Dietary fat still has a bad rap in the world of food. We suspect that all those “low fat” and “no fat” labels are a consumerism ploy, intended to give you warm fuzzies when considering your food purchase. Whatever reason, we encourage you to “don’t fear the butter” when shopping and eating.
Fats are a pretty confusing topic for most people, simply because the majority of consumers don’t have a firm grasp on some fundamental nutrition basics.
If you’re still trying to figure out a trans-fat from a saturated fat and what you can and can’t eat, read on and learn how eating fat can help you burn body fat.
Should You Eat More Fat?
Before we delve into the world of fats and explain the differences, let’s explain when it’s good to eat fat and when it’s bad.
Fat has been unfairly vilified over the years is because it gets stored away on our love handles when we eat too many total calories, and carbohydrates in particular.
When we eat a meal chocked full of carbs, our body releases insulin in response. Insulin is a storage hormone that ushers nutrients to the places they are needed and if they’re not needed, they have to be stored. It’s job is to clear your blood of sugar.
The bigger the meal, the more carbs released, the more sugar in your bloodstream and the more insulin you need to mop up that sugary mess. Too many big calorie meals means you can’t play catch-up and simply eat less to lose those new calories.
Even though carbs get the reputation of providing energy, your body actually prefers to burn fat for energy first and foremost. The problem is that when there is too much sugar in your system, your body has to burn that sugar before using it’s preferred fuel or you’ll have a system body full of sugar. That’s the onset of Type II Diabetes (Type I is where individuals don’t produce insulin at all and have to take insulin shots to clean up the sugar).
So the problem is not with fat. Our bodies love fat and when you eat a high fat diet that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates, you actually send the signal that there’s no fat shortage, making it an even more preferable source of fuel to burn. Without the sugar, fat gets used up quickly and when dietary fat runs low, the body steals it from you love handles (a crime we can live with).
Typically, the more active and physical a guy is, the more he carbs he can eat.
Are All Fats the Same?
All fats are not created equal. Here’s the low-down on the soft-spread.
Saturated Fats: These fats are generally good for you, despite the age-old perception that they were bad. There’s not much that Mark hasn’t said that we could improve on. Eat your butter and your bacon. They’re actually both very good for you.
Mono-unsaturated: Nuts, Olive Oil, Peanut Butter, Peanut Oil and Sunflower Oil
Polyunsaturated: These are typically liquid fats. They’re in fish oil, peanuts and grain products. Some are good for you and some are bad. Fish oil is the best of the bunch. Grains aren’t so good.
Essential Fatty Acids: These are fats that you’re body can’t produce. We have to get “EFA”s from our food, so they’re important. You might know them better as Omega 3 fats and Omega 6 fats.
Essential Omega 3
Omega 3s enhance fat loss by influencing genes that turn on fat burning processes and they decrease activity of genes that increase fat storage.
Fatty fish, salmon, fattier cuts of tuna (get white albacore instead of chunk light), sardines, egg yolks, flax and nuts all have Omega 3s.
Essential Omega 6:
Omega 6 fats are good for you but be careful not to overdue these or they will promote inflammation in the body, which blocks fat burning.
Walnuts are your best source of Omega 6 fats.
Trans Fats: These are chemically altered fats in that they undergo a process that converts them from a liquid oil to a solid oil through the addition of hydrogen, which allows the fats to have a longer shelf life. You might know them better as “partially hydrogenated oils”. They’re an inexpensively produced fat that large food companies will use to save a little money at the cost of your health.
You’ll find these fats in your sugary crap foods, such as cakes, baked cookies, doughnuts and french fries. They’ll kill ya’, so stay away from them.
Why do I suddenly hear a bear claw and chocolate milk calling my name?