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Monday, 13 October 2014

Fats, what to look for and how to stay trim

by Kyn

When you are eating foods that are high in fat you need to look for what else comes with the fat. If it is a whole food like an avocado, coconut, steak etc then it will provide much more than fat calories. There are fat soluble vitamins dissolved in that fat. There is also protein, minerals and water soluble vitamins.

If the fat is heavily refined during extraction or treatment it tends to lose fat soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, K and K2. Oil can also become damaged. Damaged fatty acids tend to have an inflammatory effect in the body, as the body attempts to make them safe or to eliminate them. As damaged fatty acids change the property of the cell membrane, of cells to which they are incorporated, this can be extremely damaging because it affects the stability of the cell and the distribution of vital proteins in the cell membrane, that are important in regulating what passes into and out of cells, and receptors that detect hormones etc.

The essential fatty acids come in two groups omega 3 and omega 6. You will need these from the diet. These need to be balanced 1:1 or 1:2 respectively. The number one method to increase omega 6 fatty acids is to consume foods that are a concentrated source of omega 6. This sounds obvious but many of the foods we consume like grains, tubers, terrestrial meats, nuts and most seeds are better sources of omega 6 than omega 3. The best sources of omega 6 are bottled vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, cottonseed. Here the oil component is concentrated because it has been removed from the whole food. (It is better to eat the whole food than the oil because you will get protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. The oil in the whole food is also more stable and does not become rancid as easily as when it has been separated into bottles.)

There are exceptions to the foods. There is flaxseed which is a much better supply of omega 3 than 6. Seafoods also tend to be better sources of omega 3 than 6. For instance oily fish, shellfish. Green leafy vegetables also tend to be better sources of omega 3.

So to balance omega 6 with 3, it is best to limit consumption of bottled vegetable oils (you can replace this by eating the whole food from which it comes) and increase consumption of omega 3 rich foods.

Fats are an energy source in the body much like carbs. In diets that are high in fat, very low in carbs and moderate in protein the body is forced into burning fat more efficiently. However, just adding some more carbs will interfere with fat burning. The body definitely favours burning carbs. (Even people that have relied on a fat rich, carb poor diet have discovered that fat burning slows or stops when carbs are eaten in sufficient quantity.)

In terms of fat loss, it does not matter whether you lower calories in fats or carbs. Provided you consume less calories than you use - there will not be any net storage of fat. The body sees both fats and carbs as fuel. (Although some fatty acids are not solely used for fuel because they are important for building signalling molecules in the body, cell membranes, hormones.)

The modern diet of processed oils mixed with sugar has made a food that is extremely high in calories, addictive and easy to eat yet low in protein, vitamins and minerals. The body has requirements for these other components as well. If you choose to make a diet high in these dangerous foods the body can only signal hunger as it becomes deficient in what nutrients it requires. Eating more calorie dense nutrient poor foods only makes this problem worse and promotes fat storage.

This is not to say you should not indulge in these calorie dense foods but it is true you should only do so sparingly. Whole foods are where you should derive most of your nutrition. Whole foods will always provide more nutrients than purified foods - that only concentrate one component.

Providing enough nutrition can help silence the hunger signals your body sends out for good. Helping you stay slim for all time.

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