4 June 2013

Eating fat to lose weight

I know, this will pretty much go against everything modern culture and government guidelines would have you believe, but eating fat will not make you fat. In fact quite the opposite, if you have a low fat diet, your body will want to keep the reserves it has and you will not burn the body fat you’re trying to lose.

Fat is also vital for health and wellbeing, it’s an essential macronutrient. The body doesn’t just use fat for insulation, it also needs it for regulation of your metabolism and for preventing Ill health. There are four types of fat to be aware of:

  • Saturated Fats
  • Monounsaturated Fats
  • Polyunsaturated Fats
  • Hydrogenated / Trans Fats

Saturated Fats

Are made up of solely saturated fatty acids. Saturation refers to the molecular makeup; in Saturated fats there are no double bonds between individual carbon atoms, so the carbon molecules are totally saturated by hydrogen.

There are lots of natural sources of Saturated fats, including: animal fats, coconut oil and raw chocolate / cacao. Saturated fats contain huge amounts of essential vitamins: K2, A and D to name just three.

Saturated fats are essential! As with everything, there’s a balance that’s important…

Saturated fats produce Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), the cholesterol commonly known as bad. We need to dispel this notion, LDL is vital as the body uses it for repair of arteries and veins, that are damaged by free radicals. The important thing is to make sure the ratio of saturated fat to the other types is correct, we’ll cover that below.

Mono & Polyunsaturated Fats

These are the ‘good’ guys, they produce High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). These HDL run around after the LDL and tidy up after them, in a nut shell. HDL is known to help decrease risks of suffering from Coronary Heart Disease and promote better cardiovascular health.

Natural sources of monounsaturated fats include: red meat, whole milk, nuts, olive oil, and high fat fruits such as olives and avocados.

Now the best fats, the polyunsaturated fats. These guys are great for us! These are the fats that provide Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Natural sources of Polyunsaturated fats include: nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens, and krill. Whole food sources are the way to go, you should avoid processing as much as possible!

Hydrogenated & Trans Fats

The man made processed fats. These guys were produced to make life easier for big food producers. They are produced by super heating unsaturated fats, under great pressure, to create a type of Saturated fat.

Due to the heat treatment and the pressure any nutritional benefit from the original fat / oil is lost.

Consumption of hydrogenated (Trans) fats, promotes Coronary Heart Disease by increasing LDL and decreasing HDL.

Basically, avoid these!

Eat fat, lose fat

To summarise, you really do need to eat fats, avoiding all Hydrogenated Trans fats. The ratios aren’t that easy to self measure; you can do home testing, we’ll go into more detail on that in the blog soon.

If you want to lose weight, you need to look at your Carbohydrate intake, and their role in obesity & diabetes!