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The Insights I Derived From “Fat for Fuel”

“Fat for Fuel” by Dr. Joseph Mercola is a book dedicated to informing the public about how to improve our mitochondrial health. He does this by first explaining the biology of the mitochondria and then with that information synthesizing it into a revolutionary diet he calls, MMT (mitochondrial metabolic therapy). Mercola isn’t afraid to pull back the curtains and show why fat shouldn’t be demonized with the help of science.

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

Our mitochondrial health is very important and we should be focused on taking care of them.

Free radicals impair our mitochondria and limiting their production by reducing carbs and sugars is a good idea.

While diet plays a large role in mitochondrial health fasting, exercise, and other lifestyle factors also play a significant role.

🎨 Impressions

The first half of the book really goes into the science and the second half goes into how to actually utilize the science. Overall I really enjoyed the book, however, I feel like the science section could be a little better or longer to dive into some deeper topics. With that being said the depth of the material is sufficient, I personally just wanted a little more depth.

Who Should Read It?

Anyone who is dealing with a chronic illness could really benefit from reading this book, although, anyone is likely to get something from reading this book. It goes head to head with the conventional nutritional wisdom and counters their arguments with facts and proof from scientific peer-reviewed studies.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

This book changed the way I looked at dietary fat and the role it has on mitochondrial health.

It made me realize how vital our hormones are at controlling both our weight and the progression of diseases.

I am now much more conscious of how much sugar and high glycemic index carbs I am consuming as I am much more aware of the effects that insulin resistance has on our bodies and the progression of aging.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

“In other words, carbs can be seen as a far dirtier fuel than fats. When you adopt a high-fat, low-carb diet and make the switch to burning fat and ketones for fuel instead of glucose, your mitochondria’s exposure to oxidative damage drops by as much as 30 to 40 percent compared to when your primary source of fuel is sugar” (Page 9)

“In simple terms, when you eat carbohydrates, your pancreas secretes insulin. And the more insulin you have in your blood, the more signals your body gets to store fat. In other words, by following the present dietary advice that was officially codified by the government in 1977, we as a nation have been doing the very things that cause us to gain weight and keep it on.” (Page 19)

“Together, refined sugar and carbs do far more harm to your body than saturated fat ever could.” (Page 23)

📒 Summary + Notes

Most cells have between 80–2,000 mitochondria within them

Mitochondria produce about 110 pounds of ATP per day. Every second they pump out 10,000 times more energy than the sun gram for gram

Reactive oxygen species (ROS): forms when electrons leak from the electron transport chain

ROS can form into free radicals, free radicals are not necessarily bad it’s that too many are bad

Glyphosate severely affects our mitochondria

Low-fat guidelines lack scientific evidence to back them up. Due to the guideline’s the food industry began adding refined sugar instead of fat

sugar and non-fiber carbs generate more free radicals than we need

Small dense LDL is bad and is increased by sugar and refined grains

Light fluffy LDL is good and is increased by saturated fats

Burning ketones for energy produces fewer free radicals than burning sugar for fuel

Mitochondria damage causes cancer not genetic mutations because mitochondria damage occurs first

Dr. Warburg discovered that cancer cells have a different energy metabolism than normal cells. They have a hard time using oxygen or fat and thus rely heavily on blood sugar to survive

Saturated and monounsaturated fats are less easily oxidized than sugar and polyunsaturated fats resulting in fewer free radicals and thus less inflammation

Not only does fat burning create fewer free radicals but it also gives mitochondria more energy to create healthier mitochondria

Ketones have a similar structure to BCAA and are preferred by the body, this in effect causes our bodies to burn ketones instead of burning protein

Eat protein but not too much, try to restrict the amino acid methionine

Too much iron in your body can be a bad thing as well as too little

Iron helps encourage growth whether that is the growth of pathogens, a person’s fat mass and it also increases the risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and osteoporosis

Donating blood is a great way to reduce iron excess

Work to eat healthier forms of iron (not from animals or fortified foods) and also decrease absorption

Getting adequate fiber is supremely important, be sure to get both soluble and insoluble fiber (Strive for at least 50 grams a day)

DHA is the only fat type not burned for fuel but instead used in cell membranes

Try to eat less than 40g of carbs per day

Try to lower the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio; attempt to get a 3:1 or a 2:1 ratio (krill oil is better than fish oil)

Eat more potassium because it naturally balances sodium

Aim for a 1:1 magnesium to calcium ratio

Fasting is really good for us and can help us achieve ketosis quicker

Additional ways of improving mitochondrial health is grounding, getting adequate sunlight, spending some time in an infrared sauna, avoiding artificial lighting, getting exercise, and cold exposure

Statins severely impair your ability to produce ketones from fat

Supplements that may be beneficial include, Berberine, ubiquinol, magnesium, carnitine, and structured water


Mercola, J. (2018). Fat for fuel: A revolutionary diet to combat cancer, Boost Brain Power, and increase your energy. Hay House, Inc.

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