Omega 3 & Weight Loss
of us trying to lose weight have
been taught to avoid fat wherever possible. But not all fats are the
Some fats are very good for us. Among these good fats are Omega 3 fatty acids.
This article explains what Omega 3 are, what health benefits they contribute when they are consumed in sufficient quantities, how they help with weight loss and how to get more of them into our daily diets if we need to.
What is Omega 3?
Put simply, Omega 3 are a range of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are
considered essential to human health. Because they can't be manufactured
by our body, we must obtain them from the food we eat.
Because Omega 3 works closely with Omega 6 fatty acids, it is important to maintain an appropriate balance of each in our diet if we are to enjoy optimal health.
According to medical sources in the U.S., this balance should consist of roughly 1 to 4 times more Omega 6 fatty acids than Omega 3, not the 10 to 30 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3 typical of many modern diets like those commonly found in Australia and America.
While we'll get into the best sources of Omega 3 later, Omega 6 is found in foods like safflower oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, nuts, eggs, poultry, beans and margarine.
The health benefits of Omega 3
Extensive research has been conducted over the years into the health benefits
of Omega 3 fatty acids and the results of that research prove just how important
Among their many health benefits, Omega 3 fatty acids are believed to:
- Reduce inflammation in joints
- Help prevent certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis
- Assist cognitive and behavioural functions
- Reduce cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of stroke
- Assist in treating Diabetes
- Improve bone strength and reduce the impact of osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of experiencing depression
- Assist in treating or preventing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Assist in treating people with eating disorders (such as anorexia nervosa)
- Assist in treating burns and certain skin disorders
- Improve lung function in those suffering Asthma
- Reduce menstrual pain
- Reduce the risk of some cancers (such as colon, prostate and breast cancer)
Omega 3 and weight loss
As well as proving that Omega 3 fatty acids play a significant
role in facilitating essential bodily functions and preventing or assisting
in the treatment of some very serious diseases, research also suggests that
they can help us lose weight and reduce body fat.
Omega 3 helps those of us with weight loss goals in at least four significant ways:
- They help regulate our blood sugar and insulin levels.
- They help us burn more fat.
- They help keep hunger at bay.
- They help reduce the risk or seriousness of ailments commonly associated with being overweight.
Let's explore each of these in a little more detail.
Studies suggest that people who follow a weight loss program which includes exercise tend to achieve better control over their blood sugar and insulin levels when fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids is a staple part of their low-fat diet.
By helping to reduce insulin levels, Omega 3 fatty acids increase our body's ability to convert fat into energy (which some experts believe is becoming increasingly difficult for many of us because of the make up of the most common modern western diets), and decrease the activity of enzymes known to promote fat storage when excess calories are consumed.
Having even levels of blood sugar also keeps us feeling less hungry between meals, often resulting in total fewer calories being consumed throughout the day which greatly aids weight loss.
Finally, Omega 3 can help eliminate or reduce the risk of common ailments associated with obesity and being overweight like heart disease, diabetes, etc by:
- Helping us to burn more fat each day.
- Helping us to reduce our weight.
- Directly impacting on the symptoms/causes of these conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, etc.
Getting enough Omega 3 in our diets
Although we do not presently have a recommended dietary
intake (RDI) for Omega 3 in Australia, in 2002, the Institute of Medicine
at the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. issued Adequate Intake
(AI) levels for linolenic acid, the initial building block for all Omega 3
fatty acids found in the body.
For teenage and adult males, 1.6 grams per day was recommended. For teenage and adult females, the recommended amount was 1.1 grams per day.
Other experts recommended higher levels be consumed that equate to at least 2% of our total daily kilojoule intake.
For a person consuming 8,400 kilojoules (2000 calories) per day, this means eating sufficient Omega 3 rich foods to provide at least 4 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids a day.
So, how do we ensure we're getting this much Omega 3 in our daily diet?
We eat foods rich in Omega 3 like:
- Canola oil
- Kidney beans
- Chinese cabbage
And of course we can increase our intake of Omega 3 by using supplements.
As always, whenever we are considering a dramatic increase in our daily intake of anything, it is a good idea to consult a qualified dietitian, naturopath, or another suitably qualified health care professional to see if doing so is appropriate given our individual circumstances.
Those of us trying to lose weight have been taught to avoid fat wherever
possible. But not all fats are the same and in some instances this practice
could actually be counterproductive to our weight loss efforts.
Some fats are actually very good for us and are necessary for healthy bodily functions. Among these good fats is Omega 3.
This article explained what Omega 3 is, what health benefits it contributes when it is consumed in sufficient quantities in our diets, how it helps with weight loss and how to get more of it into our daily diets if we're not getting enough.
Are you getting enough? Good luck with your weight loss and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.
© Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.
This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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