Fats are a vital part of our diet, whether we like it or not. Maintaining cell membrane integrity would be impossible without fats, and so would storing energy and nerve transmission. Certain types of cancer, however, become a far more likely thread when fat is consumed in excessive amounts, and high cholesterol and heart disease become very real problems.
The fact is that some fats are good and some are not so good. While some fats will increase our risks of heart disease, others are actually good for our health. So when it comes to our diet, the trick is to replace the bad fats with good ones.
Losing weight quickly can be done in any number of different ways. Articles that tell you to cut out fats altogether can be found all over the internet. Hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly if you don’t have a will of steel. But cutting out a vital nutrient without reading up on the subject will not be good for your health. The advice found in these articles is questionable at best, as they often aren’t based in any real science.
A more realistic approach is one that will…
- Help you eat less naturally.
- Stop you feeling hungry while you diet.
- Help you build your metabolic health.
Shortened to MUFAs, monounsaturated fats work to increase your levels of good (HDL) cholesterol while lowering total cholesterol and bad (LDL) cholesterol. They can be found in nuts such as walnuts, pistachios, almonds and peanuts, safflower oil (high oleic), canola and olive oil. If you’re looking to drop body fat, MUFAs may be your best bet as they have been found to help in weight loss.
Like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated also work to lower bad (LDL) and total cholesterol. You can find them in seafood like salmon and fish oil, seeds and nuts including walnuts, and soy, safflower and sunflower oils. This group also includes Omega 3 fatty acids.
Sticking with these good fats can help you lose weight and feel healthier. If you can do this and avoid falling back into old habits, you are much more likely to get the results you want.
Bad cholesterol (LDL) and total blood cholesterol are both increased by a diet high in saturated fats. Although seafood contains polyunsaturated fats, it’s also a source of saturated fats – and so are other animal products like meat, poultry skin and eggs. Palm kernel oil and some other plant foods are also high in saturated fats, so it’s a good idea to cut down on things like cocoa butter and palm oil.
- Acid-base analysis of individuals following two weight loss diets.
- The effect of replacing dietary saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat on plasma lipids in free-living young adults.
- Effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet program compared to a low-fat diet on fasting lipoprotein subclasses.
- Effects on plasma lipoproteins of monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet of African green monkeys.
- The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms.
Also known as trans fats, trans-fatty acids were invented when scientists started creating “hydrogenated” liquid oils that would provide a better shelf life than other fats and withstand the food production process better. Trans fats were formed as a result of this hydrogenation. Hard stick margarine is packed with trans fats, as are many other commercially packaged and fried foods such as chips from some fast food chains, doughnuts and vegetable shortening.
Weight Loss Tip: Cut Down on Sugars and Carbs
The most important part of weight loss is reducing your intake of carbs (starches) and sugars. Your body will then begin to feed off stored fat for energy, instead of burning carbohydrates. This will reduce your hunger levels automatically, and cause you to eat far fewer calories. Cutting out carbohydrates will allow you to eat less without any hunger. This will also cause your kidneys to shed excess sodium and water out of your body, as cutting carbs will lower your insulin levels.
IN SHORT: Without making you any hungrier, cutting carbohydrates and sugar from your diet will lower your insulin levels, make you lose weight and reduce your appetite. Between water weight and body fat, it is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds or even more in your first week of eating this way. This is one natural method that has been proven to actually work.
Our Advice on Fats
- Vegetable shortening, cocoa butter and palm oil should all be avoided, as they are high in saturated fats and trans fats. Flaxseed oil, safflower oil and olive oil are good replacements which are low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Instead of whole milk, try using lower-fat versions of dairy like 1% or skim milk, as saturated fats are found in animal products. Meat products can be made healthier by cutting off any visible fats and skins.
- Cut down on commercially packaged foods which are high in trans fats. Always look for trans-fat free alternatives and be sure to read the label.Quick tip: Protein is the king of nutrients when it comes to weight loss. Low-carb vegetables should be a key part of each of your meals, alongside a source of lean protein and fat.Specific fats have specific roles, even within groups of fats like unsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated. The trick is to understand that each type of fat’s effects on the body will be unique.
Weight Loss Tip: Healthy Fats, Vegetables and Proteins Are Your Friends
A high protein diet can boost your metabolism by up to 100 calories per day, as your body burns calories in order to digest and metabolise the protein you eat. And no other nutrient can quite match fat in terms of calories by weight.
For more information about fitness and weight loss, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Men’s Fitness in 15 Minutes, a ’unique’ fifteen minute plan means that anyone from 18 – 80 can quickly reach their optimum fitness level in just 15 minutes a day. Need2Know also have some great books about weight training for women, Food for Health and women’s fitness. We have all the information you need, whether you’re a seasoned runner, a fitness novice or just a curious reader.