Fire in a Bottle - The ROS Theory of Obesity and The Proton Theory


(Windmill Tilter) #21

Wowza. Thanks for the link to the Dr. Eades lecture above. Just watched it and probably only understood a small fraction of it.

In answer to your question, he does mention stearic acid. The core of his hypothesis is that reverse electron transport is critical to insulin signaling, and that the necessary F/N ratio for optimal reverse electron transport is .48. If you get below that it doesn’t happen efficiently. Stearic acid has a F/N ratio of .49, which is better than everything else except palmitic acid which is .48 exactly.

(Ronald Weaver) #22

Your bum…?

(Bunny) #23

I know, I still can’t believe it!

One day they will figure it out, but we probably have a 40 year wall of medical politics to burrow through before it is accepted as fact (universally).

I’m just happy to know ahead of time because I now know how to reverse it. (without starving myself to death)

I don’t like sitting there worried to death about every little carb I eat and blowing up like a ballon if I go one carb over…lol

(Jenna Ericson) #24

I think what makes this ROS theory of Obesity so confusing is the use of the phrase “insulin resistance”. After all, how can insulin resistance be both the cause of type 2 diabetes and a possible treatment (in the case of eating saturated fat vs. polyunsaturated fats). It would be helpful to make a distinction between these two kinds of insulin resistance…maybe, as I think Brad Marshall puts it, we can say short term insulin resistance while saturated fat is being oxidized vs chronic insulin resistance. So basically, short term physiological insulin resistance vs chronic insulin resistance.

If we think about what we know from Jason Fung, etc., what I’m now referring to as chronic insulin resistance is caused by prolonged or repeated exposure to too much insulin. This is like if you are taking a drug consistently for an extended period of time. Your body will become tolerant to it and it will not work as well. Tolerance would be another word for resistance in this case. So someone who is insulin resistance has built up a tolerance to too much insulin and their cells’ response to it is down-regulated. I think this is kind of common knowledge here, but I needed to reiterate…

So what are the causes of the body’s overproduction of insulin leading to insulin resistance? The low carb philosophy would say that carbohydrates are the main factor in this because they stimulate insulin the most. Therefore, repeated over-consumption of carbohydrates would cause you to become resistant to insulin, but guess what else spikes insulin? Omega-6 fats spike insulin, especially in combination with glucose!

Here’s my opinion on how this relates to the ROS theory of Obesity: Because long chain saturated fats make your cells insulin resistant, those cells are not using as much insulin, which means there is less demand for insulin production, which means less chronic insulin resistance. I propose that this selective insulin resistance in response to saturated fats is what our bodies are meant to do. As hunter gathers, humans would have eaten high amounts of saturated fat because those are the fats that can be preserved the longest without refrigeration. We would have favored those fats so our bodies adapted to processing them.

Since Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats have not been present in high amounts in our diet until recently, our bodies have not adapted as well to dealing with them. Because of this whole complicated electron transport thingy, the omega-6 fats are not only going to be taken into cells that will try to use them as energy, but they will also not make that cell insulin resistant, so insulin will allow glucose into the cell to join the party with the polyunsaturated fat. The cell doesn’t know what to do, and in its confusion, it poops the fat out wherever is closest. Perhaps into the gluteus maximus :slight_smile: Or, as I think the ROS theory of Obesity is saying, the cells that would first try to use the polyunsaturated fats from our diet would be the ones closest to the our digestive system, (so the cells around your belly). I think that in switching to a diet high in long chain saturated fats you aren’t activating some magical belly fat switch, you are just processing fat the way we are adapted to process it. As far as adding different forms of stearic acid, whether they are cocoa butter, tallow, etc., even if you are eating a form of stearic acid that may not be similar to how our ancestors would have eaten it, it still might be chemically close enough to the saturated fats that we adapted to eat, or at least closer to them than the abundance of high omega-6 fats in so many people’s diets.

(PJ) #25

Sounds reasonable to me.

