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Nutritional Concepts Mid-Week Brief
November 12, 2014
Dear Valued Subscriber,

Did you know the average breakfast for a three year-old in Japan can be a combination of the fermented soybean dish natto, white rice, miso soup, kabocha squash, pickled cucumber, rolled egg omelet, and grilled salmon?


Have a happy, healthy week. Bonnie and Steve Minsky

Turn White Fat Into Brown Fat
Steve: Increased food intake and reduced physical activity have contributed to a shift in energy balance, resulting in excess energy storage in the white adipose (fat) tissue depots (WAT). In contrast to WAT, brown adipose (fat) tissue (BAT) converts excess energy into heat. Thus, an attractive and relatively new strategy to reduce energy storage is to increase the levels of brown fat cell activity.


WAT depots are capable of great plasticity. In response to cold exposure or genetic modifications, white fat cells can be induced to exhibit brown fat cell-like character. These cells are known as "brite" (for brown-in-white) or "beige" adipocytes (fat cells). Additionally, treatment with metabolites, such as bile acids, prostaglandins, and retinoids, promotes the browning of WAT.


In the most recent issue of journal Diabetes, researchers also identified lactate as a new WAT browning factor. Lactate (lactic acid) is well-known for being generated in high amounts in skeletal muscle during periods of intense physical activity. This is the chemical that often makes us succumb to fatigue and makes us sore during after physical activity. WAT cells exposed to cold for 24 hours to trigger thermogenesis increased circulating lactate levels.


In conclusion, if you eliminate the "scientific speak" from the study, the takeaways are:

  1. You can make your white fat cells work like energy-burning brown fat cells by simply increasing your physical activity to the point where you are producing lactic acid.
  2. While not as palatable an option, being cold makes your white fat cells work harder to keep your body temperature optimal.
  3. An added bonus the researchers did not mention: Detoxification. White adipocytes increase in size not just from excess energy intake from food, but overabundant toxins that you cannot excrete through conventional means. White fat cells grow larger in order to encapsulate toxins. When your fat cells shrink, they release the toxins gradually so you can excrete them from the body easier.
How Everything Can Hurt By Doing Nothing

Most of us can probably recall a time when our backs ached or our heads pounded after a tough day at the office, but sometimes the cause of the pain isn't so obvious.


This article is for NCI Well Connect subscribers.


Don't Abandon Fitness Because of the Weather

Steve: The weather for much of the country turns cold from November to March. Unfortunately, as the weather turns, so do our fitness regimens. There is no reason you cannot keep sharp, remain fit, and maintain your weight through winter. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you don't like the gym, use the outdoors! There are clothes that exist for any kind of temperature that are not bulky and cumbersome. Running, walking, or biking is liberating in cold weather. And as we stated in the aforementioned article, your fat cells work harder when you're cold.
  • Look into November Project (, a free fitness group. They have tribes in major cities. Founded on the basis of staying in shape in New England winters. They use unorthodox ways to push fitness.
  • An indoor cross-training method that helps with the mind numbing effects of the treadmill: get a 45 minute cardio workout by doing 15 minutes on the treadmill, then jump to 15 on the elliptical ski machine, then jump to 15 on the stationary bike.
Time for an Immune System Reboot

We are constantly assaulted by substances that weaken our immune systems. Sometimes, we only have ourselves to blame with our lifestyle choices.


During fall and winter, we need to be on heightened alert to repel infection and prevent sickness. This is hard to accomplish when our immune systems are compromised. We could all use an Immune System Reboot!

Five simple steps to get your immune system going again. It only takes 15 minutes in-office or by phone.

  1. Free to current NCI Well Connect subscribers 
  2. $25 for non-Well Connect subscribers

Call 847-498-3422 or email to schedule your reboot!