“Instead of making any one thing in diet a villain, we need to look at total calorific content as well as quality of food, what are we eating that is ‘good’ and helping our body’s immune system and cells stay healthy” – Tara Gidus, RD and national spokesperson for Amercian Dietetic Association.
Fat is one of the most essential macronutrient, therefore it cannot be avoided. It is essential for normal growth and development. Fat has highest energy density of the macronutrient (37kJ/g) hence provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membrane and helps the body to absorb and process nutrients.
Even it helps to burn fat i.e about a part of weight loss plans, the calories come from dietary fat.
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The principal polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) is essential fatty acids, which humans cannot synthesise de novo. Therefore, they are to be included in our diet as after processing they form a part of lipid membranes in all cells. Fish oils are rich in omega-3 PUFA which occurs in lipids of human brains and retina.
If you want to lose weight most of the fat should come from unsaturated sources, both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Sources like fish, leafy vegetables, nuts, avocados, olive oil pack tons of nutrients. PUFA promotes decrease in concentrations of LDL (Low density lipoprotein) in circulation thereby preventing coronary heart disease.
A 2009 study in British Journal of Nutrition, found that participants who consumed the most unsaturated fatty acids have lower body mass indexes than who consumed the least because they ate high quality foods.
As in my previous journal I explained that body requires energy to keep up its metabolism proper. Consuming fatty acids can boost metabolic health.
Interestingly, “old” fat stored in body’s peripheral tissues i.e belly, thighs or butt can’t be burned efficiently without the “new “fat. Dietary fat helps breakdown existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat burning pathways through the liver.
The other reasons why fat is important ingredient in losing weight
- Fat keeps you full – fat is not the easiest to digest. That means you won’t be getting hunger pangs after few hours of meals as it keeps you full. Diets consisting of omega-3 fatty acids create a greater fullness. The result leads to weight loss.
- Fat builds muscles – consuming healthy fats with exercise can help you increase muscles as increasing muscle mass is vital to increasing metabolism and burning calories.
In a 2011 study published in Clinical science, researchers examined the effects of eight weeks of PUFA supplementation in adults ages 25 to 45 and found that the fat increases the protein concentration and size of muscular cells in the body. Previous studies have found that omega-3-fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis in older adults and can mediate muscle mass loss due to ageing.
- Absorption of other nutrients is through fat – vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble. Hence in absence of fat body can’t absorb these nutrients thereby causing many vitamin deficiency symptoms.
Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant also helps in maintaining metabolism while levels of vitamin D predict its ability to lose fat especially in the abdominal region.
Therefore it is important to note that its not wise to cut down fat completely from your diet but its about maintaining all the macro and micro nutrients balanced. Cause no/low fat is not in trend it’s the good fat which ought to be looked upon to stay fit and healthy.
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