The way I thought of it (not like I know anything mind you) is that he was talking about essentially a signalling molecule that individual adipose cells have, and would normally use, in SFA>ROS – giving them the “flexibility” to be IR – and to varying degrees, not just off/on – as needed. As opposed to having no choice but to have yet-more fat stuffed into them constantly by insulin whether it would normally be appropriate or not.

I think that is not the same at all as whole-body insulin resistance, spawning from the massive overkill of insulinemia finally filling nearly all the cells up to their genetically-controlled-max.


The guy ate only croissants for two weeks, started feeling full and his appetite dropped. I don’t think there’s anybody here that can eat only croissants for two weeks without dreading the thought of the next meal.

His weight loss can be attributed entirely on a caloric deficit, due to a spontaneous drop in appetite on account of his bland diet, no mystery here.

The problem with anecdotes is that people are terrible at isolating variables and at estimating calories eaten or burned or at measuring anything really.

I’ve also taken a look at his arguments and all of it is based on studies on mice that don’t seem to support his own conclusions.

(Justin Jordan) #27

I’d note his croissants weren’t JUST croissants. He explicitly mentions making pizza croissants with marina, mozzarella and pepperoni. Monotonous, possibly, but it’s not bland in the sense that Guyenet et all use the term.

(Bob M) #28

Yes, if you actually read the article (and know enough), he was taking a swipe at Guyenet et al., who believe we get fat because food simply tastes too good. I.e., don’t add butter to those vegetables, because then you’ll overeat, because they taste too good. Seriously. Really. I’m not kidding, this is an actual Tweet from the Master himself.

Anyway, after testing this by using cocoa butter and now a combination of cocoa butter, butter, and shea butter (latter supposedly highest in stearic acid), I’m convinced. I get so freaking FULL to to point I either cannot or do not want to eat.

And I’ve been low carb/keto 6 years. It’s a revelation! I ate my first meal of the day (lunch?) with cocoa butter and was NOT HUNGRY at all, so I did not eat again until the next day. This has NEVER happened to me, in the 6 years I’ve been doing this. When I tried to eat OMAD, I had to power through the hunger. With cocoa butter, I am not hungry. At all. Could not eat if you paid me.

Also, Peter has updated his blog with calculations:

And someone in the comments posted a spreadsheet so you could see the highest value.

I did not do croissants, as I don’t like wheat. But I’m thinking of trying to make croissants with cocoa butter, butter, and Einkorn wheat (unhybridized) for my kids.

This just shows what the demonization of saturated fat has caused us. This might be – I believe likely is – yet another cause of obesity.

(PJ) #29

Huh. I don’t interpret this as you do @fabia

I don’t think he is that… novice about the topic. He is both a scientist and a rancher, he’s aware of things like calories. It’s not like he’s just a simple guy who came up with some wild hair and can’t be trusted to be able to multiply by 9 or something. The theories are not his originally, they’re from HyperLipid, and were compelling prior to him ever trying to make it comprehensible to laymen (well… apparently not! lol!) and bringing it into one (of many possible) eating approaches.

  • it was only a ‘base’ made (without sugar) and he used it more like a flatbread to hold things for pizza, sandwiches, etc.
  • he pointedly was working to make sure his approach could not be attributed to qty of calories, carbs, etc.
  • his approach has a growing crowdsource number of people following it that appear to be doing ok with it

The research studies that Peter – and then later in the Fireinabottle blog, Brad – reference seem pretty relevant to me, though I’m no expert. And to them. And to others, like Dr. Michael Eades who gave a presentation on this in 2018 and credited Peter at Hyperlipid for corresponding with him about the theory.

Also, (1) there were a couple studies on humans suggestive to relating to this {not about the ROS process but about obesity and its possible correlation to fat types} and (2) the whole idea of a “new theory” is that there probably is NOT yet much if any research into it, because it’s new.

This leaves people in the world online who are interested in nutrition, new ideas, and self-experimentation, with a road to travel for trying something out, and they can report back on the web about the results… genuine crowdsourcing.

That has pretty much been the case for nearly everything beyond the basics that Atkins then Eades published. We’re all working through the options… if we wait for someone to have done all the science, well, that’s a bit slower than the “proactive self-experiment on behalf of personal optimal health or health results” than most people (certainly me) hope for.

