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Fats Can Make You Thin

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Eating fat is essential to reaching your ideal size. Fats do not, as a friend recently suggested at lunch, go directly from one's mouth to the fat cells on the tummy and hips. Of course, anyone who overeats fat could gain weight. Some is great for weight loss—too much isn't. Over and over again, when our fat-phobic clients add fat back into their eating, their stubborn weight starts coming off. So get ready to eat some fat and reach your ideal size!

Fats Are Not the Enemy

Lean Lingo

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas gland. It regulates the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood and one of the hormones that causes the body to store fat. Dietary fats are fats you eat. Body fat refers to the fat your body stores in the adipose tissues of your body. Your body can produce body fat from dietary fats, carbohydrates, or proteins.

Dietary fat is an important component of a healthy diet. By eating the right fats in the right proportions, you can enjoy watching your body fat melt away.

Before we get into some of the nitty-gritty details about dietary fat, let's list some of the known benefits of fat:

  • Fat is required to manufacture hormones. Without fat, your hormones get out of whack. This includes your thyroid and the regulation of women's hormonal cycles, including menopause and conception. Men require optimum hormonal activity for high-energy sex and good muscle mass.

  • Fats are required for the proper communication of the neurotransmitters in the brain.

  • Fat is necessary for many metabolic processes such as red blood cell formation and insulin functions.

  • Fat lubricates your joints, maintains healthy skin, and aids in the digestion process.

Be sure to eat about 20 to 30 percent of your daily food intake as fat.

Aside from this list of benefits, fats also help satisfy your hunger because they take longer to empty from the stomach than other foods. And, let's not forget that fats carry the flavor of food and feel satisfying in the mouth.

Types of Fats

Fats are the most highly concentrated form of fuel. They contain more calories per ounce than either proteins or carbs. Fats come in three basic forms: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Plus, today there's a fourth type of artificial fat present in food called trans fats. It can contribute to heart disease, so avoid eating trans fats.

The degree of saturation of a fat refers to its arrangement of carbon and hydrogen atoms. A saturated fat is one that carries the maximum number of hydrogen atoms in its carbon chain. It's “saturated.” An unsaturated fat has room for additional hydrogen atoms, which tends to make it more biologically active.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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