A lot of people still don't know there are fat-burning foods that can actually increase the number of fat calories your body burns each day. These are known as free foods and are generally low in calories; in fact, some of these foods are so low in calories that your body actually burns more calories metabolizing them than the total amount of calories in the food itself.
Although fat burning foods are important for anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off for good, they're vital if you're one of these people who find it hard to lose weight. No matter how much exercise you do or how strict you diet, your genetics and metabolic makeup play a vital role in determining how much weight you lose and how fast you lose it.
Genetic differences also affect how much weight you gain when you eat too much. One study of 12 groups of identical twins was overfed for 100 days. One set of twins gained 29 pounds. A second set, however, gained only 13 pounds even though both sets of twins were overfed with the same number of calories. Of course, fat-burning foods won't compensate entirely for genetic differences -- this ultimately comes down to a balanced, calorie-controlled eating regimen and exercise. These factors will make fighting fat a lot easier in the long run.
Types of fat
There are four types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans fats, but they can still be categorized as good and bad.
Monounsaturated (good fats)
Monounsaturated fats are considered good fats and are said to help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure and to help control diabetes.
These good fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, cashews, canola oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine nuts and chicken fat.
Polyunsaturated (good fats) -- Omega 3 and Omega 6
Polyunsaturated fats are said to reduce triglycerides, inflammation and tumor growth. They also help to improve immune function and help protect against sudden death from heart disease.
Omega 3 fats are found in canola oil, walnuts, flaxseeds, hempseeds, salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, sardines and herring.
Omega 6 is found in safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, nuts, beans and soft margarine.
Saturated (bad fats)
Saturated fats are bad fats; they raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, they are twice as potent at raising your bad cholesterol levels as polyunsaturated fats are at lowering them. It is difficult to eliminate these fats from your diet, but one way to reduce them is to choose fat-free milk and other fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
Saturated fats can be found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cheese, palm oil and coconut oil.
Trans fats (bad fats)
Trans fats are the ugly fats; they raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL). They increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Trans fats can be found in foods like crackers, cookies, cakes, shortening, margarine, hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils that have been subjected to heat damage during cooking.
Omega 3 fish oil and weight loss
A recent study that supplemented diets with Omega 3 fish oil (good fat) to see if number of fat calories burned in a single day would increase.
Two groups were fed exactly the same diet, but one group was fed 6 grams of fat in the form of butter, olive oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil. The other group was given 6 grams of omega 3 fish oil. The fish oil group was given 8 capsules per day -- 2 in the morning, 3 at lunch and 3 in the evening.
The Total daily intake of omega 3 long-chain fatty acids was 1.8 grams. The outcome of the test results was fairly conclusive.
The table below shows you the changes in fat oxidation, body fat, and metabolic rate after three weeks for the groups with or without fish oil:
|With fish oil||Without fish oil|
|Measurement of body fat||-2 pounds||-0.7 pounds|
|Measurement of daily metabolic rate||1775 calories||1710 calories|
These results show that the group who supplemented with fish oil burned about 1.1 milligram of fat per kilo per minute. This is roughly 26 percent higher than the other group who wasn't supplementing with fish oil.
One of the key reasons as to why omega 3 fish oil has such a powerful effect on fat metabolism is that insulin levels were 50 percent lower. Insulin is a hormone that reduces the use of fat for fuel, while also promoting fat storage in the presence of excess calories.
Insulin increases the activity of an enzyme known to promote the storage of fat.
Insulin inhibits the action of hormone-sensitive lipase, which is responsible for breaking down stored fat and preparing it for use as energy.
Insulin also activates an enzyme, which, along with fatty acid synthesis, is responsible for converting carbohydrate into fat.
Simply put, high levels of insulin make it less likely that your body will use stored fat as a fuel source. The drop in insulin levels when subjects used the fish oil would have allowed more fat to be used for energy.
Any good doctor or nutritionist will tell you that the best way to get any nutrient is to eat a balanced diet. In the case of omega 3 oil, this would be in the form of fish. Sadly, due to the pollution levels found in our oceans, eating large portions of fish every day is not advisable. The frustrating truth is that there will never be an easy quick-fix method of losing weight that is safe and simple. However, with a little research into the workings of the body, it becomes clear that there are many small things you can do which add up over time to aid weight loss and make you feel better about yourself. Taking a fish oil supplement is a good idea for anyone wanting to make positive steps towards weight loss.
Dave Mcevoy is an award winning personal trainer with over 20 years experience; he also runs a high quality health supplement website. www.mind1st.co.uk