Yellow fat makes you look soft, flabby, and old before your time, says James R. Lyons, MD, a plastic surgeon and author of The Brown Fat Revolution. Brown fat is the good, healthy fat that keeps your body firm and youthful, he says.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
You can eat many types of foods. Carbs can include whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals; breads made with unbleached white flour; starchy vegetables; and high-carb fruits. You can also eat fresh and lean protein and unsaturated fats.
Caffeine and a daily glass of wine are also OK. But you avoid processed foods, artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and preservatives.
Lyons also recommends taking a daily vitamin-mineral supplement.
Level of Effort: Medium
You’ll eat more often than you’re probably used to, but it will be the right kind of food.
Limitations: There aren't a lot of limitations in terms of what you can eat, but you do have to eat often.
Cooking and shopping: You cook meals from scratch. This may save you money on precooked or processed foods.
Packaged foods or meals: No.
In-person meetings: No.
Exercise: The plan includes several workouts for your core, and you do only a few each day, and not every day. They shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.
Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?
Yes. The eating plan includes a wide variety of foods.
Vegetarians and vegans: Vegetarian and vegan options are included.
What Else You Should Know
Support: Lyons’s blog offers tips, and you can sign up for his mailing list on the Brown Fat Revolution web site.
What Dr. Melinda Ratini Says:
Does It Work?
The Brown Fat Revolution focuses on changing “bad” yellow fat into “good” brown fat.
While some studies have shown that a 12-week exercise program caused a browning of some body fat, there have been no direct studies on this plan to see if it could lead to weight loss and improved health in only 4 weeks.
There are also no studies showing that building brown fat improves your appearance. Nor has alternating days of eating proteins and carbs been scientifically proven to be an effective weight loss strategy.
While there’s no research to back up the idea that eating small meals frequently throughout the day can lead to weight loss, following this schedule with portion-controlled, healthy foods should help you shed unwanted pounds.
And because this diet shuns many foods that contain empty calories, you should lose weight as long as you don’t give into too much temptation on your “free” day each week.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
The fact that this diet plan alternates between eating proteins and carbs may be a problem if you have diabetes. Your diabetes treatment plan would likely need to be changed to avoid blood sugar levels that are too high or too low. Talk to your doctor or dietitian before starting this diet.
Because you avoid processed foods, there’s a good chance that your diet will have less sodium. This could help prevent and manage high blood pressure and heart disease. Just be sure you’re not adding extra salt in your cooking.
If you have kidney disease or are on a low-protein diet, this may not be a good plan for you. The same is true if you have been told to follow a low-cholesterol diet. You will have to check with you doctor.
The Final Word
On the plus side, the Brown Fat Revolution Diet is flexible and allows you to select and cook your own food. There are not a lot of limitations and the cost is minimal.
But it will take time and effort for you to shop for and prepare multiple meals and snacks as well as fit in your exercise.
It may be tough for you to stick with this plan if you do not like to cook and you rely on a lot of processed foods.
This program does have an exercise component, but it falls short of the recommended 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise and two sessions of strength training a week. You may need to add on to their fitness plan to get the exercise you need.
The science behind the Brown Fat Revolution Diet is still evolving, and the claims of looking better and feeling better have yet to be proven. But it may be an option if you don’t have certain health conditions.