Right that’s it… you’re getting healthy! So it’s finally time to sort that diet- it’s time to cut that fat!
After all, fat is pretty much the diet devil… isn’t it?
In society today there seems to be a fundamental rule prevalent amongst so-called dedicated dieters, whereby in order to lose weight and get that perfect body you have to stay well away from fat… but really guys, this is not the case! The answer to this fat fad infact lies behind the actual “types” of fat we consume.
I’m sure the majority of you have heard the term saturated and unsaturated fat, saturated is bad and unsaturated is good right?… Yes, that’s right! There are two types of unsaturated fat, mono unsaturated and poly unsaturated, but did you know, in order to actually function humans require specific amounts of poly unsaturated fats, termed “essential fatty acids”. These essential fatty acids are linoleic and alpha linolenic acid, or in other words omega- 6 and omega- 3. And trust me, there’s a good reason for the “essential”, whereby these acids cannot be synthesised in the body, making it vital we consume them through the diet.
Omega- 6 Vs Omega- 3
So why do we need these so-called “essential” fatty acids, as far as many weight loss guides are concerned cutting out fat is the way forward. Well, omega- 6 and omega- 3 have several crucial functions in the body. For example, they firstly play important roles within the synthesis of many hormones and cell membranes, meaning they are highly involved in the brain and central nervous system. However, the strongest sources of evidence suggest that both these essential fatty acids can prevent against several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease. It is therefore recommended that these fatty acids are consumed in a omega- 6:omega- 3 ratio of 2:1 in the diet.
However, with the evolution of fast food and growing bad dietary habits there has been serious reductions in fatty acid intake, especially in those from the world’s most developed counties, whereby low levels of these fatty acids can have serve adverse effects on health and have been linked to hair loss, impaired vision, changes in mental state, growth retardation and learning difficulties.
The Benefits of Omega- 6
So the first thing you need to know about these two fatty acids is that they have very different properties. Omega- 6 fatty acids are consumed in the diet mainly through vegetable oil and meats, whereby as food processing technology has drastically increased, so has our omega- 6 consumption! These fatty acids if consumed in the right ratio to omega- 3 fatty acids take part in routine bodily processes such as the utilisation of energy and chemical processing in the liver and have also been shown to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease. However, if consumed in excess, too much omega- 6 can enhance fat storage and increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
The Benefits of Omega- 3
The benefits of omega- 3 are endless. Omega- 3 is primarily needed in the body for cell-signalling and membrane formation whereby levels are is critical for vision, brain function and reproduction. Nevertheless, the many, many benefits of omega- 3 appear to be a hidden concept, whereby there is a ton of scientific evidence to prove omega- 3 supplementation is well worth your time!
For example, despite being shown in several meta-analyses to reduce the risk of CVD, omega- 3 has also been shown to promote weight loss, reduce harmful cholesterol levels (LDL), the risk of diabetes, appetite and fat storage whilst increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
If you’ve been keeping up to date with news, you may well be aware of the current diabetes epidemic that is swooping nations worldwide. Diabetes Mellitus is a common form of diabetes caused by an inability to regulate blood insulin and glucose levels, which is now becoming the number one disease in the developed world. Omega- 3 however, has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in individuals. For instance, in a study Storlien et al (1987) it was concluded that a diet high in omega- 6 fatty acids from vegetable oils and red meat, was associated to insulin resistance in subjects (a cause of diabetes), whereas diets high in omega- 3 from fish oil was shown to prevent insulin resistance. It therefore stands that omega- 3 fatty acids can play an important role within the regulation of blood sugar and insulin, which may prove as a successful mechanism to prevent diabetes.
Weight-loss and Fat Burn
Because omega- 3 has a clever way of enhancing insulin sensitivity, this can not only prevent the development of diabetes but it also inhibits fat storage and improves fat burning in muscles, whereby studies have demonstrated supplements can accelerate fat loss in men and women. Not only this, but in a study by Parra et al. (2008) the effects of omega- 3 on appetite was assessed in humans taking part in calorie restricted weight loss diets. In this study participants were given 1 of four diets including no seafood, lean fish 3 times a week, fatty fish 3 times a week and omega- 3 capsules (6 a day). Scientists found that those who consumed meals high in omega- 3 felt more full directly after and 2 hours after. This highlighted that omega- 3 fatty acids acted to modulate hunger signals and hormones that controls hunger signals and fullness in the body, therefore they can help you snack less and lose weight.
