What what? eat fat to lose fat? Many are shocked by this statement, because for several generations the belief has been maintained that IF YOU EAT FAT YOU GET FAT.
But there is good news: science has shown that this is not entirely true. Not all fats are bad and to lose weight it is essential that you consume saturated and unsaturated fats, in the right amounts.
In this post, I am going to tell you everything you need to eat fat, choosing the ones that can help you achieve the results you are looking for and avoiding the ones that harm your process.
What is fat?
Like carbohydrates and protein, fats are macronutrients , essential substances that your body needs to generate energy and perform many bodily processes.
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories, more than double that of carbohydrates or protein, which provide 4 calories per gram. They are also called lipids.
They are composed mainly of triglycerides , which, in turn, have simpler structures known as fatty acids. They can be solid or liquid.
You need this macronutrient for many important functions:
If the ingested fat is not burned for energy or used for the functions I just mentioned, it is stored as adipose (fat) cells. If you want to know everything about how the body burns fat, read this article: [Fat is lost like this] This happens in your body when you try to lose extra fat
This is the logic that the body follows: it stores fat for future use. So when food is scarce, you can stock up on energy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily fat intake between 15-30% of total daily caloric intake.
What types of fats are present in food?
Fats are divided into three types:
- Saturated fats : They occur naturally in many foods, mainly from animal sources, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, as well as some vegetable oils (palm, palm kernel, and coconut).
They are widely used in the processed food industry such as snacks, cookies, cakes, chocolate, dressings, among others. They are characterized in that they solidify at room temperature.
Saturated fats have long had a reputation as the "bad fats." So much so that the American Heart Association warns that excessive consumption can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
However, recent studies indicate that there is no conclusive evidence to link saturated fat with an increased risk of heart disease. Moderate consumption has also been shown to be more favorable than excessive carbohydrate eating.
As their sources are very varied, they have been criminalized, since you find them in junk food, chips, pastry products and industrial pastries. And, the truth, what you should reduce is the consumption of processed foods that are not healthy at all, to help lower cholesterol levels and improve your cardiovascular health.
In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that 5-6% of the calories you eat each day come from saturated fat. For its part, the WHO recommends that its intake should not exceed 10%.
- Trans fats: are those that are modified by an industrial process called hydrogenation, which increases the shelf life of fats and makes them harder at room temperature. They are found in processed foods, snack foods, cookies, some margarines, and salad dressings.
Trans fats can cause very negative effects, since they increase the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglycerides, increasing the risk of you suffering from coronary and heart diseases. They are also linked to weight gain and a higher incidence of abdominal obesity.
Its danger, in the medium and long term, forces manufacturers to declare it on the labels.
- Unsaturated fats : they are known as healthy fats, although thanks to the latest research, this position tends to disappear, as there are also healthy saturated fats. These are classified into:
• Monounsaturated : the most representative is oleic acid present mainly in olive oil. They are also found in walnuts, almonds, and avocados.
Its consumption helps maintain normal levels of good cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the blood, prevent heart disease and could promote weight loss over time.
• Polyunsaturated : they are essential for your body (your body does not produce them) and you must obtain them from your daily diet to regulate your cardiovascular, immune and respiratory systems. You find them in foods of plant and animal origin.
Among the polyunsaturated fats we have two types:
• The Omega 3 : you find them in soybean oil, nuts (walnuts), fatty fish such as salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, anchovy, sardines, etc. If you consume linolenic acid you will contribute to maintaining your normal blood cholesterol levels. In addition, it can reduce the accumulation of fats throughout the body.
Its beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 2 grams of this fatty acid.
• Omega 6: are essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid present in soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil and dried fruits (walnuts, among others). The consumption of linoleic acid contributes to maintaining your normal blood cholesterol levels.
To see its benefits, it is recommended to consume 10 grams of linoleic acid daily.
What foods can you get fat from to lose fat?
It is important to choose saturated and unsaturated fats, through fresh foods and as natural as possible.
Avoid processed and ultra-processed foods because they can hide other ingredients such as sugars, carbohydrates, and trans fats, which are not very nutritious and even harmful to health and weight.
I will give you a list of some foods that provide the ideal fats when losing fat and losing weight:
Foods that provide unsaturated fats:
- Extra virgin olive oil: of all the oils available, extra virgin olive oil is one of the ones with the best properties. Not only does it have unsaturated fats, but it is a source of polyphenols that reduce inflammation in your body and benefit metabolism.
In addition, its components help you achieve satiety and, therefore, lose fat and weight, lower risks of cardiovascular problems and even cancer. This should be the oil that you use regularly in your diet.
- Avocado: it is a source of monounsaturated fats and other nutrients that, according to South African scientists, help to lose weight. It offers antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, carotenes and fiber to fill you up and have a quality diet.
- Peanut (peanut): it is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, as well as fiber and vegetable proteins that effectively fill you up.
- Nuts: they are associated with a lower risk of obesity, since they induce the release of serotonin, which reduces anxiety about eating. They are high in fiber and vegetable proteins that satiate effectively, as well as antioxidants that protect health.
- Oily fish: salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, horse mackerel or others, are a source of omega 3; above all, acids commonly known as DHA and EPA, which are related to a better body composition (higher percentage of lean mass and less body fat), which could be key when losing weight.
- Seeds: they are rich in omega 3 of plant origin, specifically in alpha linolenic acid that helps you lose weight and take care of your health. They also have other good properties and nutrients such as calcium, fiber and vegetable proteins that are satiating.
Foods that provide saturated fats:
- Whole dairy and derivatives: such as yogurt, margarine, cheese rich in saturated fatty acids.
Dairy is the food group that has done the most to change the general perspective on the health implications of saturated fat.
And, there are more and more studies that relate the consumption of whole dairy with greater healthy effects. In addition, the fat contained in dairy helps increase satiety and control your appetite.
- Red meat: such as beef, pork, chicken and fish, as well as its sausages and pate are sources of saturated fatty acids. Ideally, they come from animals raised in healthy environments, without hormones or genetically modified organisms.
- Virgin coconut oil: it is one of the foods with the highest saturated fat content.
As you can see, fats deserve a privileged place in your diet to lose weight, because they can not only help you lose weight, but also promote your health.
A diet to lose fat and a few extra pounds should be balanced, varied and include a proportion of complex carbohydrates rich in fiber, saturated and unsaturated fats, animal and vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.
It may also contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Remember to eat them in the correct amounts to give your body the fatty acids it needs.
And avoid foods rich in trans fats, since in addition to being harmful to your health, they slow down your metabolism and accumulate where you least want them.