Book Review: The Fatburn Fix

Summertime is my book reading time. What’s on your booklist for the last part of the summer? As for me, I usually have one non-fiction nutrition book going, one fiction book and one audiobook on the go for any given month. Yes, I love to learn and soak up new information to guide my health journey. Presently, my nutrition reads are either keto or carnivore choices.

After I listened to Dr. Catherine Shanahan speak on a podcast last month, I had to get her latest book, The Fatburn Fix. I had read her first book, Deep Nutrition, and was impressed with her practical knowledge imparted. So I preordered her book and read it cover to cover in record time once it arrived.

The Fatburn Fix is not a keto book really. Dr. Cate is supportive of enjoying healthy fats and avoiding PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids). Dr. Cate does state that “Ketones are one of the most powerful forms of cellular energy. When your fatburn is fully functional and your metabolism is healthy enough to make ketones … you won’t experience any of the hypoglycemia or overactive hunger symptoms…” (67)

Diabetes Spectrum

One of the most interesting aspects of her book is her explanation of the diabetes spectrum. Dr. Cate explains that “when you understand diabetes as a spectrum that originates in blocked fatburn, it becomes clear that gaining weight does not cause diabetes.”[51] Interestingly, she further explains that weight gain occurs as a result of the process of developing diabetes (more specifically type 2 diabetes mellitus – T2DM). One thing to remember it takes years for the damage to occur in the body before diabetes is ever diagnosed. Unlike type 1 diabetes, T2DM is not rooted in an insulin deficiency. Instead, its root is a defective energy metabolism. The progressive metabolic damage begins as hypoglycemia progresses to insulin resistance then prediabetes until it is diagnosed as T2DM. It takes many years for someone to work his/her way through this spectrum.


Dr. Cate writes that hypoglycemia is the very beginning of the diabetic spectrum. Why? Because hypoglycemia results when your cells cannot get enough energy from your body or dietary fat to successfully make it from one meal to the next. Thus begins the communication battle between your brain and your pancreas to regulate your blood sugar. “[W]henever you’re in a fasted state … your brain is telling your liver to put more sugar into the bloodstream, but your pancreas is telling your fat cells to take the sugar out of the bloodstream.” (56-57) For many peri-menopausal and menopausal women, this fight for energy results in the net effect of weight gain.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance in simple terms means your cells cannot respond properly to insulin. Subsequently, your body makes more insulin to push glucose/sugar out the blood and into your cells. The two organs running this show are the brain and the pancreas. “The brain is telling the liver to make sugar while the pancreas is telling the liver not to.”[58] So basically, your brain is forcing the liver to ignore cellular signals to reduce its sugar output.

Prediabetes and Diabetes

Once you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it means “your liver is making sugar faster than before, and your body is no longer able to control your blood sugar level as well, in spite of making extra insulin.” (59) But this can be reversed by making some positive lifestyle changes before you become a full-blown type 2 diabetic.

With the diagnosis of T2MD, you are at the end-stage of the spectrum. “[Y]our pancreas have been battle your brain for control over your blood sugar for a very long time, producing more and more insulin in a hopeless war against your brain.” (61) As you can see by reading that last statement, T2DM is not a case of not having insulin, but having too much insulin. But guess what? Our medical practitioners usually want to give insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, without changing the diet by lower the total carbs and including healthy fats, the diabetes will be a lifelong disease resulting in eventual dangerous side effects.

Dr. Cate’s Five Rules to Improve Fatburn

  1. Avoid vegetable oils – 3Cs (canola, corn, cottonseed) and 3Ss (soy, sunflower, safflower)
  2. Eat slow-digesting carbs – “whole foods that are encapsulated in nutrients that slow down the digestive process” [198]
  3. Seek salt — Dr. Cate lists 7 reasons for this recommendation
  4. Drink water — your body is mostly water so this makes sense
  5. Smart supplementation including vitamins and minerals

Final Words

Dr. Cate definitely supports higher healthy fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate nutritional profile to support a healthful lifestyle. If you are ready to embark on your own well-formulated ketogenic lifestyle transformation, look no further. Brenda is a Keto-Adapted certified ketogenic and carnivore coach trained by Maria Emmerich — yes, the one who has been living the keto live for two decades! — and her husband, Craig Emmerich, who is using carnivore to heal his body from Lyme Disease.

To get started, email to schedule your free 20-minute Discovery Chat. During this season of COVID, these sessions will be done either by phone or online using platforms like Zoom or FaceTime. No excuses now, as you can do this from your home or wherever you would like.

About Brenda

Brenda loves learning and sharing what she's learning with you. She is a certified keto/carnivore coach with Keto-Adapted (Maria and Craig Emmerich, a certified holistic nutritional consultant (CHNC), and a natural nutrition clinical practitioner (NNCP).