Obesity has become a very real American Public Health issue in recent years. As a result, there has been quite a bit of conflicting information regarding how much, and what kind fat we should or should not eat. When trying to lose weight, get physically fit, or simply wanting to be healthy, is eating fat good or bad for the body?
A common misconception the general public has about fat, is that eating fat will make you fat. Eating dietary fat does not cause the body to gain weight or become fat. Although new research shows that 84% of the fat from weight loss leaves the body in the form of carbon dioxide through the lungs and 16% turns to water*; it is important to note that only unused calories from dietary protein and carbohydrates get stored in the body as fat, not the fat we eat. Dietary fat (the fat we eat) is digested, and the unused calories from that fat leave the body through urination and excrement.
Good fats such as flaxseed and extra virgin olive oils are very healthy for the body. They not only supply essential omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, they also have a cleansing effect on the arteries. It is important to have a balanced ratio of omega 3 to omega 6**. That is, for every mg of omega 6, we should also have a mg of omega 3. The typical American diet contains far too many omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3, which leads to inflammation and a plethora of illnesses and diseases as a result.
Although essential for health, the average American gets about 20 times the amount of omega 6 as they should, and would benefit from reducing their intake. Canola, safflower, soybean, corn and hydrogenated oils are extremely high in omega 6 fatty acids and should be avoided. On the other hand, omega 3 reduces inflammation, increases good cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, helps to prevent heart disease, and improves or helps prevent quite a few other conditions as well, including but not limited to: arthritis, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes.
Finally, fat is a natural appetite suppressant and slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream as well. In other words, include more good fats in your diet and you will naturally be less hungry and desire to eat less. Additionally, you can avoid the sugar crash and burn by eating plenty of polyunsaturated fat, along with any carbs you eat.
*R. Meerman and A Brown: When Somebody Loses Weight, Where Does the Fat Go? BMJ 2014:349:g7782
** University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-