Why You Should Eat Healthy Fat to Burn Fat and Lose Weight

healthy fats, fat loss, weight loss, healthy fats for fat loss, how to lose weight fast

The Benefits of Consuming Healthy Fat for Fat Loss and Overall Health

While we often don’t think of it this way, fat is quite an essential nutrient. It is one of three macronutrients our bodies need to function optimally (the other two are carbohydrates and protein).


Dietary healthy fat supplies the body with fatty acids. Fatty acids are essential to vitamin absorption, healthy skin, growth, fertility, and bodily function regulation. 


In addition, healthy fats burn fat and build muscle.

What Science Has to Say About Fat

In general, health experts say it is time to stop being afraid of fat. 


According to recent studies, a moderate intake of healthy fat may start benefitting your body in as little as a week. 


For instance, avocados could increase satiation, allowing you to feel fuller longer. Adding avocado to a chicken salad could keep you feeling fuller longer than if you did not include it.


In one study, subjects who ate avocado in the morning reported being less hungry and consuming less food over the next six hours than those who ate bigger breakfasts without an avocado. 


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The Connection Between Eating Healthy Fat and Losing Weight

People are often surprised to hear how eating fat can affect weight loss. After all, isn’t eating fat counterproductive to losing it? It turns out the answer is no. Here’s why: 


Fats Help You Feel Fuller 


Eating a meal with healthy fat makes you more likely to feel fuller than not including healthy fats. Sticking to healthy fats means you might end up eating significantly less per meal.


Healthy Fats Work with Fiber


If the goal is to prevent overeating, then the combination of fats and fiber is ideal, and avocados are a prime example. These two “Fs” are perfect for helping you feel full and encouraging you to skip seconds. Nuts also provide healthy fat and fiber.


It’s Easier to Eat Your Daily Veggies


Fats are savory, making them a great addition to healthy, fiber-rich veggies. Many greens are superfoods that can boost weight loss success but aren’t always the tastiest thing on the menu. For this reason, some olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee can improve the taste of these vegetables, so long as you don’t go overboard. 


Healthy Fats Help Balance Your Diet


The “food pyramid” taught you that nutrition is all about balance. While there aren’t any “one-size-fits-all” approaches to losing weight, balancing what you eat, including fat, is important.


Fat Helps Build Muscle


Fat enhances muscle development in several ways. Healthy fat plays a significant role in muscle cell growth and development. It also promotes protein synthesis (i.e., protein molecule creation).


Fat Maintains Cell Membrane Health


According to Thenaturalvet.net, healthy fats nourish cell membranes for humans and animals, enabling the nutrients to go in and out of the cells easier. For example, healthy cell membranes increase the accessibility of hormones, like T3 (thyroid hormones), to enter the cells.


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Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated fats
are primarily derived from plant sources, including almonds and avocados. They may help lower LDL cholesterol in the blood and benefit the heart. The American Heart Association highly recommends the daily consumption of foods high in monounsaturated fats. 


Some examples include nuts, avocados, and olive oil.


Polyunsaturated fats are commonly found in fish like trout or salmon but are also in tree nuts. These fats, associated with omega-3 fatty acids, may decrease the risk of developing certain health problems, including heart disease and specific types of cancers. 


Sources of polyunsaturated fats include fish such as Alaskan pollock, skipjack canned light tuna, anchovies, Atlantic mackerel, cod, herring, wild-caught salmon, sardines, and trout. These fish contain some of the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil supplements are also available for people who do not consume fish.


Omega 3 is available in supplement form, algal oil, fortified products (e.g., fortified eggs and certain dairy products), oysters, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.


There are three types of polyunsaturated fats, omega 3, 6, and 9. There is growing concern regarding the consumption of omega 6.



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The Consumption Ratio Between Omega-6 and Omega-3 is Disproportionate

Omega-6 is a polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oils such as soybean, corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and cottonseed. Some also contain monounsaturated fat, though in a much lower concentration than polyunsaturated fat.


In their natural state, these oils may not pose a problem when consumed in limited quantities; however, there is an ongoing debate regarding how healthy these specific oils are to eat (a).


Some experts believe omega-6 oils are pro-inflammatory because they could induce inflammation in the body (a). The overconsumption of omega-6 has been linked to inflammatory, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have suggested their pro-inflammatory because they may encourage the development of chronic diseases and ailments (a).


