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Eat Fat, Lose Weight

September 14, 2010
(Article first published as Eat Fat to Boost Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Fat has been vilified over the past half century, as many people have been led to believe it promotes poor health and leads to abdominal weight gain. Fats are one of the three macronutrients required for normal cellular functioning within the body and are necessary for optimal health, as well as being a contributor to healthy weight loss and weight maintenance. You can use fat to your advantage as you make the necessary dietary modifications to lose weight, as long as you make the proper fat choices.

Fat Metabolism Controlled by Hormones
Weight gain or loss is largely under the control of a very intricate system of hormonal balance, and is very sensitive to wild swings in blood sugar which leads to insulin resistance. Once insulin becomes metabolically inactive, it is unable to usher sugar from the blood into the cells and muscles where it’s required to provide energy to your cells. This is the beginning of metabolic syndrome and can lead to diabetes, heart disease and an early death.

Sugar, Not Fat Leads to Weight Gain
Sugar and refined carbs cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise and drop, making you want another sugar fix to start the process all over again. As this process is repeated multiple times each day, insulin becomes less able to flush excess sugar from the blood after each meal, and the sugar remains in circulation. In an attempt to prevent further damage, the body converts the excess sugar to triglycerides which are stored as fat for future use. Dietary fats have no effect on blood sugar or insulin, and don’t directly lead to weight gain.

Healthy Fat Diet Shown to Decrease Waistline

Information from a study published in the International Journal of Obesity illustrates the effect of fat consumption on weight loss in two groups of obese participants. One group ate a reduced calorie diet with 18% of calories coming from fat, while the second consumed the same number of calories, except 39% of their calories were supplied by an almond-enriched fat diet.

After 6 months, the group eating the higher fat diet had a 62% greater reduction in body mass index (BMI), combined with a 50% reduction in waist size and 56% lower body fat when compared with the low fat group. The low fat group ate a high carbohydrate diet which converted to excess blood sugar and hampered their weight loss success, while the healthy higher fat group was able to lose much more fat eating the same number of calories.

Adding the Correct Fat to Your Diet

The results of this study underscore the importance of including the right fats in your diet to meet your weight loss target. Choose monounsaturated fats from natural food sources such as almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and olive oil, while avoiding vegetable oils and fats cooked at high temperatures. Overcooking oil causes hydrogenation and unhealthy trans fats which not only will pack on the pounds, but also leads to increased risk from heart disease and cancer.

Changing the way you think about dietary fat is an important first step toward improved health and natural weight loss. It’s easy to think of fat as a source of artery clogging plaque, but the body is much more sophisticated, and readily converts the fat you eat into cellular components needed for replication and not into stored fat. Eat monounsaturated fats in moderation, eliminate sugar and processed carbs from your diet and be rewarded with improved health and natural weight loss.

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