24 May Eat Fat to Lose Fat
Eat Fat to Lose Fat
Let me start out this blog by saying that I used to be TERRIFED of dietary fat. I used to think that fat resulted in fat gain! My eating disorder created a fear of fat and I never realized there were different kinds of dietary fat and how each one affected the body.
Most of us want to rid out body of excess body fat, and we begin to correlate dietary fat with body fat. However, body fat is actually a compilation of excess carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which are the primary factors in disease and weight gain.
Therefore, if the goal is fat loss, we will want to replace all the unhealthy fats in our diet with healthy fats.
What kinds of fat is considered “healthy”? These would be your unsaturated fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The prefix “mono” and “poly” refer to the amount of double bonds in each fatty acid (“mono” meaning one double bond and “poly” meaning more than one double bond).
Some examples of monounsaturated fats are: vegetable oils, nuts – almonds, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout (omega 3’s), walnuts, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds, and flax. Polyunsaturated Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids can only be obtained from the diet. The are considered essential because our body doesn’t produce them. For this reason, I highly recommend an Omega 3 supplement!
Use these tips to help you make the best selection:
The two most commonly discussed omega-3s are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
When choosing an Omega – 3 supplement, be mindful of the ingredient deck, and ask yourself:
- Does the product list the source of omega-3s? The package should list the source of omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil, krill oil, or algae. If it does not, you’re better off staying away.
- What is total amount of EPA and DHA in each serving size? The bottle may say 1,000 milligrams of fish oil, but it’s the amount of omega-3 that matters, expressed in milligrams of EPA and DHA. You want to find a pill with higher levels of EPA and DHA per serving size and less “fillers”.
Benefits of healthy fats:
- Healthy fats make up the outside layer of the cells in our bodies, which makes cells more sensitive to insulin and allows for a faster metabolism.
- Healthy fat aids in lipolysis, or the burning of fat.
- Healthy fat helps support thyroid function, which is closely related to body fat regulation and why many people with low thyroid functions have a hard time losing fat.
- Healthy fat is harder to breakdown in the body, meaning it takes longer for the body to breakdown and absorb the nutrient from fat, making it more filling and when paired with protein, can curb cravings, instill satiety and control hunger. There are 9 calories per gram as compared to protein and carbs, which each have 4 calories per gram. Maintaining a diet with a moderate intake of carbs will keep insulin levels down, preventing the spikes and crashes that leave us ransacking the fridge every hour!
- Healthy fat can actually lower levels of bad cholesterol, LDL (low-density liproprotein). Conversely, too much of the “bad” fats can cause spikes in these levels of bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, obesity related disease like Type II diabetes, stroke, and other life threatening illnesses.
- Support hormone balance and recovery – in women, lack of fats leads to infertility and consuming the wrong fats and lead to complications from PMS and menopause. For men – lack of fats reduce testosterone
- Higher fat diet in conjunctions with lower carb can increase the growth hormone which prevents muscle breakdown
- Eating fat is absolutely necessary for fat loss because going low fat causes people to replace the fat with more carbs and if it says “low-fat” it was most likely pumped with excess sugars which the body stores as fat.
Trans fats are considered your “bad” fats, and those that you want to steer away from and limit as much as possible. Trans Fat is a byproduct of hydrogenation – turn oils into solids. On food labels, it’s listed as “partially hydrogenated oil”. It is found mainly in solid shortenings, but the food industry has started adding them to everything from baked goods to French fries. The problem with these fats is that the increase LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream while decreasing HDL. As a result, trans fats actually increases inflammation which can cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc.
Saturated Fat: Good or Bad?
Saturated Fats are not necessarily “bad” if eaten in the right quantities, it can actually be GOOD fat. Saturated fats are those that come from animal products – eggs, bacon, meat, butter, coconut oil. Eaten in moderation (just like everything else in healthy diet!), saturated fat actually raises HDL – the “good” cholesterol and lowers risk of heart disease. These fats are not easily damaged in high heat, so the risk of inflammation in the arteries is low.
However, too much of a good thing, can have the opposite affect on our bodies, so a good rule of thumb is to limit of fats from saturated sources to 10% of calories/day where possible – 2000cal diet = 20g sat fat. Keep this in mind when filling your daily fat allowance. You want a good mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats.
The “Low-Fat” Myth Debunked:
Nowadays there are so many foods that boast the label “low fat”, “fat free” or “reduced fat”. But as we just described, fat is essential for maintaining a healthy physique and for losing fat and weight! So when you strip out the fat from typically fatty products – i.e. cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. you strip out a TON of flavor. Think of a nice juicy steak. What gives it it’s flavor? The fat! So when these food manufacturers stripped out all the fat from otherwise fatty foods, the stripped lot of their flavor. The result? They had to add “fillers” in the form of sugars, salts, and other artificial ingredients void of nutrition.
Adding in more unsaturated fats to my diet, I have even noticed an increase in my hair, skin, and nail health. This is because fat is responsible for breaking down vitamins like A,D, E and K for use in the body which all contribute to healthy cell growth and repair.
Healthy fats are all essential for regulating hormones responsible for digestion and yes, sexual health. Healthy fats helps support a healthy libido!
Needless to say, after getting over my fear of fats and actually experiencing these wonderful benefits for myself, I now incorporate a healthy mix into my daily diet routine:)