Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly!
Not long ago, the low-fat/no-fat diet craze swept across the food landscape. Manufacturers marketed low-fat and no-fat everything, and consumers responded by chowing down. It’s healthy, right? Wrong. All wrong. Besides stripping our bodies of a much-needed nutrient, low- and no-fat diet movements have increased obesity rates. Why? It turns out that fat provides a big component to the foods we love: Taste. When food manufacturers removed fat from their foods, they had to load the foods with sugar and salt.
Fat is not something to avoid. For starters, it’s essential for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients. Even better, it helps the body burn fat, says nutritionist and owner of Nutritious Life meal system, Keri Glassman, RD, who recommends that about a third of any weight-loss plan’s calories come from dietary fat.
Before you grab a deep-fried hot dog, consider this: not all fatty foods are created equal. The foods you choose can mean the difference between a trim body and one plagued with obesity and disease, Glassman says. While a diet of stereotypically fatty foods like pizza, French fries, and hamburgers can contribute to weight gain and deterioration of health, the dietetic community is learning that the overall nutritional content of these foods—not their saturated fat—is what’s to blame. Sure, research from 50 years ago found that saturated fatty acids, a type of fat that’s “saturated” with hydrogen and typically solid at room temperature, raised LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
But a reevaluation of that research has shown that they raise HDL (good) cholesterol just as much, if not more, protecting the body from unhealthy cholesterol levels and heart disease, says nutritionist and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association Tara Gidus, RD. “Instead of making any one thing in the diet a villain, we need to look at total caloric content as well as quality of food, what are we eating that is ‘good’ and helping our body’s immune system and cells to stay healthy.” Most of the fat that you eat—especially if you want to lose weight—should come from unsaturated sources, both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA), Glassman says. Why? These good-for-you foods (like fish, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, olive oil, and, of course, avocados) pack tons of nutrients. Besides removing LDL cholesterol from arteries and promoting a healthier heart, unsaturated fat can help you burn fat big time without cutting calories.
I posted about this a few months ago. The fat that most Americans get is not in the form that it should be eaten. They are eating fried foods, fast foods too often. The fat in those foods is not good fat. There is good fat out there and such fat burns fat. The body needs three macronutrients for energy: Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. A gram of fat packs more than twice the energy of a gram of the other two. “When you don’t have any fat in your diet its like you don’t have fuel to burn calories,” Glassman says. The body requires energy to keep its metabolism properly functioning, and a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming fatty acids can boost metabolic health.
What’s more, “old” fat stored in the body’s peripheral tissues—around the belly, thighs, or butt (also called subcutaneous fat)—can’t be burned efficiently without “new” fat to help the process, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dietary fat helps break down existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways through the liver. Think of mealtime like baseball spring training: young, hungry players (new fat) hit the field and show the general manger (the liver) that it’s time to send the old, worn-out players (subcutaneous fat) home. And away they go.
* source article: http://www.livestrong.com/article/557726-eat-fat-to-burn-fat/