(Ken) #30

I think a full set of “Before & After” pictures are necessary…

(Bunny) #31


Where is the rule book on that?

Already stated my position on that so it is a moot point!

(Ken) #32

Only for true Scientific Validation, oh and measurements also…don’t forget to put something in the pictures so we can dertermine Scale…

(Bunny) #33

If you insist:



(PJ) #34

I’m a science fiction fan @atomicspacebunny and I’ve often joked about the “busty chicks in stainless steel bikinis” on the covers of the old scifi books. That pic is in the same genre I think. :smiley: Love it!

(PJ) #35

A note from a friend who I’ve been boring with all this stuff via email whether she likes it or not :smiley:

OK so apparently stearic acid might have some kinda special powers to trigger mitochondria: Dietary stearic acid regulates mitochondria in vivo in humans

Also, another note from that friend:

Also fyi, it seems Buffalo Wild Wings cooks all their stuff in beef tallow so if you want to eat out and one is nearby, this might be the place.

In case it’s useful to anyone here :smiley:

Edited to add abstract of the first paper link:


Since modern foods are unnaturally enriched in single metabolites, it is important to understand which metabolites are sensed by the human body and which are not. We previously showed that the fatty acid stearic acid (C18:0) signals via a dedicated pathway to regulate mitofusin activity and thereby mitochondrial morphology and function in cell culture. Whether this pathway is poised to sense changes in dietary intake of C18:0 in humans is not known. We show here that C18:0 ingestion rapidly and robustly causes mitochondrial fusion in people within 3 h after ingestion. C18:0 intake also causes a drop in circulating long-chain acylcarnitines, suggesting increased fatty acid beta-oxidation in vivo. This work thereby identifies C18:0 as a dietary metabolite that is sensed by our bodies to control our mitochondria. This could explain part of the epidemiological differences between C16:0 and C18:0, whereby C16:0 increases cardiovascular and cancer risk whereas C18:0 decreases both.

{ps palmitic acid is C16. 34% in milk. I wonder if this is why dairy is inflammatory for so many? - PJ}

(Kristen Ann) #36

That paper is why I’m skeptical about Brad’s blanket statements about saturated fat.

I think palmitic acid is ~30% in most beef cuts/products.

(PJ) #37

I have several outstanding questions, so far, sparked by all this.

  1. How do phospholipids (like sunflower lecithin) fit into this model
  2. What impact does stearic acid have on gut bacteria
  3. Does CoQ10 (the supplement substance) relate to the “Q10 bottleneck”
  4. Where does MCT oil fit into this model
  5. Is Shea edible

Should anybody here stumble on those topics I’d love a share of a quote/link.

I searched on #2 but only found endless amounts of stuff related to Butyrate and CLA and eventually got bored and gave up.

(PJ) #38

I did find a few general refs…

From wiki:

Basics: Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid and its chemical formula is C17H35CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word “star” which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates. As its ester, stearic acid is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature following palmitic acid. The triglyceride derived from three molecules of stearic acid is called stearin. Fats and oils rich in stearic acid are more abundant in animal fat (up to 30%) than in vegetable fat (typically <5%). The important exceptions are the foods cocoa butter and shea butter, where the stearic acid content (as a triglyceride) is 28-45%.

Metabolism: An isotope labeling study in humans concluded that the fraction of dietary stearic acid that oxidatively desaturates to oleic acid is 2.4 times higher than the fraction of palmitic acid analogously converted to palmitoleic acid. Also, stearic acid is less likely to be incorporated into cholesterol esters. In epidemiologic and clinical studies, stearic acid was found to be associated with lowered LDL cholesterol in comparison with other saturated fatty acids.


Molecular Weight 284.4772
Formula C18H36O2
Melting Point 69.6 °C, 343 °K, 157 °F
Boiling Point 383 °C, 656 °K, 721 °F
Density 0.847 g/cm3 at 70 °C
Solubility in Water 3 mg/L (20 °C)


Stearic acid, or stearin, is also called octadecanoic acid. It is a medium chain fatty acid, which is symbolized by the numbers 18: 0 or C18, to indicate that it has 18 carbon atoms and no double covalent bond: it is a saturated fatty acid. The different qualities of stearic acid are characterized by their composition (proportion of C18 (stearic acid) and C-16 (palmitic acid) which are its two main components): the higher the ratio of C18, the higher is the purity of the Stearic acid.

