What fats to eat to increase your mitochondria/metabolic rate

Coach Jack talks increasing metabolism and mitochondria

With recent developments in the understanding of how fats affect mitochondria I have been working on a plan that will focus on the fats that increase mitochondria fusion. This makes mitochondria more effective in using fat for fuel which will increase the amount of fat you can burn. Everyone wants this!

Here is a great video of Dr. Eades reviewing how this works. If you skip to 21 minutes he gets into the thick of it.


The short story is that there are two saturated fats that will increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and therefore increase metabolism. Palmitic Acid and Stearic Acid. Stearic acid being the best. It is also pretty well documented that stearic acid foods have less of an impact on cholesterol, if that matters to you, and also has a positive effect on blood pressure. If you can focus on foods that have these fats you will increase your metabolism.
Here are a list of the foods highest in these fats.

It is not a list of approved keto foods. It is just a list of foods high in these fatty acids.

Stearic Acid


Palmitic Acid


To summarize the way this works:

When fats are broken down for use in the mitochondria they are broken apart at carbon bonds. The longer the chain of carbon bonds they more high energy electrons they create. These high energy electrons enter the Electron Transport Chain of the mitochondria and as they move through it there is one part that has a limit of electrons it can accept. If they carbon chain is long enough it will provide enough electrons to hit the limiter in the cell and at that point it bounces back anything else. This means no more energy can enter the cell and it cannot continue to grow (fat cells for example). This also means that the body has excess electrons to deal with. The length of the chain that seems to do this is 16 carbons long. The fatty acid Palmitic acid has 16 carbons and is referred to as C16. Stearic acid has 18 carbons and is referred to as C18. Stearic acid would be better for this process as it has more carbons and will create more of the high energy electrons needed to overcome the cell and pop off the signalling molecules.

These electrons that get kicked out of the cell function as signalling molecules to increase mitochondria to better deal with the excess. This is how you increase metabolism.

Note that this only works with saturated fats as unsaturated fats have additional hydrogen bonds in the chain so it stops the process of creating the high energy electrons and the limit is never reached in the Electron Transport chain and you never create the signalling molecules needed to create more mitochondria. An example of this is Palmitoleic acid which is a 16 carbon monounsaturated fatty acid. This means it has 16 carbons but it has 1 extra hydrogen bond in the chain. This hydrogen bond breaks the cycle of creating the high energy electrons that go into the mitochondria so it does not create enough to overcome the flow into the mitochondria and create the signalling molecules. Dr. Eades goes over this in depth in the video above.

A great example of how the change from using these fats in cooking has increased our weight was given in the video above.

French fries cooked in beef tallow vs french fries cooked in veggie oil.

Fries in beef tallow are high in stearic acid so the energy from the carbs in the fries is free to get in the cell as it never hits the threshold of the ETC but the stearic acid does hit the threshold and kicks back the energy so the cell does not continue to grow and new mitochondria are created. We get a little fat but not obese. 🙂

Fries in veggie oil are full of unsaturated fat that cannot trigger the kick back of molecules in the ETC so all of the energy is going into the cell and no new mitochondria are created. We have a slower metabolism and the cells are free to get fat. We have a slow metabolism and we become obese.

I thought this was very interesting and I will be testing it shortly.

Here is another study showing the effects of these fats on mitochondria.

See: Regulation of mitochondrial morphology and function by Stearoylation of TfR1 — “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.”

This is the fat breakdown of some of the discussed fats as well as coconut oil. You can see the difference in the length of the carbon chains.

Coconut oil:

You can see that it has very little of the long chain fatty acids that increase mitochondria. Very little palmitic Acid and no Stearic. It has some Oleic acid but that produces minimal amounts of the signalling molecules.

Palm Oil:

You can see this is very high in Palmitic acid so it will be great at the desired effect. It is also very high in Oleic which is the primary fatty acid in olive oil and is the reason so many believe it to be so healthy. This is a mix of great mitochondria generating and the believed health benefits of olive oil.


You can see now that tallow has far more stearic acid than ay of them. Stearic acid being an 18 carbon chain has the best effect on the process. It is also again, very high in Oleic which is the believed to be the best part of olive oil.

Now and interesting one that people will like, Raw Cacao Butter:

This is actually much higher than almost anything in stearic acid while still being reasonable high in palmitic and Oleic. A very good combo.  I approve of raw Cacao. Make sure it has no sweeteners or other junk in it. Just raw Cacao Butter.

I hope this makes sense but if not feel free to ask lots of questions. I have inquired with a friend that has a supplement company about the possibility of creating a stearic acid supplement but I am still waiting on it. I have actually found a few supplements that are just Palm oil in a capsule but the are too expensive and the dose is far too small to be effective. Just to show that I am not the only nut looking at this stuff in depth and it is a real thing. Hopefully we can make something happen with this. Very interesting stuff.

If you want some help with dialing all this in or breaking a stall I have spots open for personal coaching.
Sign up Here:

Personal Keto Coaching with Coach Jack

9 Replies to “What fats to eat to increase your mitochondria/metabolic rate”

  1. The palmitic acid mentions unsalted butter. Why unsalted and would salt make it have smaller carbon chains?

    1. Salted and unsalted are both there. I am not sure why they would have different amounts of fat. I didn’t make the lists I just posted the links.

  2. Some confusion, for me, between medium chain and long chain fats. Literature suggests that both may beneficial. Is it that both can be beneficial, depending on what you are looking for? The above research suggests long term, definitely for metabolism or increasing mitochondria, But when all the hype about MCT oil came out, it was also suggested that it may be beneficial for weight loss. Is it that there is new research into medium chain and they might not be as good. I read a study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874191/) that medium chain may raise triglycerides. Should we only be looking, now at LC fats with steric and palmitic acid because it is the best all around or are they the best for increasing mitochondria and therefore metabolism. I guess I am wondering if medium is good for something and the long for something else, so both should be incorporated or should we be phasing out oils with medium chain fats? I hope this isn’t too confusing.

    1. Both can be beneficial and you need both. You get both when you eat fatty meats and almost any fat. The thing with short and medium chain is that they are quickly converted to energy which is why people think it is great because it quickly overloads the krebs cycle and makes ketones but that can be a double edged sword. Like anything, just because some is good more is not better and most people take everything to extremes.

      End message is that some of both is great. I would prefer to leave short chain to just regular eating of fatty meats and the odd bit of olive or avocado oil or coconut that I get.

    2. Sorry for not replying sooner. The spam that comes into these blogs is horrific and sometimes comments get lost.

      Medium chain fatty acids are great for direct fast energy. They actually don’t have to go through the whole process of getting packed into lipoproteins and passed through the lymph system to get to circulation. They diffuse directly through the intestine and pass into the veins directly so they get into circulation immediately.

      This can make them great for quick energy but it also means they will displace the use of other fats which can mean the other fats stay in storage longer. They also don’t do anything for increasing mitochondria as the chains are too short to stimulate reverse electron transport. RET bounces back high energy electrons when they exceed the level that the mitochondria can handle and these bounced back molecules act as signalling molecules for creating more mitochondria. Shorter chain fatty acids do not generate enough of these bounce back molecules to promote this effect.

      Hope that makes sense.

  3. I only have my last 10 lbs to lose. Would it be best to start using raw cacao butter or red palm oil in my coffee instead of coconut oil?

    1. I think these are always better options. Cacao in coffee is amazing. Palm oil not so much.

  4. So Coconut oil is good?
    But Palm oil & cacao butter is better, right?

    1. Coconut oil is good yes. Just not good for increasing metabolic rate as much as palm and cacao.

Comments are closed.