When embarking on a diet, most people make the decision to cut out many foods that are considered unhealthy, such as refined carbohydrates, high calorie foods and fats. However, in order to eliminate excess body fat, you need to make sure you’re eating enough of the right fats. While it’s true that some fats are not good for you, others are absolutely essential for losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet. While the body can transform carbohydrates and proteins into saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, it cannot produce certain polyunsaturated fats. These fats that the body cannot produce are called essential fatty acids (EFAs), and they must be obtained from the food that we eat
Essential Fatty Acids, otherwise known as Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids, are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in the oil from oily fish and vegetable sources such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, olive oil and canola oil.
Both types of EFAs are required for the production of the eicosanoids – hormones that are responsible for regulating the major body functions, including digestion, insulin production and the storage of fat.
How Omega-3 fish oil aids Weight Loss
It has now been proven scientifically that Omega-3 fish oil helps you lose weight. Studies at the University of South Australia have found that taking omega-3 fish oil combined with moderate aerobic exercise boosts weight loss.
Over a period of 12 weeks, researchers gave a group of obese adult’s daily doses of omega-3 fish oil and supervised moderate aerobic exercise three times a week. The researches compared the results of this group with other groups that were not given omega-3 fish oil and exercise three times a week.
The group that had the omega-3 fish oil lost significantly more weight, particularly around the abdominal region, than the people who had not been given the omega-3 fish oil and exercise.
They concluded that Omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oil activates the enzymes responsible for burning fat, and combined with exercise and increased oxygen intake, they increase the metabolic rate, which has an effect of burning more fat and losing weight.
Omega 3 fish oil and weight loss
Another recent study that was published in the international journal of obesity, researchers want to find out if by supplementing the diet with omega 3 fish oil (good fat) would increase the number of fat calories burned in a single day.
The two groups were fed exactly the same diet apart from one group were fed 6 grams of fat in the form of butter, olive oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil, the other group were given 6 grams of omega 3 fish oil.
The fish oil group were 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 out come of the test results were 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
||without fish oil
||with fish oil
|Measurement of body fat lost
|Daily metabolic rate
These results show that the group who were supplementing with fish oil burned about 1.1 milligram of fat per kilo per minute. This is roughly 26% higher than the other group who weren’t supplementing with the fish oil.
One of the key reasons as to why omega 3 fish oil has such a powerful effect on fat metabolism is that the insulin levels were 50% lower when subjects used the fish oil. 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.