Monday, May 09, 2005

Do You Need Fat to Lose Fat?

An interesting study may explain why a low-fat diet may be counter-productive to weight loss, especially the old fat stored around your body's peripheral tissues - your belly, bottom and thighs.

It appears that the fat stored in those areas aren't burned efficiently unless new fat is eaten or generated in the liver.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed genetically engineered mice missing an important fat-synthesizing enzyme so they could not produce new fatty acids in the liver. Because liver fatty acids are vital for maintaining normal blood sugar, fat and cholesterol metabolism, these mice must take in dietary fat to remain healthy.

When these genetically-altered mice were placed on a no-fat diet, they developed fatty liver disease and suffered from low sugar levels. And, also noteworthy, because their livers were unable to burn the old fat, extra pounds accumulated.

Both conditions were reversed when researchers modified their diets to include fat.

In fact, on a normal diet, the modified mice were no different than normal ones in terms of body weight, body fat, metabolic rate and food intake.

Scientists also found the effect of added dietary fat could be duplicated when the mice were treated with a drug that activates the PPAR-alpha found in all mammals and central to metabolic processes that extract energy from dietary components like carbohydrates and fats.

Dieters who want to lose fat stored in peripheral tissues, according to the lead researcher, may find it useful to consume small amounts of dietary fats, such as fish oils, to effectively activate PPAR-alpha and the fat burning pathways through the liver.

The quality of fats and oils eaten is critical. The fat and oils you add to your food or part of the foods you eat are important. Nuts, seeds and quality proteins provide excellent fats, as do fish oils and nut oils.

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