The slim-stimulating effects of bitters may be the world’s best-kept secret—but I’m letting you in on it in my new Radical Metabolism Plan! If you aren’t losing the weight you want to, then it’s time for a radical change. Bitter foods like coffee, cacao, cabbage, ginger, and dozens more, stimulate the liver, promote better bile flow, and boost your fat-burning metabolism, all of which are key components of losing weight and getting healthy. Bitter foods are a big deal! So why aren’t we eating them, and what has taken us so long to discover their vital role in weight loss? The answers to these questions came during the “aha!” moments that led to my new book, “Radical Metabolism.” This radical new approach to weight loss and getting healthy helped me overcome the final hurdle to having the body I wanted to see when I look in the mirror — I finally lost that tummy pooch that I’d had since menopause! If your metabolism is stalled and you crave sweets, your energy is flagging, and those extra pounds just won’t budge despite your best dieting efforts, then it’s time for a radical change to Radical Metabolism — and it starts with bitters.
Bitter — Why Didn’t I Think Of That?
You’re born with roughly 9000 taste buds that distinguish between five main flavors — sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami — or savory. Have you ever wondered why you are more drawn to sweet, salty, and umami foods and shy away from bitter or sour foods? That’s easy — survival. Sweet, salty, and savory (umami) are tastes associated with foods that are fresh, rich in nutrients and protein. On the other hand, sour and bitter foods are associated with foods that have spoiled or plants that are poisonous.
We have a natural aversion to bitter foods for survival’s sake — but there’s more to bitters than what meets the eye. While most flavors can be discerned all over the tongue, the back of the tongue is reserved for bitter only, so we can detect poisons and spit them out before it’s too late. However, bitter taste isn’t reserved just for poisons — it’s actually the most complex of the flavors. We have 35 different proteins in our sensory cells that respond to bitter foods and help us discern between friend and foe within this taste category. Why? Because bitter foods are some of the most powerful healers and important for our bodies when we need to detox and absorb nutrients.
What Bitter Foods Do For You
Bitter foods like coffee, cacao, watercress, arugula, cabbage, orange peel, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and more, boost bile flow, which is critical for detox, thyroid function, digestion, and even suppressing sugar cravings. Bile is a big deal; it’s been called “liquid gold” because of how valuable it is to your body. But there’s more to bitters than just bile building.
Here’s How Bitters Work For Weight Loss:
Bitters build better bile and boost your fat-burning metabolism. Bile is an emulsifying, soap-like substance that plays a key role in fat metabolism. The quantity and quality of bile you produce is essential to your health and your ability to lose weight. Bile should be thin, golden, and flow freely, and your liver should make a quart a day of this precious substance. Problems come when bile becomes toxic sludge and stops flowing freely, from toxin overload, clogged bile ducts, elevated blood sugar, excess cholesterol, and not enough to nutrients to create it.
Did Paleo or Keto leave you feeling tired and bloated? It’s likely bile quality is to blame. When bile is toxic, congested, and not flowing freely, you can’t metabolize fats properly, and it isn’t long before you’re bloated, tired, and craving sugars because you can’t digest those healthy fats.
The good news is bitters make it better! Bitters boost bile production, and more bile means better fat digestion and absorption. Bitters rev up your fat-burning metabolism and your body processes more fat — which means storing less of it.
Studies show healthy bile also reduces insulin resistance, which is essential for weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. One additional note: Normally, the gallbladder regulates the flow of bile, but if yours is causing you pain and nausea, or has been removed, you may need help to boost your bile flow. This is what I created my Bile Builder for, and it works well in combination with bitter foods to get your fat burning metabolism back on track and digestion working optimally.
Bitter foods support your liver health. As the body’s prime detoxification organ, the liver takes an enormous beating from today’s toxic world. Many foods and lifestyle factors, such as refined sugars and grains, unhealthy fats like processed vegetable oils, too little fiber, too much alcohol and caffeine, medications, emotional stress, heavy metals and toxic chemicals in the air, water, and food, are all quite hard on the liver.
