Volume 6, Issue 27 | July 11, 2013
The fat you should eat to lose those unwanted pounds

Is it possible that the kind of fats or oils you eat will determine what your metabolic rate is and how much you like to exercise? A new study says it’s not only possible, it’s likely.

Researchers at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont note that the typical Western diet increases risk of metabolic diseases. These include diabetes and heart disease. One of the characteristics of our Western diet is high levels of a fat called palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is a saturated fat found in virtually all plants and meats. But it is especially high in palm oil, processed foods, dairy, and mammal fat.

The researchers looked at two groups of young people. They put each group on a diet high in palmitic acid fat composition (i.e., a Western diet) for three weeks. Then they put them on a low-palmitic acid and high-oleic acid fat composition diet (the Mediterranean diet). Foods fitting this category contain mostly monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil and unsaturated oils. These include vegetable and fish oils. During each diet period, the researchers measured the physical activity level, the metabolic rates, and the overall mood of the members in each group.

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Physical activity was 12-15% higher in 97% of the young adults when they were on the low-palmitic acid diet. Their metabolic rate was 3-4% higher. And surprisingly enough, the anger-hostility score was significantly lower. So what does it all mean?

What you eat is important. The studies are pretty much overwhelming at this point. The best diet is going to be one that leaves out processed and high-fat fast foods and focuses on using olive oil over other oils, fish over other meats, and lean dairy. According to the results of this study, eating a diet like that should help many folks be more inclined to exercise. And the increase in metabolic rate should be helpful for weight management.

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Kien CL, Bunn JY, Tompkins CL, et al. Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood.

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