Eating fats can help you lose weight
So now I have your attention from the title above, it’s true, consuming the right fats can actually aid controlled weight loss.
How I hear you ask? well first let’s consider the role of fats in our diet.
We know that the ‘good’ unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) found in foods such as oily fish and most nuts, alongside carbohydrates and protein make up the 3 essential macro nutrients. Remember this group (macro-nutrients) houses the essential daily nutrients which provide us with energy and support the body’s metabolism which controls weight gain.
If your body has been nourished correctly then at rest Fats supply us with 70% of our energy, meaning when you’re not exercising the body burns its own stored fats alongside carbohydrates to function.
In example at complete rest for one hour you can burn up-to 0.42 calories per pound of body weight. In example if you weigh 150 pounds (75 kilograms) you can burn over 500 calories (1 pound of body fat) across 8 hours of rest (light activity) or sleep. Of course, the rate at which you burn fat is dependent on many factors such as age, weight, sex and metabolism.
Use our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator below to calculate how many calories your body burns at rest and during exercise. Your BMR is determined using your height, weight and age and then dividing your BMR figure by 24.
However, to lose inches by ensuring your body is purely burning fat tissues at rest is not straightforward and naturally there are a few considerations to take on board. The most important of which is getting the balance of our food plates correct. If the body is malnourished (deprived of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals) a process called catabolism (destructive metabolism) will occur which stops the fat burning process and instead sees the body utilise muscle tissue for energy. By not eating enough good fats hunger and mental fatigue will result, which in turn stimulates catabolism and will stop weight loss (fat burning) through malnutrition.
To avoid this chemical reaction taking place we must adhere firstly to the golden rule of nutrition ‘ensure we eat a balanced selection of foods every 2-3 hours’. Remember the breakdown of foods on your plate should always equate close to 50% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 25% vitamins, mineral and fats. To divide these percentages up even further here are some additional numbers relating to dietary fat intake. Any individual’s daily diet should contain no more than 20 grams of saturated fats and, for males and females specifically 18.6 and 13 grams of unsaturated good fats (omega 3 and 6). In total our overall fat intake including bad fats each day should equate to 342 calories (male) and 207 calories (female), or 1.5 to 2.5 fifteen gram tablespoons of organic cooking oil.
UK Statistics show the majority of the population eat up-to 20% over the daily recommendation for saturated fat allowance, with nearly 75% of people in this figure not eating enough good fats (unsaturated). Naturally correcting these ratio’s and getting the population to eat more good and, less bad fats could actually help tackle the current nationwide obesity crisis. To help identify whether you eat enough good fats there are a few warning signs to look out for such as dry skin, poor body temperature regulation and an unpredictable menstrual cycle.
Don’t Always Fear Saturated Fats
In the conclusion of this article I wanted to tackle one commonly paraded myth about fats. Saturated fats taken in the right quantity and sourced away from fast or processed foods are actually good for us. Although this statement is not commonly reported with any great vigour it is proven and is the reason why experts recommend 20 to sometimes 30 grams of daily maximum saturated fat intake and not 0 grams. The consumption of saturated fats from palm oils and animal fats are pivotal alongside good fats for the body’s health and proper function, as they help to support the immune system, bones, heart and lungs. In contrast saturated fats encased in commercial baked goods such as cakes and fried foods additionally contain trans fats, often labelled by the media as the ‘worst type of fat’. Trans fats have acquired this tag due to evidence that they increase the risk of heart disease, lower good (HDL) cholesterol and raise bad (LDL) cholesterol.
My hope is from reading the information in this article you now understand and no longer fear saturated or unsaturated fats and realise that the correct consumption of both will only serve to improve your health and aid the body’s fat burning processes.
Believe it or not eating more fats could be the missing key to unlocking your optimal health.
Sean Burgess (MSc, BSc (Hons), ASCC, MGBT)
SB Fitness Founder