It gets a bad rap, but adding some fat to your diet may be the key to a LEANER you.
Fat Burns Fat
The body needs three macronutrients for energy: Carbohydrates, protein, and fat. A gram of fat packs more than twice the energy of a gram of the other two. “When you don’t have any fat in your diet its like you don’t have fuel to burn calories,” Glassman says. The body requires energy to keep its metabolism properly functioning, and a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming fatty acids can boost metabolic health.
What’s more, “old” fat stored in the body’s peripheral tissues—around the belly, thighs, or butt (also called subcutaneous fat)—can’t be burned efficiently without “new” fat to help the process, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dietary fat helps break down existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways through the liver.
Think of mealtime like Rugby summer training: young, hungry players (new fat) hit the field and show the general manager (the liver) that it’s time to send the old, worn-out players (subcutaneous fat) home. And away they go.
Fat Keeps You Full
Fat isn’t the easiest nutrient to digest, so it sticks around in the digestive system for more time than many other nutrients. Fats also help stabilise blood sugar levels. That means you feel full longer, and you won’t feel the stomach-growling urge to raid the refrigerator after mealtime.
In fact, diets with high amounts of omega-3 fatty acid that the body can only acquire through food, create a greater sense of fullness both immediately following and two hours after dinner than do meals with low levels of the fatty acids, according to a 2008 study from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. It’s no surprise that dieters who consume moderate levels of fat are more likely to stick with their eating plans than dieters who consume low levels of fat. The result? More weight lost.
Fat Makes You Happy
Everyone says that dieting, not to put too fine a point on it, stinks. Eating awesome tasting foods makes you happy, and it turns out low-fat versions just don’t do the trick for one surprising reason: We can taste the fat — not just the salt, sugar and other goodies in food.
Recent research from Purdue University shows that our taste buds can detect fat in food, which helps explain why low-fat foods don’t curb our fat cravings. According to the research, fat may be an entirely different basic taste than what we’ve long considered the four mainstays: sweet, salty, sour and bitter.
On an even better fat note, omega-3 fatty acids can boost serotonin levels in the brain, helping to improve mood, increase motivation and keep you from devouring an extra LARGE Dominos like it’s your job. 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men have suffered from diagnosed binge-eating disorders, while millions of more people are occasional emotional eaters, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
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