People sometimes mistakenly think that eating fats would make them fatter. But some fats are essential to our health. Based on research findings, eating healthy fats can actually help us to lose weight.
Our bodies need what we call essential fatty acids. These are polyunsaturated fats that our bodies cannot synthesize, so they have to be included in the food that we eat. Essential fatty acids are used by the body for maintenance of cell membranes and for making prostaglandins, which are chemical messengers that regulate many body processes. One type of essential fatty acid called alpha-linoleic acid, or Omega 3 fatty acid, plays an important role in the process of burning fats. Even when people are fasting, this essential fatty acid is needed by the body to burn more fats.
Foods rich in Omega fatty acids include the following: flaxseeds, mustard seeds, pumpkin seeds, the oil derived from flaxseed called linseed, walnut oil, soya bean, grains, Spirulina, and green leafy vegetables.
Monounsaturated fat or MUFA is another type of healthy fat. MUFA has been found to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate, and helps the body burn fat faster. If you want to burn fat in the stomach area, include MUFA rich foods in each of your meals. The following are rich sources of MUFA: olive oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and avocado.
On the other hand, there are fats that have been found to have deleterious effects on our health. Primary of these types of fats are the trans fats, which are produced by adding hydrogen into liquid fats and turning them into solid fats. Trans fats have been correlated with increased bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), as well as with reducing good cholesterol, otherwise known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). This type of fat has been linked with conditions such as obesity, different types of cancer and heart disease.
There is, however, a naturally occurring type of trans fat that has beneficial effects for the body. This is what is called the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This fat is naturally present in the meat and milk of grazing animals, such as cattle, sheep, venison, goats, kangaroo and bison. CLA has been found to stimulate the loss of fats and to create lean muscle.
It is important to take note, though, that only CLA from natural sources provides the ascribed health benefits. You have to consume them naturally from the beef of grazing animals, and not from food supplements.
There is one other fat that has been positively correlated with burning of body fats. This is the medium chain triglyceride, which are primarily processed from coconut oil. These fats have long been used to aid people with fat digestion problems.
Medium chain triglycerides are different from the more commonly known long chain triglycerides in that they only have 6 to 12 carbon atoms in their carbon chain. This is shorter than the usual 16 or more carbon atoms found in long chain triglycerides. Due to medium chain triglycerides shorter carbon chain, they are digested and metabolized very rapidly compared to regular fats. Generally, they are transported directly to the cells to be burned for energy, so they no longer get stored as body fat. Since they burn very quickly, whatever calories they have just get converted to heat. The heat produced in burning these fats boosts our body’s metabolic rate, which in turn, makes us burn more calories.
One other research finding about medium chain triglycerides is that they are effective as appetite suppressants. Obese patients who were given diets including these fats showed positive, long term results in their diet therapies.