Dr. Perricone Discusses

Secrets to Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Acheive and maintain a healthy weight with nutrition and lifestyle tips from Dr. Perricone.


When it comes to losing weight, my patients often ask me if there is a magic bullet to help them get started. My research has shown that the omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA's) more than qualify for that title.

Obesity and unwanted weight gain are the result of an inflammatory condition caused by eating pro-inflammatory foods. These foods contribute to chronically high levels insulin. And we know that high levels of insulin are pro-inflammatory; this is one of the reasons people gain excess weight and cannot seem to lose it when they diet. High levels of insulin put a 'lock' on body fat.

These high levels of insulin also result in insensitivity to the insulin. Excess insulin continues to be released into the blood stream, resulting in the storage of fat.

The essential fatty acids (EFA's) have an important effect on insulin levels. When we add omega-3 essential fatty acids to our diets, we begin to "sensitize" our cells to insulin. The correct balance of dietary EFAs enable the insulin receptors to respond to even small amounts of insulin, helping us to maintain healthy blood sugar levels while ensuring an adequate uptake of glucose and amino acids into cells. This enables our bodies to build muscle and minimize fat storage.

Remember, we are not just talking about weight loss and what our scales say. The goal is to lose body fat and not muscle mass, which is why the anti-inflammatory lifestyle of diet and nutritional supplements is the cornerstone to any successful weight loss.

As soon as you begin taking in omega-3s (from foods and/or supplements), they will start exerting their anti-inflammatory effects. It does take time, however, which is why I recommend that you do not delay introducing the EFA's into your diet.

Enjoying a meal of salmon and other cold water fish once a day, adding chia seeds to your smoothie in the morning and taking fish oil supplements daily will help you to achieve the healthy loss of fat while preserving the muscle.

I recommend that you increase your intake of omega-3 (through foods and supplements and decrease your intake of pro-inflammatory high glycemic carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and saturated fats (found in most fried foods, full fat dairy products, and meat unless it is 100% grass-fed beef or lamb.

This simple increase/decrease formula will not only improve your overall health and nourish nourishing the skin, hair, mucous membranes, nerves, and glands. This formula will also help to prevent cardiovascular disease and will inhibit the conversion of calories into body fat. In addition, as described above, these essential fats encourage the body to burn calories as body heat and increase its sensitivity to insulin, thereby preventing storage of body fat and reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity.

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