The nutritionist Dr Jonny Bowden claims that some foods inflate fat cells, while others shrink fat cells. His promotional material talks about most people suffering carbohydrate intolerance and that most people who are fat are fat because of an allergic reaction to carbohydrates. He talks about glucagon and the "Fat burning switch" HSL being turned off by Insulin causing carbohydrates.

Specifically, Bowdens claims on Unleash Your Thin that foods such as pasta turn off your fat burning switch while foods such as organic beef turn on your fat burning switch and that his weight loss program will "Show you exactly WHAT foods to eat and which to AVOID..." and how to "Dissolve body fat everywhere...".

It all feels to me like bad science, yet another fad diet with a rather expensive (but heavily discounted, to promote it) programme. But I would prefer to know if there is a scientific basis to these claims before I dismiss it entirely.

So, is there any scientific evidence to support the claims of fat-burning foods?

  • 4
    Could you please add a direct quote of the claim? I'm a bit confused about what the exact claim is.
    – Mad Scientist
    Jun 23, 2013 at 13:05
  • 1
    It sounds like some of these phrases are an attempt to turn well-understood and sound scientific ideas into something understandable by the general reader. For example, "foods such as pasta turn off your fat burning switch." Pasta has a high glycemic index and hence almost instantly provides a huge glucose rush to your bloodstream which causes an insulin release, and the way insulin works is to prevent you from burning fat so that you burn off the excess glucose. On the other hand, I'm skeptical that there are foods that directly cause fat burning.
    – Matt
    Jun 23, 2013 at 23:07
  • Its certainly true that your body will not metabolise fats from fat cells while you have a high blood sugar level. That's not supporting fat burning foods, but that there are foods which inhibit fat burning.
    – Nick
    Jun 24, 2013 at 14:29
  • Things like caffine, L-carnitine, Green tea and cayenne pepper can burn fat.
    – zeddex
    Oct 17, 2016 at 14:40


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