The most prevalent liver disease today is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver. This is a sign the liver has stopped processing fat and storing it. If your liver is sluggish, every organ in your body is affected and your weight loss efforts will be stalled from multiple angles. A fatty liver is a toxic liver. Because bitter foods increase bile production, your liver health will improve. Bile plays a major role in detoxifying your liver — it flushes out all the toxins your liver collects and can’t process. Without enough bile, these toxins get stored in fat cells and promote cellulite by increasing body fat and reducing collagen formation. Like a magnet, bile grabs onto whatever the liver needs to get rid of — heavy metals, drugs, toxic chemicals, food preservatives, pesticides, flame-retardants, and more — and carries it through the colon to be eliminated.
Bitter foods boost thyroid function. Essential fats from your diet supply your body with the raw materials needed to make thyroid hormones. If you’re not absorbing fats, you can’t make thyroid hormones. Once you have a thyroid problem, like hypothyroidism, it slows the emptying of the biliary tract, which increases your risk for gallstone formation. It also slows metabolism and causes weight gain.
The good news is bile acids boost thyroid activity. So when those bitter foods produce better bile flow, they’re also improving your thyroid function! According to thyroid specialist Dr. Antonio Blanco, bile release triggers your body to convert T4 (your body’s less active thyroid hormone) to T3 (the more active form), which fuels metabolism. He found individuals who improved their bile experienced a whopping 53 percent increase in metabolism, which breaks through the weight loss barrier!
Bitters improve digestion and absorption. Bitter foods get your digestive juices flowing by stimulating the release of saliva, stomach acid (HCl), pepsin, gastrin, pancreatic enzymes, and of course, bile. It’s basically a downstream cascade that happens once bitter flavors are introduced to the tongue. What happens when this cascade is triggered is a balanced release over time of these essential fluids, and proper breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for optimal nutrient absorption. For this purpose, bitters need only be introduced in small amounts, and may not even need to be swallowed to be effective.
Bitters reduce acid reflux, GERD, and constipation. Bitters relieve reflux by increasing the tone of your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and “priming the pump” for optimal stomach acid levels, by inducing the digestive juices cascade that begins with the taste being detected on the tongue. Once this cascade results in better bile production, this intestinal lubricant relieves constipation and promotes healthy elimination.
Bitters feed “skinny bugs” and reduce the populations of “bad bugs.” Bitter foods, especially naturally fermented, unpasteurized vegetables like sauerkraut from cabbage, are acidic and loaded with gut-friendly microbes, increasing the numbers of bacteria that help with weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight, and decreasing the numbers of “fat bacteria.” The presence of even one strain of bacteria known to cause weight gain is enough to shift your entire microbiome and cause you to pack on the pounds. Bitters help rebalance the microbiome with intestinal flora in your favor.
Another function of bile is to reduce the populations of unhealthy bacteria, fungi and parasites. When bile is thin and free-flowing, it’s also acidic, and balances the pH of the intestines in a way that is unfavorable to “bad bugs.” Just the presence of enough healthy bile is all it takes to kill off many foreign invaders that would set up shop in your liver and intestines and cause harm to your health.
Bitter foods suppress sugar cravings. This is a well-known principle in Ayurvedic medicine. Different flavors of foods hold different healing attributes, and one way bitters are used is to balance a meal and suppress sugar cravings.
Bringing Back Bitters Means You Can Have Your Coffee and Chocolate and Lose Weight, Too!
Coffee and cacao are loaded with bitters and antioxidants, and when consumed in moderation, they can enhance your weight loss efforts and support your overall health — and this is why they’re part of my Radical Metabolism plan!
Coffee is a powerhouse superfood packed with antioxidants. Did you know women who drink coffee have lower death rates from cardiovascular disease? It’s true! The latest scientific research also shows that coffee drinkers have fewer digestive issues and lower rates of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and liver cancer. Coffee drinkers also have healthier brains and tend to live longer! Now, when I say coffee, what I mean is pure, anti-oxidant rich brands brewed at home like Purity Coffee, not sugar-laden drinks from your favorite coffee drive-thru. And have I got good news for you! When you order your copy of my new “Radical Metabolism,” there’s a special surprise included in the free gifts you get — just for you from Purity Coffee.
Cacao, the purest form of chocolate, has 20 times more antioxidant power than blueberries, making it a true superfood. Cacao helps cleanse and restore health at the cellular level. It also boosts your body’s serotonin levels, making you feel content, and when it comes to eating, you feel full faster. Notice here, the form of chocolate that has the health and weight loss benefits you’re looking for is pure cacao, not milk chocolate or other sugar-laden choices. When it comes to your health, don’t compromise!
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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.
Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.