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Ultra-Metabolism by Mark Hyman MD

Updated on September 30, 2014

Ultrametabolism to Help with Weight Loss

In the book Ultrametabolism, Dr. Mark Hyman details some surprising facts about our bodies. First, our bodies want to store fat as a survival mechanism. It's in our DNA. Even though we carry around the same DNA codes as our ancestors, we are fat and they were not (generally).

He explains that so many of us are fat because the modern diet has changed so drastically to include processed foods. Our ancestors ate basically organic whole foods. They ate fresh vegetables, fruit, meat that was raised on a farm, whole grains.Their diet, without all the chemicals, and their lifestyle, which was more active, enabled them to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight.

The good news is that Dr. Hyman also explains what we can do to change how our bodies deal with food in easy-to-follow steps.

Photo Credit: agastecheg at SXC

7 Myths That Make You Gain Weight - Part I of Ultrametabolism

  1. Myth #1: Starving and Exercise Equals Weight Loss

    This practice doesn't work. When someone diets to an extreme, the body's metabolism slows down to hold on to the little food its getting.

  2. Myth #2: The Calorie Myth: All Calories Are Created Equal

    In fact, all calories are not created equal. Calories are units of energy. Different foods have different codes that talk to the body's DNA. Whole foods communicate best to tell our bodies to use the food efficiently and not store extra fat.

  3. Myth #3: The Fat Myth: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

    Our bodies and especially our brains need fat. Eating good fats (avocado, certain oils, nuts, seeds, for instance) increases our metabolism. We shouldn't eat trans fats, hydrogenated fats, or too many saturated fats (the bad saturated fats, that is).

  4. Myth #4: The Carb Myth: Eating Low Carb or No Carb Will Make You Thin

    Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy. The best carbs are found in whole plants and unprocessed foods. Unprocessed foods with carbs provide fiber, which helps the body lose weight.

  5. Myth #5: The Sumo Wrestler Myth: Skipping Meals Helps You Lose Weight

    Sumo wrestlers eat one big (huge) meal a day. And they're not thin. Neither will you be if you eat like one. It's important to eat breakfast, eat throughout the day, then stop eating 2 or 3 hours before bedtime.

  6. Myth #6: The French Paradox Myth: The French Are Thin Because They Drink Wine and Eat Butter

    These myths are false. They also eat whole foods (not processed foods), eat slower and enjoy their meals, eat less, and walk more in their daily lives.

  7. Myth #7: The Protector Myth: Government Policies and Food Industry Regulations Protect Our Health

    The government and food industries do not promote good nutrition. The food pyramid that says to eat 6 to 11 servings of bread, rice, and cereal a day contributes to obesity. Turn the food pyramid upside down: eat more fat (good fat), eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and eat just a little dairy, meat, sugar, and refined carbs.

Be Smart with Your Eating Habits

Starving is no way to live or to eat.

A diet of fewer than 1,800 calories a day for a woman

is considered to be a starvation diet.

Eating 4 or 5 small meals during the day lets your body know there is plenty of food available.

Your body will know there is no need to store the fat.

Ultrametabolism by Mark Hyman, M.D.

Read the book for yourself. Some ideas feel right and others not so much.

Eat Whole Foods

~ High-fiber foods: beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds

~ Quality proteins: beans, nuts, seeds, fish, eggs,

lean poultry, lamb, pork, and beef

~ Healthy fats: fish oil, avocado, olives, coconut,

nuts, seeds, oils: extra virgin olive oil,

sesame, grapeseed, walnut oil

~ Healthy carbohydrates: vegetables,

whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit

The Ultrametabolism Cookbook

Learn to cook so your food revs your metabolism.

The Three Major Energy-Producing Substances We Eat

- Carbohydrates

- Protein

- Fat

We need them all (but eating the right ones is key).

Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables like peaches and red bell peppers to stay healthy.
Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables like peaches and red bell peppers to stay healthy.

