Are you afraid to eat fat? Well, there is no need. Healthy fats provide a wide array of health benefits, up to and including more efficient fat loss. We need adequate fat to support metabolism, cell signaling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients (such as vitamins A and D). They help reduce inflammation in the body, improve brain and eye function, and keep us satisfied. Most of the time, especially when you are eating real food, Paleo friendly fats, they also taste great.
When looking to lose body fat, it is also important to consider overall health. The brain function, reduced inflammation, cell signaling, and other metabolic functions all contribute to the fat loss puzzle.
Dietary fat has been demonized for years, but there is no need to shun it. Use it to your advantage! Following a Paleo diet, including some naturally occurring fats (or ordering some Pete’s Paleo meals which are all made with some of the best Paleo friendly fats), you can burn fat with fat.
For decades it was purported and surmised that the best way to shed fat (and control calories) was to cut fat from your diet. Since fat contains more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrate, it only made sense that, in order to lose fat, you needed to consume less of it, right? In reality, the experts got it wrong!
Though totally flawed, this low/no-fat dogma was aggressively embraced by the diet industry and medical community alike. Some have likely been successful on these diets due to their stronger-than-average dedication to the program combined with lifestyle modification along with their own bioindividuality. The benefits of including fats in your weight loss program can, however, no longer be ignored.
Eating Fat Displaces Eating Processed and Refined Carbohydrates
When you look at the macronutrient percentages of your diet, everything needs to add up to 100 percent. Eating more of one macronutrient means that your intake of another macronutrient will decrease. Regardless of your goal, it is always important to meet your protein needs first, and then adjust your fat and carbohydrate intake accordingly.
From a fat-loss perspective, displacing carbohydrates by increasing fat in your diet sets the stage for an optimal fat-loss environment. Insulin, released by your body in proportion to the amount of carbohydrates you eat, is the major gatekeeper when it comes to nutrient partitioning by telling nutrients where they can go. Lower overall insulin levels which are achieved by reducing carbohydrates, allow your body to more readily access fat stores for energy while also allowing fat to enter and fuel your muscles.
Eating Fat Enhances Your Body's Ability To Burn Fat (1)
From a biochemical perspective, low-fat diets make little sense. They do little to condition your body to be efficient at burning fat. Instead, they ramp up the enzymatic machinery in your body so it becomes efficient at burning carbohydrates.
Lower-fat diets can also have negative impacts on adipokines which impact fat loss. Adipokines are hormones released specifically from your fat cells. One such hormone, adiponectin, is a true fat-burning hormone that works to enhance your metabolism and increase the rate at which fats are broken down, curbing your appetite. Lower-fat diets lead to lower levels of adiponectin.
Eating Fat Makes You Want To Eat Less
The hormonal and metabolic benefits of eating more fat are great, but one of the best benefits might be how satiating consuming healthy fats can be. There is little more frustrating than following a nutrition plan that leaves you hungry all the time. This is traditionally a huge problem in diets which deny you foods with a higher fat content such as pastured bacon, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish and avocado.
Satiating fat leaves you feeling full. When the fat you eat hits your small intestine, it triggers a cascade of signals which includes the release of hormones such as CCK and PYY. These two hormones play a major role in appetite regulation and satiety; they leave you feeling full and satisfied. The more satiated you are, the less likely that you will be inclined to sneak in snacks between meals or pile on second helpings.
The Best Fats To Eat
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This fat is the best discovery since butter, or bacon (from pastured pigs of course!). Coconut oil tastes delicious, goes with anything and can be used for cooking and spreading. Studies have shown that intake of coconut oil can boost resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness that can sideline you from your high-intensity regimen. Furthermore, it provides support in fighting off yeast, fungus, and candida. Coconut oil positively affects the hormones the govern thyroid activity and blood sugar control. These are two very critical hormones for fat loss. Lastly, coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) that does not store as fat and is a great source of energy.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil reduces the risk of heart disease, blood pressure and certain types of cancer. A recent study found that cooking with heart-healthy olive oil and using it for salad dressing may cut stroke risk. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to help people lose fat without really changing any other part of their lifestyle or diet. Make sure to choose a well-sourced, carefully prepared and processed brand to ensure you are getting all the benefits, like the olive oil used in all Pete’s Paleo meals.
Avocados And Avocado Oil
Avocados provide some great flavor, texture and variety to any meal whilst supporting your fat loss goals. They are loaded with monounsaturated fat, good for many bodily functions along with allowing your body to burn more fat. Avocados are also a perfect substitute to dips that provide little to no nutrition and often include non-Paleo fats. Avocado oil is a little more neutral in flavor as compared to olive oil and has a high smoke point making it ideal to cook with.
Wild-Caught Cold Water Fish
The fattier the fish, the better. Oily fish such as wild caught salmon, tuna, sardines, herrings, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating a few servings of fatty fish per week will help balance out your omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. There are numerous health benefits from the DHA and EPA, two essential nutrients found in fish (and grass finished ruminants) including reduced inflammation to recover from your workouts and sore joints, making it much easier to continue training the way you want to in order to support fat loss.
How many times have you thrown the egg yolk down the drain in pursuit of a leaner physique? This is a mistake of the gravest order, as the egg yolk (from pastured chickens) is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, choline, and other nutrients that help regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system. Although claims persist that the cholesterol in eggs is bad for you, research has linked egg consumption to improved heart health. In actuality, the cholesterol in eggs can help improve testosterone production, which plays a huge role in both physical performance and fat loss. Whole eggs can help to promote satiety and research has shown that consuming a breakfast of eggs can prevent the kind of midday binges and cravings that can sabotage fat loss.
Nuts Or Nut Butters
Your best bet for nutrition is almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, walnuts contain plant based omega-3 fatty acids, and pistachios have lutein and zeaxanthin, all carotenoids that are important for eye health. Research has shown that regular nut eaters are generally leaner, less likely to develop type 2 diabetes and have a reduced risk of heart disease. Nut butters can also be beneficial if you can keep yourself from eating the whole jar, of course. Be aware of the added sugars in some brands if making your own is not an option. Nut butter is an ideal small snack when focusing on fat loss as it is both calorie-rich and provides a modest dose of protein.
Regardless of past success with fat-restricted diets, lowering fat intake does not equate with dropping fat. A little fat could even help make your fat loss more successful!
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com