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Eat Fat to Lose Fat

healthy fats

Up until a decade ago, fat was something “demonised” as being bad for your health, especially for your heart function. It was believed specifically that eating fat indirectly contributes to the clogging of arteries and makes people fatter. Due to these speculations, doctors suggested keeping fat intake at a minimum of -10% of daily calorie consumption. However, newer studies and anecdotal evidence have suggested that most types of naturally-occurring fats are actually good for you when eaten on a regular basis.

Whether we realise it or not, our bodies need fat to fuel themselves. Fatty acids are found in all our body cells and act as an alternative fuel source for providing energy, replacing the need for unhealthy carbs. The concept of eating fat to lose fat is merely based on this fact--if we don’t give your bodies enough carbs to generate energy, fats are able to kick in as the alternative fuel our body needs to generate energy, fight inflammation and lose weight among other things. Our bodies will simply consume that fat to burn fat instead of piling up the converted fat from carbs. The famous Keto diet, which is a high fat/low carb diet, is based on this concept and is used widely to treat a variety of ailments--from simple weight loss to cancer and even Alzheimer's. And not only that, healthy fats can actually suppress our appetites by making us feel full and satiated for longer.

The health benefits of eating (healthy) fats are numerous and it’s no wonder why high fats and low carb diets are quite popular nowadays. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to consume any type of fat. Trans fats which are processed and hydrogenated fats e.g margarines and fast food are actually bad for you and have the opposite effect of healthy fats in your system--they actually increase inflammation and make you fatter before you can realise it. Since the typical Western diet is full of trans fats, you get an idea why we keep getting fatter and more sick every day.

So what fats are actually good for you? These are the main times you should include in your diet to facilitate weight loss and prevent inflammatory diseases:

Monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are the fats that have one carbon to carbon double bond and are mainly taken from plant sources. Monounsaturated fats, unlike saturated fats typically stay liquid at room temperatures. Some good sources of monounsaturated fats include canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

Polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are fats with at least two double bonds in their carbon structure and also come mainly from vegetable sources. Polyunsaturated fats typically have a higher heat tolerance point than monounsaturated fats which makes them ideal for cooking e.g frying and baking. Some common polyunsaturated fats include corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. These kinds of fats contain omega-6 fatty acids which can actually reduce cholesterol and help fight inflammation in the body when taken in the right ratio. Then we have another type of polyunsaturated fats, which is the famous omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are found in fatty fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sea bream, etc), walnuts, flaxseeds, and cold-pressed canola and soybean oils.

A healthy ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be according to gbhealthwatch.com between 2:1 (2 parts of Omega-6 and 1 part of Omega-3s) and 5:1. So on average, that would be 3:1 for weight loss and health-boosting purposes.

While you are on a high fat and low carb diet it would also be wise to cut down on sugar and drink only low calorie and zero sugar drinks like plain water or herbal unsweetened tea. That would help make you lose weight faster and keep your body hydrated at the same time.

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