We are creatures controlled by hormones and what we eat varies our bodies hormonal responses. Our bodies get energy from our foods that contain fat, carbohydrates and proteins. Each of these are metabolised differently in the body: complex carbs are metabolised differently to simple carbs; the same with saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Therefore, the hormonal response varies depending on the food source.
For example, if you eat 500 calories of meat (PROTEIN) it provokes a greater thermic affect than the consumption of 500 calories of cake (CARBS/FATS). Thermic effect is a hormonal response that refers to the amount of energy the body uses to process food. The lower the thermic affect the easier it is for food to be turned into body fat. Proteins have the greatest thermic effect, saturated fats and simple carbs have the lowest.
Experiments have been conducted where different groups of people have been given calorically equal diets of 90% fat, 90% protein and 90% carbs. So for example if each group was given a 1000 calories a day 900 of those calories would come from either fat, protein or carbs. The number of calories each group consumed each day were the same. However the outcomes were very different: the group fed on fats lost the most weight each day; then the group fed on protein lost the least amount of weight each day; but the group fed on carbs gained weight each day.
So the group eating 90% fat lost the most weight, proof that fat is not the enemy. However, before you all rush out and start to buy blocks of lard and only eat a diet of fatty fast foods, remember the body metabolises saturated and unsaturated fats differently. Therefore the thermic affect is different !
So which type of fats do you want and need in order to start losing weight, purely by eating. Yes that’s right, you can lose weight simply by eating.
Fats, very simply, are what keeps our joints healthy and interior walls clean and clear.They provide linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid for growth, healthy skin and metabolism. It also helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K). And, face it, fat adds flavor and is satisfying, making us feel fuller, keeping hunger at bay. They are broken down into two groups saturated and unsaturated.
Saturated fats are found in animal products and processed foods, such as meats, dairy products, chips, and pastries. The chemical structure of a saturated fat is fully saturated with hydrogen atoms, and does not contain double bonds between carbon atoms.
Unsaturated fats on the other hand, are found in foods such as nuts, avocados, and olives. They are liquid at room temperature and differ from saturated fats in that their chemical structure contains double bonds.
So from what we’ve learnt above you want to make sure the majority of your fats are unsaturated as they have a greater thermic affect than saturated fats. How does this translate into everyday life ? Cook with liquid fats like canola oil or rapeseed oil. Have nuts and seeds as snacks instead of crisps and chocolates. If you are counting calories, increase the amount of calories each day from unsaturated fats and lower the amount of calories you take in from carbs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fats but will hopefully help you understand them a little bit more and realise that they are not the enemy and are essential in maintaining healthy function, growing lean tissue and losing weight