Fat and Its Effects On Weight Loss

Unlike most animals, humans are a relatively high-fat eating species. Rats and mice eat food containing about 5% fat, mostly from grains that contain about 2-3% fat. Rabbits, deer, moose, sheep, goats and horses consume foods containing less than 1%. Wild dogs, wolves and wild cats have about 5% fat in their diets, because their prey is lean, averaging about 3% fat.

Few animals eat high fat diets. Carnivorous birds occasionally eat high-fat fish. Whales that eat salmon get about l0-15% from that diet. Bears enjoy a similar diet for a short time in autumn, but consume low-fat foods for most of the year.

Traditionally, humans consumed 15-20% of their calories as fats and oils. This is far less than the 40% fat from present day refined oils, grease-laden convenience foods, trans-fatty-acid containing margarines, shortenings and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, fat spreads, and fat inbred pork and beef. But it is higher than the fat intake of most other animals.

Not only must the right amount (15-20%) of fats and oils be present in a diet appropriate for human health, but they must be the right kind and quality of fats and oils. We must choose between those that heal and those that kill. The fats that heal are fresh, unprocessed fats containing one or both essential fatty acids. (EFAs). EFAs are like vitamins - they were once referred to as vitamin F. EFAs are essential nutrients which are essential for life and for health; they cannot be made by our body from other substances; and they must therefore come from outside sources (foods or food supplements).

EFAs are every bit as important to health as protein, vitamins, and minerals. EFAs are so important to health that if we obtain insufficient amounts, our cells deteriorate. Prolonged deficiency leads to progressive degeneration that ultimately results in death. Adding adequate amounts of EFAs back to the diet from which they are missing can reverse all symptoms of degeneration.

There is no evidence yet if these compounds can help as gout remedies. However, this very question was asked of an expert on the arthritis today website, and you can see his reply here. Basically the fact is that omega oils from sources such as oily fish (generally recommended to be avoided by gout sufferers) are so highly purified that they do not conatin the molecules which can inflame gouty arthritis.

EFAs go by fancy names. The better-known EFA is linoleic acid (LA). The other EFA is known as alpha-linoleic (LNA). Both EFAs have vital functions in all cells. Both (but especially LNA) are extremely sensitive to destruction and become toxic with exposure to light, oxygen, frying or hydrogenation. To promote good health, both EFAs must be present, in their natural state, in adequate quantities in our diet.

More than 90% of the British public are deficient in essential fatty acids, especially omega 3. These are two of the fifty or so essential nutrients that the body cannot make and must get from food. The more common signs of deficiency of essential fats are dry skin, water retention, lack of energy, impaired brain function, skin conditions such as eczema or acne, food cravings, allergies, and a sluggish metabolism resulting in obesity.

But why are we so deficient? On average a person today gets only around one sixth of the Omega 3 fats as compared to the diet of 1850. This is partly due to food choice, but mainly due to food processing. Essential fats go off rather quickly so most food processing is designed to remove these vital nutrients and so increase the shelf-Re. There is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that more serious damage has been caused from the poisonous, rancid oils and trans-fatty acids, due to this processing. It is these fats that increase the risk of cancer and heart disease, as well as making you fat. In fact, eating the right fats stimulates the metabolism and helps reduce weight.

Lack of LA can cause the deficiency symptoms that resemble degenerative diseases such as:

  • kidney degeneration
  • eczema-like skin eruptions
  • hair loss
  • liver degeneration
  • behavioural disturbances
  • excessive water loss through the skin
  • thirst

LA deficiency is relatively rare due to increased intake of polyunsaturated oils, mainly corn and safflower. If anything, our intake of LA is too high. Although it is essential to health, studies show that excessive consupmtion can promote tumour growth and cancer.
Lack of LNA can cause deficiency symptoms such as:

  • retarded growth
  • weakness
  • loss of motor co-ordination
  • tingling sensations in arms and legs
  • behavioural changes and mental deterioration
  • dry skin
  • impaired vision and learning

LNA deficiency affects over 95% of the population, because LNA is extremely destructible - a nightmare of possible rancidity that manufacturers prefer to avoid. As a result, our intake of LNA has decreased to one-sixth of the level in 1850. Most people's health will improve by increasing LNA intake. While excess LA promotes tumour growth, LNA inhibits it. LNA also inhibits tissue inflammation and increases metabolic rate and energy levels, helping in weight loss. Here is a fat that can help to keep you slim.

