim, and vigorous. What do they eat? Raw, living food. Animals never discovered fire, and they certainly don’t have food processing facilities. They eat what is alive. They also keep moving. They don’t often get excess calories. This works for humans too: a study published in the American Journal of Medicine points to the Mediterranean Diet as being very effective in sustaining weight loss over time (more than a year). And research has advanced further: the Green Mediterranean Diet has been shown in recent studies to be twice as health-promoting as the traditional version by substituting a greater proportion of green plants for animal products. The progress that the Mediterranean Diet makes towards being plant based, when advanced even further, only enhances the power of this diet, even more like the animals eat!

What diet failed in comparison in this study? The low-fat diet. This study makes sense when you consider that the Mediterranean Diet, and even more so the Green Mediterranean Diet, is very plant-based, including plant fats such as avocados. When you eat raw plants, you are not eating that many calories (unless you go for high glycemic fruit) but you are getting tremendous levels of nutrition. When you eat plant fats, you avoid the toxins that are in animal fats. But you do more than that…

When you have a high fat diet, you are training your body to get used to deriving its metabolism from fat burning. That makes it an easier shift to burning your own fat stores. Then, at times when your caloric intake is lower than your energy usage, your metabolism kicks into pulling reserve fuel from your own fat — it has become second nature to your body. You’ve trained yourself to be a fat burner!

Finally, the visceral fat that is particularly dangerous — it burns well. It is considered easier to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is so active. So if you eat well and exercise, you can lose that belly. Growing older can still be done gracefully, if you compensate for the loss of metabolism with an improved diet and lifestyle!

 

Dr. Nemec’s Review

When your brain is balanced, your brain knows best as this research published in Cell Metabolism shows: healthy, balanced hypothalamus cells in the brain regulate your lifespan and level of aging at the dorsal medial hypothalamus, producing a Ppp1r17 signaling protein that actually turns on a fat burning metabolism while decreasing hunger and overeating. When this metabolism is turned on your aging decreases, your lifespan increases, and your brain health increases. This is all because the fat burning metabolism is supported, and activated by normal, balanced brain cell function, thus producing an anti-inflammatory effect, not only in the brain, but throughout the entire body.

Most people have inflammatory brains, because of their inflammatory high carbohydrate and high protein diets. Even the high animal fat diet has inflammatory factors and is a storage vessel of chemicals and toxins.

So what’s the most important message?

A healthy brain always supports a fat burning metabolism for anti-aging and longevity, and the best fats to promote this are living and raw plant fats because they have the highest energy content, the highest amount of enzymes, and zero chemicals and toxins — because chemicals and toxins only store in animal fat, they do not store in plant fat.

So let us review this one more time. There are three macronutrients that are primary in your diet: they are carbohydrates, proteins or fats. This study published in Cell Metabolism is one of hundreds of thousands of studies that confirm fat burning is the ideal fuel for the human brain cell along with all the cells of the body.

When you eat any animal fat of any type you are eating up the food chain. Our world has become a chemical and toxic wasteland. The worldwide chemical levels have multiplied beyond comprehension since 1900. When you look at a list of toxic chemicals in the year 1900 there were approximately 50 on the list, and none of them looked like a chemistry set because the chemical revolution had not really started. If you look at the same list in 2024, there would be hundreds of thousands of toxic chemicals on that list, bare minimum, and the majority of them are just chemical formulas of chemicals that have been added into the environment — either sprayed on food, put into the soil, released into the air or into the water. With this amount of toxic chemicals, circulating throughout the world, when animals eat food or drinks water they take in these toxic chemicals. To prevent them from doing damage to the animal, it stores these chemicals and toxins in fat cells. So, for example, which fish have the highest mercury content? The answer is the bigger the fish, the more it’s eating up the food chain and the more concentrated the toxins, so tiny little fish in the ocean have much less mercury than tuna, which is a much larger fish.

How to avoid all chemicals and toxins?

Eat organic plants and especially plant fats like living seeds, living nuts, and avocados.

So the key in longevity is to eat living raw plant-based food with a very low glycemic index so as to keep the sugar content low along with high consumption of living and raw plant fats.

So in summary, we want to eat a diet low in carbohydrates, except for complex carbohydrates in low glycemic raw vegetables and raw greens and high in living raw plant fats. This diet will maximize your brain function, increase your quality of life, increase your quantity of life, and increase your energy of life.

Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:

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