Exercise Performance and Recovery
Omega- 3 not only offers various long term health benefits, but in addition, omega- 3 can also enhance exercise performance. This is because omega- 3 oil can improve blood flow to your muscles during exercise, allowing more oxygen to be delivered so more fat can be broken down and used as fuel. Furthermore, omega- 3 can help to improve your recovery time after a workout! This is because whereby omega- 3 has several anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation and prevent fatigue. Therefore for those who are physically active there is an increased demand for omega-3, this often means supplementation is required. Try our Super Omega-3 Capsulesfor the optimum omega- 3 source.
Aerobic exercise and fish oil ingestion have both been suggested to alter levels of blood cholesterol, whereby it has been confirmed that high levels of the harmful cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) can considerably increase the risk of coronary heart disease, whilst an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) is associated with a decrease in risk. For example, in a study conducted in 2004, ten young healthy males were supplemented with omega- 3 fatty acid for four weeks and asked to perform a 60-minute session of treadmill exercise before and after supplementation. It was found that through omega- 3 supplementation alone, levels of good cholesterol HDL were increased and when combined with exercise there was also a reduction in unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Therefore through several proposed mechanisms, including omega-3’s anti-adhesion and anti-inflammatory properties, omega- 3 can act to improve fitness and body composition in supplemented individuals.
The Omega- 6 Omega- 3 Ratio
In the diet we are recommended to consume a ratio of omega- 6 to omega- 3 of 2:1, however nowadays the ratio is around 20:1. This means our intake of omega- 6 is particularly high and omega- 3 extremely low. In humans, we cannot convert omega- 6 to omega- 3 fatty acids, therefore such an uneven ratio of fatty acids presents a series of health implications, promoting the development of many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. The single most important thing you can start to do is to reduce your Omega- 6 intake, avoiding processed seed- and vegetable oils. However, it is vital you are consuming an equal ratio of these fatty acids, making the choice to increase your consumption of omega- 3 a top priority! To get the ultimate dosage of all 3, 6 and 9 fish oils, try our Omega 3 6 9 supplement.
Sources of Omega- 3
There are a few key sources of omega- 3 in the diet; prime examples are fatty fish such as sardines, trout, mackerel and salmon, whereby it is recommended by the department of health that we consume at least one portion of fatty fish a week! Not only this, but soybean, wheat-germ oil and nuts can also provide us with a good dietary source of omega- 3. However, buying fish can often be an issue due to current sustainability issues, so if you’re on a tight budget, or simply don’t like fish, a omega- 3 supplement is vital for you. There are various different dosages of Omega-3 supplements available on the market, but the Myprotein Super Omega-3capsules are specifically designed to provide you with the optimum, essential dosage for your fitness and health goals.
Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are essential in growth and development throughout the life cycle; they should be included in the diets of all humans. So now you know all the facts you can stop avoiding all fats, remembering that servings of good fats from sources such as fish and nuts can actually aid weight-loss! As well as benefiting your overall health and well-being!
Mehta, J. L., Lopez, L. M., Lawson, D., Wargovich, T. J., & Williams, L. L. (1988). Dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in patients with stable coronary heart disease: effects on indices of platelet and neutrophil function and exercise performance. The American journal of medicine, 84(1), 45-52.
Parra, D., Ramel, A., Bandarra, N., Kiely, M., Martínez, J. A., & Thorsdottir, I. (2008). A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. Appetite, 51(3), 676-680.
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Storlien, L. H., Kraegen, E. W., Chisholm, D. J., Ford, G. L., Bruce, D. G., & Pascoe, W. S. (1987). Fish oil
Thomas, T. R., Smith, B. K., Donahue, O. M., Altena, T. S., James-Kracke, M., & Sun, G. Y. (2004). Effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and exercise on low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein subfractions.Metabolism, 53(6), 749-754.