Eat Fat to Lose Weight…?

Are you trying to lose weight and eat better? One of the best diet adjustments we can make is to decrease our total fat intake. Another piece of advice for weight loss that is gaining more and more scientific evidence is that eating fat can help us lose weight. What is the truth here?

Although the two pieces of advice above seem contradictory, they actually aren’t. We should follow both of them for optimum weight loss results. We need to decrease our intake of bad fat and increase our intake of good fat.

There are 3 different types of fat that are classified based on their chemical structure (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). What is important here is their roll in our health.

Saturated fat is bad fat. This is the fat that raises cholesterol, can cause damage to your arteries and put you at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity. This is the fat that you want to reduce. Take this quiz to find how good your saturated fat intake really is.

How? Choose low fat or skim dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), choose lean cuts of meat (chicken breast, white fish, kangaroo and veal) and trim any visible fat off your meat before cooking. Minimise your intake of butter, baked goods and processed or fried foods (chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, chips, crackers, salami, soft cheeses etc).

Monounsaturated fat is a good fat found in olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil and is good for our cardiovascular health by lowering blood cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fat is found in sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil and fish oil and also contains cholesterol lowering benefits. These are the fats that we want to eat instead of saturated fat. Eat foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, tuna and vegetable oils (olive, canola, grape seed etc).

Now the human body can make a lot of its own types of fats, however there are two it can’t make, Omega 3 and Omega 6. These are known as essential fats. Essential means that they cannot be made by the body, so we must eat them. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are required for a number of important body functions including: regulating inflammation, blood clotting, blood pressure and blood fat content, thus making them very good for your heart health.

There is now a substantial body of research finding that adequate consumption of Omega 3s, in particular, can help you have a leaner physique, longer lifespan, clearer skin and better overall health. Take a look at this interesting article on Omega 3 from flaxseed and its effect on tummy fat.

So there you go, eat the right type of fat to help you lose weight!

The richest source of omega 3 is fish oil. Eat tuna, salmon, mackerel sardines and other fatty fish. If you are not a big fish eater than you can also get Omega 3 from some nuts (walnuts) and flaxseed (linseeds). Here is a great post on how to get more omega 3 from your diet. You can also take Omega 3 as a supplement.