Minor ingredients in oils

Besides EFAs, unrefined fresh oils contain another set of important ingredients - the so-called minor ingredients. They are called 'minor' because they constitute only a small fraction of the total oil (usually less than 2%) but the term is misleading, because the minor ingredients in fresh, unrefined oils can have major benefits on health. For example, virgin (unrefined) olive and unrefined rice bran oils have a good reputation for supporting human health. Yet if we look at their fatty acid profile, both oils are unremarkable. They contain only LA (the EFA already too abundant in most people's diets). Both oils contain virtually no LNA (the EFA missing from the foods most people eat) . So why the good reputation?

The minor ingredients in virgin olive oils improve gall bladder function, increase bile flow and liver function, improve digestion and have beneficial effects on our hearts and arteries. All virgin olive oils are unrefined whereas all other oils available on the mass market have been refined. Refining removes most of the minor ingredients that have health benefits - hence the importance of having oils that are unrefined.

How Essential Fatty Acids Help In Weight Loss

1. They increase metabolic rate and energy levels, which means that we burn more calories. We should not count essential fatty acids as fat calories because they increase calorie burning. Instead of being used as a fuel, they play a role in cell membranes, and are converted into hormone-like prostaglandins.

2. Essential fatty acids help our kidneys dump excess water held in tissues, water that constitutes much of the extra weight in some overweight people.

3. They help decrease cravings which often result from not getting the nutrients we need. Obtaining the missing essential fatty acids satisfies the craving.

4. Essential fatty acids elevate mood and lift depression - a reason why some people overeat. Elevated mood and increased energy also make us feet like being more active.

Essential fatty acids play an important role in our skin, hair, and nails. They form a barrier in our skin against loss of moisture, and thereby protect us from dehydration, a cause of many problems that involve histamines, prostaglandins, and inflammation. The barrier functions of essential fatty acids also help prevent constipation and the toxic conditions based on it.

They make skin soft and smooth and are an excellent internal, 'edible cosmetic'. An adult usually requires about 2 dessertspoons a day, but more or less may bring better results, depending on each individual. People also tan better, burn less and get relief from eczema, acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.

As we all know, good health is not just about the body, but is also about what goes in inside - and indeed illness is in large part a mental phenomenon. So being fully in your own power a an individual is all a necessary part of being healthy, regardless of the diet you eat and the physical exercise you take. For men, I would suggest that the absence of make initiation rituals in out society has led to a massive decline in emotional health. Whether or not you believe this, maybe you owe it to yourself to check out what rites of passage might do for your emotional and physical health?

Fats that Kill

We can divide the fats that kill us into four groups: (1) hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, (2) fried oils, (3) refined commercial vegetable oils, (4) hard fats and cholesterol.

Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils include margarine, shortenings and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that are used in junk foods, convenience foods, candies, confections, cookies, breads and other baked products. The EFAs in these products have been largely destroyed and converted into toxic products that increase cholesterol levels, and promote cancer and atherosclerosis. The largest group of these toxic substances, trans-fatty acids, makes up twice the amount of all other food additives combined.

Fried oils have been subjected to the destructive effects of light, air, (oxygen) and high temperatures. EFAs are destroyed in hundreds of different possible ways, resulting in a smorgasbord of toxic chemicals. Fried foods have been shown to increase both atherosclerosis and cancer. Frying is a health destroying practice, no matter what oil or fat is used. The more EFAs an oil contains, the more toxic it becomes when fried. For those unwilling to give up frying, small amounts of butter or tropical fat cause the least damage to health, but also provide no EFAs which must come from another source.

Small amounts of saturated fats are part of our natural diet. Refined oils, fried oils, and partially hydrogenated oils found in margarines, shortenings and convenience foods are unnatural food additives that should be avoided. For health, we need both EFAs and many natural oil soluble minor ingredients. The best sources of EFAs are seeds and nuts that contain them in their natural, unspoiled form, along with protein, minerals, vitamins, fibre and fresh, unrefined oils or oil blends carefully processed in the absence of light and air, shelf-dated, and kept refrigerated in dark brown bottles.
 



Home ] Contact ] Essential fatty acid deficiency ] Essential fatty acid function - alpha-linolenic acid (Omega 3): linoleic acid (Omega 6)</font> ] Balancing Omega 3 and 6 ] Fats that heal - Fats that kill ] [ Essential fatty acids and weight loss ] Essential fatty acids and women's health ] The effects of oils, hard fats and sugars in the body ] About Udo Erasmus ]