5 Reasons Why People Should Eat Healthy Fat To Lose Weight
For many years, fat has been depicted as an evil, terrifying monster that is the root cause of many of our health problems such as heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol. During the 1990s and early 2000’s, there was a low-fat diet craze which trumpeted the benefits of eliminating fat from peoples’ diets.
Even today, a lot of people believe that a drastic reduction in fat intake will help them lose weight. This notion has, however, been proved to be untrue. Research done in Harvard University in 2007 established that you can lose weight with different diets which are not low in fat, as long as you consume fewer calories.
Essentially, eliminating fat does not translate automatically to weight loss, and may even have unpleasant consequences for your health. This is because the amount of fat stored in your body has a significant influence on your metabolism in several ways.
If you eat too little of fat, this can affect your feelings and general mood, particularly when you are trying to eat less. Eating a moderate amount of fat can actually assist you to lose weight without getting feelings of deprivation.
There are different kinds of fats found in different foods in varying amounts. Meats, dairy products, and processed foods such as biscuits and cookies contain high levels of the unhealthy (bad) saturated fats. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are excellent sources of healthy (good) unsaturated fats.
Trans fats are the result of adding hydrogen molecules (also called hydrogenation) to unsaturated fats, usually vegetable oils, and this is done to increase their shelf life. However, they are extremely harmful and should be eliminated altogether from your food since they increase levels of the dangerous LDL cholesterol in the blood while lowering the amounts of the healthy HDL cholesterol in your blood.
The difference in chemical structure between unsaturated and saturated fats lies in the double bonds of the fatty acid chain. Saturated fats have no double bonds between the carbon atoms, unlike unsaturated fats which have at least one double bond in the chain of the fatty acid.
Unsaturated fats are liquids at room temperature, unlike saturated fats and trans fats, which are solids. Unsaturated fats are further divided into monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil) and polyunsaturated fats (such as corn oil and sunflower oil).
It is not practical to completely eliminate saturated fats from your diet since it is normally present, in tiny amounts, in many foods. However, substituting saturated fats with unsaturated fats has been proven to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, which is one of the primary risk factors in the development of cardiovascular complications such as heart disease.
For better heart health, you need to pay attention to the amount of saturated and unsaturated fats you consume. Here are 5 reasons people should eat fat to lose weight:
#1 Fats are essential nutrients for our bodies
Fats are among the essential macro-nutrients that your body needs (together carbohydrates and proteins) for proper functioning. When your body lacks enough essential nutrients, it sends hunger signals, making you eat until it gets them. Some essential fatty acids must come from your diet since they cannot be made by the body.
Examples of such fatty acids include omega-3 and omega-6. Nuts, fish, and seeds are good sources of essential fatty acids. Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats also play a role in maintaining proper body health.
#2 Fats help to slow down digestion
Another reason why fat is vital in losing fat is because it slows down digestion. After you eat carbs, they are synthesized into glucose and carried to the bloodstream. Insulin then carries the glucose to your muscle tissues, or converts it to fat in case glycogen stores are full. If there is excess glucose in the blood at any one time, increased insulin is released- stopping the release of fatty acids.
Fat is therefore not released when your insulin levels are high. It slows down digestion of your food, causing a steady release of glucose into your bloodstream. This helps to keep insulin levels down, and assists in fat mobilization. In a nutshell, the addition of some amount of fat to your food slows down the synthesis (breaking down) of carbohydrates, hence enhancing your potential to burn fat.
#3 Fats help in the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins
Particular fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K can only be digested and transported in the presence of fats. These vitamins are crucial for many body functions, including eyesight, healthy hair and skin, calcium absorption, and blood clotting.
When you limit your fat intake, you are negatively impacting on your ability to absorb and transport these fat-soluble vitamins. Even though they do not directly affect fat loss, these vitamins work in conjunction with other nutrients and vitamins to produce hormones and ensure optimal functioning of your nervous system. This in turn affects the process of weight loss.
#4 Fats enhance testosterone production
Testosterone is one of the most critical hormones when it comes to muscle-building for both men and women. This hormone is needed by both sexes for optimal functioning of the body. Intake of dietary fat has been shown to affect levels of testosterone. Getting about 30% of your calories from monounsaturated and saturated fats has been shown to enhance testosterone levels.
Saturated fats are vital for many body functions. They boost the immune system and help to maintain a good cell structure in our bodies. They are crucial in the formation and working of such hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. In other words, fat boosts hormones which help build muscle. Muscles, need more energy to function, so they help boost metabolism and burn more fat.
#5 Fat tastes good and is real food
Another persuasive reason for keeping fat in your diet is that it makes food taste good. It imparts a creamy texture and appetizing aroma to the foods we like to eat. When you eliminate such foods from your diet, you may turn to over-processed and refined substitutes which contain high levels of salt, chemical additives, and sugar.
These foods may also contain carbohydrate-based fat replacers which are designed to mimic the texture and flavor of natural fats. It’s worthwhile to note that sugars and refined carbohydrates are addictive, and eating them may result in getting cravings and over-consumption. It’s much better to eat the real thing, just make sure to use portion control.
In conclusion, the fear of fats is unfounded. There are good fats that are healthy. It’s eating too many calories (especially from carbohydrate sources) is the real enemy.