No one likes to be called fat, no one likes to eat fat. No one wants to BE fat…and not too many people understand fats.
There are several types of fat. Some fats are found in foods from animals and plants, these are called “dietary fats”. The fat your body makes is fat from taking in excess calories. Body fat is essential to your health, in an appropriate amount, because it supports some of your body’s functions.
Not all fats are equal, of course. A recent Swedish study that was published in the journal Diabetes found that consuming saturated fat actually builds more body fat and less muscle than consuming polyunsaturated fat.1
In the study, half of the test group was given muffins made with palm oil, a saturated fat, and the other part of the test group was given muffins made with sunflower oil, a polyunsaturated fat. At the end of the experiment, both groups gained the same amount of weight. But those who ate the muffins made with saturated fat gained more fat overall, specifically in their livers and abdomens. They also gained three times less muscle mass than the polyunsaturated group.
Here is a general breakdown of fat types.
Monounsaturated Fats—MUFA’s found in foods and oils improve blood cholesterol level, which decreases your risk of heart disease. Examples: olive oils, safflower oils, peanut oil, corn oil avocados, almonds.
Polyunsaturated Fats—PUFA’s found mostly in plant-based food and oils. PUFA’s improve blood cholesterol levels which decreases your risk of heart disease and decreases risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids—found in some types of fatty fish, which appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. Examples: tuna, trout, salmon, sardines, flaxseed, soybeans, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
These are the fats you do want as part of your healthy eating program.
Saturated Fats—that come mostly from animal sources such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products such as cheese and whole milk. Saturated fats raise the total blood cholesterol levels (LDL) which in turn increases your risk of heart disease. It also may increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Examples: processed baked goods; cookies,muffins and donuts, packaged foods, fast foods, butter.
Not all saturated fats are “bad” though! The naturally occurring saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil is lauric acid. Our bodies convert lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties.2 In addition, coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which increase energy expenditure (fat burning) compared to other fats.3
Trans Fats—This type of fat occurs naturally in some foods but most trans fats are made from oils through a food processing method called hydrogenation. When reading food labels of foods that contain trans fats, you will recognize them listed as “partially hydrogenated oils”. These fats increase unhealthy LDL Cholesterol and lower healthy HDL Cholesterol, thus increasing your risk of heart disease. Examples: processed baked goods, packaged foods, fast foods.
So now that you know which types of dietary fat are healthy or unhealthy, how do you adjust your diet to meet dietary guidelines?
First, focus on reducing foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Then emphasize food choices that include plenty of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). But a word of caution—don’t go overboard, even on healthy fats. All fats, including the healthy ones, are high in calories. So consume MUFA-rich and PUFA-rich foods instead of other fatty foods, not in addition to them. Your total fat intake based on a 2000 calorie diet should be no more than 40 grams of fat per day, recommended by health professionals and dietitians. 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories.
Use the nutritional labels on foods to aid in your choices. Be cautious of foods high in trans fats and foods with “partially hydrogenated oils” listed in the ingredients.
Making these simple changes and taking time to read the label before your purchase will help you become healthier and less “fat-fearful”.
• 3 cups of cubed watermelon, de-seeded
• Juice of 2 limes
• 2-3 sprigs of mint (optional)
• Salt and pepper to season
Blend together all ingredients with some ice in a food processor till it forms a uniform mixture- you’re done!
Also, check out these health benefits of watermelon (Source: Nature Hacks)
Better eye health: You already know that carrots are good for the eye, but it turns out, watermelons too, are excellent to maintain eye health. This is because watermelons contain beta-carotene, the same compound present in carrots, that the body converts to vitamin A. Consuming watermelon smoothies therefore, produces pigments in the retina of the eye that prevent eye conditions like night blindness, age related macular degeneration and more.
It is also believed that the vitamin A also helps maintain mucus membranes, soft tissue, skeletal tissue, teeth and skin health.
Anti-inflammatory benefits: Watermelon itself contains many phenolic compounds including carotenoids, triterpenoids and flavonoids which help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage occurring in the body, thereby preventing diseases like cancer. Tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E present in watermelon (and therefore, watermelon smoothies too!) blocks the activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzyme which is linked to inflammatory actions.
A good point to note before picking up watermelons for your smoothies is to choose a riper watermelon, since it contains a higher amount of nutrients that are essential for health.
Muscle and nerve support: Watermelons are a good natural source of potassium- an element that doesn’t just play a role in maintaining bone health, but also keeps the muscles and nerves healthy. As an electrolyte, potassium helps regulate the action of nerves and muscles in the body, and determines the degree at which the muscles control the excitation of nerves in our body.