Omega-6 oils are in processed foods like fully-hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil blends for cooking/frying, trans fat, fast food, commercial salad dressings, mayonnaise, packaged snacks, fried foods, fast foods, cookies, and cakes, to name a few.


The typical western diet has an excess of omega-6 but lacks omega-3. In recent decades, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the consumption of omega-6 fat and a sharp rise in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, asthma, metabolic syndrome, IBS, macular degeneration, psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and weight gain. 


Too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 could potentially expose our bodies to many chronic illnesses and diseases (a).


Maintaining a proper omega-6-to-omega-3 ratio is required (1). Experts recommend a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio (1). Unfortunately, many people consume more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids to the point where the ratio could be as high as 30:1 (Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio) (1).

Unhealthy Fats

Saturated fats 
are usually solid at room temperature and include butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil, bacon fat, and hot dogs, to name a few.


There is much controversy surrounding the consumption of saturated fat. Some experts believe consumption in moderation isn’t dangerous, especially when it comes from natural sources like grass-fed organic red meat, butter, or coconut oil. Other experts believe we should limit our consumption as much as possible. 


The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest we only get 10% of our total calories from saturated fat. It’s also highly recommended to avoid or severely limit saturated fat from processed meat (e.g., hot dogs, sausages, pizza, and bacon fat).


Trans fats are artificial fats produced by injecting vegetable oils with hydrogen. They proved to be so unhealthy that they are no longer allowed in U.S. foods. In addition, the FDA no longer considers them safe for consumption. 


How much fat should we eat? There is not a one size fits all approach to consuming fat. However, there are general guidelines that one could follow:

According to ClevelandClinic

Total fat. The dietary reference intake (DRI) for fat in adults is 20% to 35% of total calories from fat. That is about 44 grams to 77 grams of fat per day if you eat 2,000 calories a day. It is recommended to eat more of some types of fats because they provide health benefits.

According to the MayoClinic

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following targets for healthy adults:

  • Total fat: 20% to 35% of daily calories

  • Saturated fat: 10% or less of daily calories

They further elaborated:

Here’s an example based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet:

  • Multiply 2,000 by 0.20 (20%) to get 400 calories and by 0.35 (35%) to get 700 calories.

  • Multiply 2,000 by 0.10 (10%) to get 200 calories.

Popular Diets Incorporate Healthy Fat into Their Regimens

According to some studies, the moderate-high-fat “Mediterranean Diet” has helped many people shed weight without significantly cutting calories or increasing exercise. Olive oil, fresh seafood, complex carbohydrates, and other aspects of Mediterranean cuisine are considered beneficial to weight loss. 

The extremely popular Keto diet includes high amounts of healthy fat, moderate protein, and few carbohydrates (or foods low in carbohydrates but high in fiber).

Remember the infatuation with the low-carb Atkin’s Diet from the early 2000s? Based on science, it is pro-fat (even though it tends to focus more on protein). However, it has also been labeled a “fad” because of its strict rules regarding carbohydrate consumption.

The Controversy Surrounding Macro-Nutrient Deficient Diets.

Except for the Mediterranean Diet and DASH, many experts argue that the Keto diet is just another “fad” diet. It is considered a fad diet because it is based on severely limiting a macronutrient group. 

There are also concerns about potential health problems with long-term consumption of high-fat diets (even if the fat comes from healthy sources). Some studies show the pros and cons of diets like Keto and Atkins. Some people have complained about the problems they experienced while on these diets. Like any other diet considered a fad, there are pros and cons.

Many argue that another “fad” diet will replace Keto, just like Atkins and Paleo. People often jump from one diet to the next hoping to lose weight permanently. Research has repeatedly shown that “fad” diets are not sustainable for long-term weight loss success.


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Final Thoughts

Healthy fats are needed for all facets of health. They are required for vitamin absorption, healthy skin and eyes, growth and development, fertility, hormone production, and … weight loss
. We should aim to include a moderate amount of healthy fat in our diet to take advantage of their benefits.

When it comes to fad diets, as long as physiological issues don’t get addressed, a person will continue to jump from one diet to another in an attempt to find a permanent solution to their weight loss struggles.  

When physiological issues get addressed, this need becomes obsolete.