Foods To Help Lose Weight

Stock the cupboards with good for you foods

These foods are just a few of those listed in the book's recipe section that will help you lose weight. Dr. Hyman mentions over and over in Ultrametabolism that when people cut out junk food and begin eating whole foods, the weight drops off.


baby mixed greens




green bell peppers


sweet potatoes








Nuts and Seeds



pumpkin seeds


Meat, Fish, and Poultry

chicken breasts

lamb loin chops


Eggs and Dairy

omega-3 organic eggs

feta cheese

Organic Soy Products

plain unsweetened soy yogurt



Greek plain nonfat yogurt

plain nonfat yogurt

Frozen Foods

frozen mixed berries

frozen edamame beans

Whole Grains and Products

whole rye bread

pitas, whole grain or sprouted grain

wheat germ, raw

Pantry and Staple Items

almond flour

beans, canned (garbanzo, black, pinto, kidney)

dark chocolate

dried cranberries

grapeseed oil

tomatoes, canned

vegetable broth, low sodium

wild salmon, canned

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Kitchen Tools for Eating Healthy

Make your kitchen user friendly. Get a few tools that will make cooking a breeze.

More Healthy Ideas from Ultra-Metabolism

  1. The brain, gut, and fat cells talk to each other, and this communication affects eating behavior.
  2. Stress makes us fat.
  3. Inflammation causes weight gain and disease.
  4. Cellular "rust" interferes with metabolism and causes inflammation.
  5. Use ways to turbocharge metabolism so calories turn into energy faster and better.
  6. The thyroid needs to be working correctly for good metabolism.
  7. The liver needs to be detoxified to metabolize fat and sugar and get rid of toxins and toxic weight.

A great breakfast or snack:  yogurt, fruit, and nuts.
A great breakfast or snack: yogurt, fruit, and nuts.

How to Increase Your Metabolism

Rev up your metabolism so your body burns fat

Move: any exercise is better than none. Exercise increases the mitochondria in the body, which along with oxygen, helps you lose weight. The better this mix (like the fuel/oil mix in a motorcycle, I suppose), the better the body burns fat. Muscle burns fat even when you're resting. Ideas for moving (exercising) include the following:

- walking during lunch hour

- working around the house

- washing the car

- dancing

- exercising (at a class, at the gym, playing basketball, whatever you enjoy)

- taking the stairs

Getting enough sleep helps boost metabolism.

Eating during the day, not at night, helps too.

Getting your thyroid checked and address any problems.

Taking a vitamin supplement.

Detoxifying your liver so it can burn fat more efficiently.

Increase Your Metabolism

To increase metabolism,

eat foods that don't have a label.

Metabolism Poll

Do you need to increase your metabolism?

See results

The Ultrametabolism Prescription - Part III of Ultrametabolism

Increasing metabolism includes using food as medicine to get rid of bad health like diabetes,letting go of bad eating habits, detoxifying, preparing healthy food--eating as many foods without a label as possible, eating the right food combinations, exercising,and timing meals and eating to the best advantage.

The two main components follow:

  1. Detox your system.
  2. Rebalance your metabolism and maintain that healthy metabolism.

Ultraprevention by Dr. Mark Hyman

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

What do you think about the ultrametabolism concept?

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    • profile image

      dwelburn 4 years ago

      Some great advice here. I agree with most (but not quite all) of what you said. Eating one or two meals per day can help you lose weight and boost your metabolism, but you need to eat the right foods of course, not stuff yourself with pizza. ice cream and candy bars. Also fasting is not the same as starving. Starving (or prolonged low calorie diets) will slow your metabolism, but strategic short term regular fasting can boost it.

    • chiactivate lm profile image

      Vita Activate 5 years ago

      I'm focusing on increasing my metabolism.

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Staying healthy and losing weight is sometimes a bit of a fight, especially as you get a bit older. I'm always looking for new ways to keep fit and keep the weight off, so I thank you for this informative and interesting information. Some suggestions I had been doing already and didn't even know about this method. Thanks again for sharing. :)

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      This sounds pretty down to earth and doable. It also sounds like it's based on science.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 6 years ago

      Interesting concepts by Mark Hyman. I'm not familiar with him but I do know that a low carb diet takes fat off me. Somewhat...