Alkalizing extra: Junk foods and packaged foods are now an inseparable part of our daily diet, which causes a build-up of acidic environment in the body, which is harmful. Thankfully, by just drinking watermelon smoothies, you could alkalinize the environment in the stomach, and reduce your risk of developing some potentially dangerous diseases and health conditions.
Immune support: One of the best benefits of drinking watermelon smoothies is that it gives your immune system a special boost and helps it function better. Watermelon contains extremely high amount of vitamin C, which is a great immunity enhancer. It is known to protect the cells from the action of different harmful processes and accelerate healing of wounds.
Numerous studies have also reported how watermelon smoothies were wonderfully effective in forming collagen (which accelerates healing of damaged tissues) and that repairs wounds in a jiffy!
Bone and cardiovascular health: Watermelon is a good source of lycopene and contains a higher amount of lycopene than any other fruit or vegetable. It is this lycopene that plays an important role in promoting bone and cardiovascular health.
Consuming watermelon smoothies could help improve blood flow (thereby reducing blood pressure), reduce oxidative stress (which reduces the activity of cells involved in osteoporosis) and help build stronger bones, which are less susceptible to damage.
Weight loss benefits: Surprisingly, watermelon smoothies also carry amazing weight loss benefits too! It is believed that citrulline in watermelon plays a role in reduction of fat in the fat cells of our body by blocking the activity of a compound that is responsible for fat depositions in the cells.
Drinking watermelon smoothies could therefore, slash your risk of obesity and over-accumulation of body fat considerably!
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Proponents say that coconut oil not only promotes weight loss but also helps to cure serious ailments like poor immune function, thyroid disease, heart disease, cancer and HIV. (1)
WebMD claims that most of those assertions are anecdotal, without clinical evidence to support the health claims. However, this site has links to hundreds of published studies that have been done on the various health benefits of coconuts. (2)
As far as using coconut oil for weight loss, research is promising.
One study assessed the use of 30 grams of coconut oil for 4 weeks by obese men. The result was reduced waist circumference by 2.86 cm, or 1.1 inches (3).
In another study, 40 women were given either 30 grams (2 tablespoons) of either coconut oil or soybean oil for 28 days and were instructed to eat fewer calories and walk every day.(4)
Both groups lost weight (about 2 pounds).
Only the coconut oil group had decreased waist circumference (belly fat) while the soybean oil actually had a mild increase in belly fat.
The coconut oil group had increased HDL (good) cholesterol levels, while the soybean oil had reduced HDL and increased LDL.(5)
These findings are significant because, while coconut oil did not cause overall weight loss compared to soybean oil, it did lead to a significant reduction in belly fat. Abdominal or “belly” fat is the least healthy place for fat storage in your body. It tends to lodge around your organs and cause inflammation, diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, any reduction in abdominal fat is likely to have very positive effects on your overall health.
Why does coconut oil help reduce abdominal fat?
Coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCTs are fatty acids that are shorter and more water-soluble than those in other oils, such as olive or canola. “So they’re more directly routed to the liver, where they’re readily burned for fuel,” explains Peter Jones, Ph.D., professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. This means that MCTs are less likely to be deposited in fat stores. (6)
Another important property of coconut oil is that it is “thermogenic”, which means that eating it tends to increase energy expenditure (fat burning) compared to the same amount of calories from other fats (4, 7).
For example, typically your body uses about 10% of the calories you consume to digest the food you’ve eaten. So, out of 500 calories your body uses about 50 of those calories to transform food into the energy that fuels your body. But if you eat a 500-calorie meal, replacing the fat from oils or butter with coconut oil, then your metabolism will speed up and burn more like 15 percent, or 75 calories. (6)
“Replacement” is the important word to remember.
Coconut oil is very high in saturated fat, 12g per tablespoon, as compared to 7g per tablespoon in butter and has around 120 calories per tablespoon. It’s important that any use of coconut oil should replace other oils and butters—simply adding coconut oil to an already fat-heavy diet will probably not promote weight loss.
Genetix Program’s team of doctors, certified coaches/trainers and nutritionists can help you make healthier lifestyle choices through daily phone coaching to achieve lasting weight loss. You can do it and we can help!
My journey of losing weight has been an eye-opener. I’ve recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and I also tore a tendon in my ankle and have been relegated to a stability boot for the last month. Even though I’ve had to take pain pills and prednisone [a steroid that tends to cause weight gain] for the last few weeks, I am still losing weight!
I am more focused on what I eat and in tune with my body. My starting weight was 150 and I am now 135 pounds and still losing. I am so excited, I haven’t worn a size 6 since childhood. I’m loving it!
Who knew you could lose weight while on prednisone?