Our fear of eating fat – all fat, any fat – has resulted in the majority of us being deficient in essential fatty acids (EFAs). These EFAs are very important for fat metabolism, so not eating enough of them could be one of the reasons you may be struggling to lose weight. These “good” fats are involved in regulating every body-function at the cellular level, so this is no surprise. One of the ways they help with weight-loss is slowing the absorption of carbohydrates so your blood sugar levels will be more balanced. They are also used to make serotonin which is important for controlling food cravings. And we all know that low serotonin can make you feel depressed and grumpy!
These good fats are called essential because our bodies cannot make them – we have to get them from our diets. So what do we need to do to reverse this deficiency? One easy change we can make is to eat more cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel – look for wild fish rather than farmed and try and eat at least 2 servings a week. Essential fats can also be found in walnuts, bean sprouts and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and radish greens – so be sure to include these in your diet. Wild game or grass-fed beef have more of the good omegas than grain-fed meats. Flaxseeds are also an excellent source of EFAs and are especially good for your hormones and digestion. They can be ground up and added to oats or a smoothie for breakfast. Flax oil can also be mixed with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and spices to make a healthful salad dressing.
It is really important to make sure you aren’t negating the good effects of your EFA consumption. Eating a diet high in refined sugar with refined processed carbohydrates (such as white bread or donuts), and lots of hydrogenated oils (found in processed food and margarine) will prevent efficient absorption of these good fats. So, focus on eating a whole foods diet – home-made food using fresh vegetables and fruits, good quality proteins, whole grains and enough of those good fats.
Well-known nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman sums it up very nicely: “With the right fats, you’ll end fat cravings, feel full, have more energy and lose weight”. Your mood will also be a whole lot better too – no mood swings and no grumpiness!