Applications: 100% from natural origin, the stearic acid is an ultra-versatile material found in many industrial uses. For example, it is very useful as a thickener or to give consistency to cosmetic preparations. It helps stabilize emulsions or act as a hardener for balms and soaps. It is also used as a wax of 100% natural origin, especially for the production of candles, a bio-sourced alternative to paraffin (which is of petroleum origin).


Although it is classified as a saturated fatty acid (SFA), both biochemically and for purposes of nutrition labeling and dietary recommendations, data accumulated during the past 50 years indicate that stearic acid (C18:0) is unique among the SFAs in the food supply. Unlike other predominant long-chain SFAs – palmitic (C16:0), myristic (C14:0), and lauric (C12:0) acids -which increase blood cholesterol levels - stearic acid has been shown to have a neutral effect on blood total and low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Stearic acid’s neutral effect on blood total and LDL cholesterol levels implies that this longchain SFA may not increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. For this reason, it has been suggested that stearic acid not be grouped with other long-chain SFAs, although to date this recommendation has not been implemented in dietary guidance or nutrition labeling.

When expressed as a percentage of beef’s total saturated fat, approximately one-third is stearic acid. A 100 g portion of cooked lean beef (composite of retail cuts, trimmed, all grades, 0” trim) contains 3.54 g saturated fat, of which 1.14 g or 31% is stearic acid (Table 2). In 95% lean ground beef, 37% of saturated fat is stearic acid (Table 2).

Regulation of mitochondrial morphology and function by stearoylation of TFR1
Abstract: Mitochondria are involved in a variety of cellular functions, including ATP production, amino acid and lipid biogenesis and breakdown, signalling and apoptosis. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and ageing. Although transcriptional mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial abundance are known, comparatively little is known about how mitochondrial function is regulated. Here we identify the metabolite stearic acid (C18:0) and human transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1; also known as TFRC) as mitochondrial regulators. We elucidate a signalling pathway whereby C18:0 stearoylates TFR1, thereby inhibiting its activation of JNK signalling. This leads to reduced ubiquitination of mitofusin via HUWE1, thereby promoting mitochondrial fusion and function. We find that animal cells are poised to respond to both increases and decreases in C18:0 levels, with increased C18:0 dietary intake boosting mitochondrial fusion in vivo. Intriguingly, dietary C18:0 supplementation can counteract the mitochondrial dysfunction caused by genetic defects such as loss of the Parkinson’s disease genes Pink or Parkin in Drosophila. This work identifies the metabolite C18:0 as a signalling molecule regulating mitochondrial function in response to diet.

Cheese society PDF (slide show) about fats and cheese
I did not know the names of the higher-sat fats until this

And some misc snaps:




Stearic acid is an MCT? Huh! That would make it readily usable by the brain rather than digested for merely caloric input and potential fat storage. So, this can help optimize recomp by both satiety enhancement AND brain fuel usage rather than potential energy storage.

My brief recent experiments (till I ran out of CB, more coming Monday!) were only with 1-2 tblsp along with my official MCT oil fatty coffee, and I have to say that 2 tblsp of CB was perfect & lovely satiation. Also, my brain felt really nourished/activated, but because I didn’t know if was an MCT, I assumed it was something else related to the cacao beans.

In the last few days when I’ve been w/o CB, I’ve used two tbsp butter instead - and I have to say, the difference is noticeable - less brain activation and less satiation. Being that butter has a much lower stearic acid content that would make sense.

BTW last I knew, cacao and cocoa beans are the same beans - when they are made into beverages though, it’s the cocoa that’s roasted for it etc.

(Kristen Ann) #40

Stearic acid is a long chain sat f.a. I get mental clarity too but with beef fat (high stearic acid).