by Dr. David Minkoff December 08, 2022 4 min read
Let me start by saying: No, fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugars, mainly processed sugars, do.
Fat from food is not converted to fat in the body without the presence of sugar. But due to their effects on our hormones, some fats can help us lose weight, and some make us gain it.
Now, there are many types of fat, both that you eat and your body creates, and different fats are used for various actions in your body.
And where calorie counting really messes us up is in the fat department. We can’t say 1 gram of fat is only 9 calories; you can only have a such and such amount and leave it at that.
What is this fat doing in the body? Well, some fats are used for energy.
Some raise Cortisol levels (a fat-building hormone). And some lower Cortisol.
Some raise or lower blood pressure, make your cells more or less able to take in and use nutrients and allow or prevent hormones from being able to give directions.
Some fat is used to make what we know of as body fat. (Though it only does this when directed by our hormones.)
Then there are the cells in your organs and muscle. About 50% of each cell is made from fat. This is necessary. The fats hold the cell's form, so it doesn’t fall apart, allow nutrients in and waste out, and allow hormones to communicate with the cell.
If this is messed up, we don’t get nutrients in, hormones can’t give instructions, and waste can’t get out, slowly building up until the cell dies.
This has everything to do with the type of fat we eat, how it was prepared, and its balance with other fat types.
But two types of fats that affect our ability to gain or lose weight more than any other: Omega 6 and Omega 3.
While these two fats are used for many things in the body, they each have functions that no other fat type can fulfill. It must be them.
They’re used to make molecules inside your cells that tell your body to raise inflammation, say if you’ve been injured or are ill, or lower inflammation.
Omega 6 is turned into the pro-inflammatory molecule, and Omega 3 is turned into the anti-inflammatory molecule. These are both needed.
But they work by raising and lowering Cortisol, among other things, a hormone that instructs our body and body fat and hold onto it.
And this is fine when Omega 6 and 3 are in balance. But when Omega 6 is high, it raises cortisol levels even when not needed – that doesn’t work for fat loss.
We should consume about 1g of Omega 6 for every 1g of Omega 3. This keeps them in balance.
You see, fish provide mainly Omega 3 fatty acids. When raised on their natural diet, grass-fed cows provide a 4:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3.
But fish are much slimmer in our diets these days, and cows are mainly fed corn and soy, which have almost no Omega 3 and very high levels of Omega 6.
Most cows today have a ratio of Omega 6 to 3 of 17:1, not the 4:1 they have if 100% grass-fed.
And almost all of our processed foods are made from a base of soy or corn. So they’re very high in omega 6 and completely lacking in Omega 3.
Where does this put most people?
Instead of having the natural ratios of 1:1 Omega 6 to 3, most people in the US now have ratios of 20 or even 40 to 1. Very high Omega 6, very little Omega 3.
When our omega-6 is too high, it produces too many pro-inflammatory molecules, which raises inflammation.
And what rises with inflammation? Cortisol, which then raises fat storage.
This big problem throws our hormones out of balance, significantly affecting our mood.
Your body is constantly getting the signal to produce Cortisol, thus raising fat storage, actively preventing fat loss no matter how much exercise you do, raising estrogen levels, and lowering testosterone, progesterone, and growth hormone.
This is also one of the most significant factors in fat loss and fat gain.
And because Cortisol is the stress hormone, we have higher stress and anxiety levels.
So you’re working hard to lose fat, but omega 6 is so thoroughly entrenched in our standard “American diet” it becomes nearly impossible.
But not to worry, Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory, helping lower cortisol levels and reducing fat storage when taken in sufficient quantity.
While you need Omega 6, you need much less than what you’re getting.
The trick is to get off any processed, boxed, packaged foods, only eat 100% grass-fed beef, and get Omega 3 into your diet to balance the Omega 6 levels.
You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.
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by Dr. David Minkoff
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