(a) How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick; by CHRIS KRESSER; Posted on MAY 8, 2010


(a) Joe Hibbeln: More “Vegetable” Oil? MORE Heart Deaths; by Shelley; Posted on March 10, 2013; http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2013/03/10/vegetable-oil-associated-with-more-heart-deaths-nih-scientist-joe-hibbeln/

(a) Health Implications of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3335257/

(a) Why Oil is Bad for You; Written by MARK HYMAN, MD; https://drhyman.com/blog/2016/01/29/why-oil-is-bad-for-you/

(a) Diet and disease–the Israeli paradox: possible dangers of a high omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid diet..; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8960090

(a) Women’s Excess Omega-6 Intake Raises Health Risks; https://www.vitalchoice.com/article/women-s-excess-omega-6-intake-raises-health-risks

(a) US Obesity Crisis Fueled by Omega-6; BY HEALTH CORPS; POSTED 12/06/2016; https://www.healthcorps.org/13539-2/

(a) How to Optimize Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio; Written by Kris Gunnars, BSc on June 11, 2018; https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/optimize-omega-6-omega-3-ratio

(a) Omega-6 fatty acids; http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids

(a) Lipid Peroxidation by-Products and the Metabolic Syndrome; https://www.intechopen.com/books/lipid-peroxidation/lipid-peroxidation-by-products-and-the-metabolic-syndrome

(1) An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity; By Artemis P. Simopoulos; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808858/

(1) Health Implications of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3335257/

(1) Omega-3 vs Omega-6; https://wellnessmama.com/14433/omega-6-vs-omega-3/

(1) 10 Foods That Cause Inflammation; Amy Ahlberg; https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/10-foods-cause-inflammation

(1) An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808858/

(1) List of Good Fats and Oils versus Bad; Written by Dr. Cate on April 9th, 2017; http://drcate.com/list-of-good-fats-and-oils-versus-bad/

Nutrition; Volume 41, September 2017, Pages 14-23; Hunger and satiety responses to high-fat meals after a high-polyunsaturated fat diet: A randomized trial
Jada L. Stevenson Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D., Chad M. Paton Ph.D., Jamie A. Cooper Ph.D.; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900717300588

Facts about polyunsaturated fats; MedlinePlus; Updated by Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000747.htm#:~:text=Polyunsaturated%20fat%20is%20a%20type,and%20some%20nuts%20and%20seeds.

Polyunsaturated Fat; American Heart Association, Inc.; https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/polyunsaturated-fats

Fats and Their Relationship to Cell Membrane Function; -S. Moore; Agricultural Biotechnology 101; 22 October 2005

Choosing Healthy Fats; HelpGuide.org.;https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm

Facts about monounsaturated fats; MedlinePlus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000785.htm#:~:text=Monounsaturated%20fat%20is%20a%20type,are%20solid%20at%20room%20temperature.

Monounsaturated Fat; American Heart Association; https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/monounsaturated-fats

Nutrition and healthy eating; What are MUFAs, and should I include them in my diet?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.; Heart-Healthy Fats — It’s the Type—Not the Amount—That Matters; By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE; Today’s Dietitian; Vol. 15 No. 9 P. 14


The Skinny on Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats; How fats fit into your healthy diet.; By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD; https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats#1

Choose Healthy Fats; By Barbara Gordon, RDN, LD; https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/choose-healthy-fats

Why fat in your diet is good for weight loss, glowing skin and more; By Gabrielle Frank; Sept. 14, 2016; https://www.today.com/health/why-fat-your-diet-good-weight-loss-glowing-skin-t102800

All About Healthy Fats; By Ryan Andrews, MS, MA, RD, RYT, CSCS; https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-healthy-fats

Does Fat Intake Cause Muscle Growth?; By Gord KerrUpdated March 11, 2020; Reviewed by Lindsey Elizabeth Pfau, MS, RD, CSSD; https://www.livestrong.com/article/428268-fat-intake-causes-muscle-growth/

Why You Need to Eat Fat to Burn Fat; https://www.fatforweightloss.com.au/eat-fat-burn-fat/#:~:text=Fat%20Builds%20Muscle&text=Increasing%20muscle%20mass%20is%20vital,protein%20concentration%20in%20your%20body.

These Are the Only 2 Diets Most People Are Able to Maintain Long-term; Erin Kayata; https://www.thehealthy.com/weight-loss/longterm-diets-mediterranean-dash/


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