Just like other nutrients, fats are also essential for complete nutrition.
Fats play essential roles in our body such as insulation, storage of nutrients and energy production.
Fats do not cause weight gain unless you are consuming them in excess. In fact fats can make you lose weight in 5 ways:
- Eating fats burn fats.
- Fats control appetite.
- Eating fats cuts down on carbohydrates.
- Fat consumption helps you stick to a weight loss diet.
- Consuming healthy fats helps in gaining muscle mass.
Yep and each of these points are backed by research.
Don’t believe me then please read 5 Ways Fats Help In Weight Loss.
Healthy fats include unsaturated fats like those from olive oil, avocados, nuts etc.
Omega 3 fatty acids are the essential unsaturated fatty acids that are great for health and can be obtained from fatty fish.
Saturated fats were previously associated with weight gain and metabolic imbalances but saturated fats from natural sources like walnuts, flaxseed and coconut oil are good for health. (Read An Evidence Based Guide To Choosing Healthy Fats)
10 High Fat Food that Help in Weight Loss-Proven by Human Studies
Here is a list of 10 fat foods that are scientifically proven to cause weight loss.
1 cup serving (150g) of avocado provides 240 calories and 77% of these calories come from fats.
That would be 22g of fats and 15g of these fats are monounsaturated fats which come under healthy fats category.
Also avocados are a rich source of fibre and vitamins.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, avocado consumption is associated with a better diet quality and also body weight and waist circumference was lower in individuals consuming avocado compared to non consumers.
1 Hass avocado included as a part of cholesterol lowering diet actually lowers bad cholesterol.
This study was funded by Hass Avocado Board but owing to its monounsaturated fatty acid content it is true that avocados are heart friendly.
Consuming ½ of a Hass avocado at lunch cuts down appetite by 28% over 3-5 hours after a meal. But this adds 112 extra calories!
Pieterse et. al via their study suggest how avocado can help in weight loss: Consuming 200g/day of avocado with an energy restricted diet does not lower weight loss outcome when substituted for 30g of mixed dietary fat.
So assuming your dietary fat intake is within recommended daily limits (Read Fats and weight loss) and you are on a low calorie diet, eating ½ avocado a day can keep you satiated and curb your appetite.
What does this mean? Avocado is a rich source of healthy fats which are good for heart and metabolic health. Including ½ of a Hass avocado with a low calorie diet can help control appetite and reduce subsequent calorie intake.
A 3 ounce serving of cooked salmon provides 175 calories and 95 calories come from fat.
Salmon is a rich source of omega 3 and it has an omega 3 and omega 6 ratio of about 5.5:1.
Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to reduced inflammation, heart disease and improved immune function.
EPA and DHA are two omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil that are essential for health.
Seafood is a rich source of protein and proteins help you lose weight and gain muscle mass. (Read Proteins and weight loss)
A study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effect of seafood consumption on weight loss.
The study lasted for 8 weeks. The study involved four calorie restricted diets containing:
• Salmon (3 x 150g/week)
• Cod (3 x 150g/week)
• Fish oil (1. 3g omega 3 fatty acids / day)
• Control (no seafood)
Individuals consuming seafood lost significant weight around 5.2kg.
Salmon diet was considered the most effective since it also brought down inflammation.
Another study by same researchers demonstrate that fatty seafood like salmon facilitate weight loss by regulating hormones that affect appetite.
Weight loss with fatty seafood also lowers cholesterol.
What does this mean? Consuming salmon 3 servings of 150g per week can help in weight loss owing to its high omega 3 fatty acid content and high protein content.
1 large egg offers 71 calories, 45 of which come from fat! For 71 calories, eggs provide as much as 13 vitamins and minerals making it very nutrient dense.
Eggs are a rich source of cholesterol and this cholesterol is important for absorption of vital nutrients such as vitamin D,E and A which it carries.
Also cholesterol from eggs is good for health and raises good cholesterol.
And eggs are a decent source of protein. Protein speeds up weight loss by boosting metabolism and also helps in lean gains.
A study published in Journal Of American College of Nutrition shows that egg breakfast is more satiating than equal calorie bagel based breakfast leading to reduced energy intake at lunch.
Egg breakfast enhances weight loss but does not have any adverse effect on cholesterol levels despite of high cholesterol content of eggs.
What does this mean? Consuming 2 eggs for breakfast can help in weight loss despite of the high cholesterol content. The high cholesterol of eggs also provides fat soluble vitamins.
4. Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is considered as one of the healthiest fats on earth. 1 tablespoon of olive oil provides 119 calories.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat; around 70-80% of the fat is oleic acid- monounsaturated fat.
The high percentage of monounsaturated fat makes it a healthy oil as it helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
When comparing two high fat sources such as cream and extra virgin olive oil, it is found that extra virgin olive oil leads to better breakdown of fats after a meal.
A study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,2014 demonstrates that Mediterranean diets enriched with olive oil and nuts leads to better reduction in weight and waist circumference.
(We told you fats don’t make you fat! Oh Mediterranean diet is rich in good carbs too. .they don’t make you fat either Read Carbohydrates and weight loss)
A 3 year follow up study shows that Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil leads to weight reduction. (Read Mediterranean diet for weight loss)
Flynn et. al have proved that olive oil enriched diet is more effective in causing weight loss in breast cancer survivors compared to a low fat diet (National Cancer Institute diet).
What does this mean? Including as much as 3 tablespoon of olive oil per day can help in weight loss, considering you are on an energy restricted diet. You could replace your regular cooking oil with olive oil for a healthy heart and optimum weight.
5. Coconut oil
1 tablespoon of coconut oil offers 116 calories. Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats but these fats comprise medium chain triglycerides which help in weight loss.
Also these saturated fats raise the level of good cholesterol and coconut oil also benefits in diabetes.
A study was conducted where 49 overweight individuals were given 18-24g/MCT oil per day or olive oil as a part of weight loss program for 16 weeks.
MCT oil lead to better weight loss than olive oil and greater fat loss, greater intra-abdominal fat loss and greater trunk fat loss.
Consumption of 30 ml coconut oil daily can help reduce abdominal fat. Replacing regular cooking oil with coconut oil can help in weight loss. (Read 6 Cooking Oils That Aid In Weight Loss)
What does this mean? Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fats that are heart friendly and help in weight loss and curbing belly fat.
1 cup yogurt provides 149 calories and 70 calories are from fat. Total fat content is 8g and saturated fat is around 5g.
However the fat content differs based on type of milk that is used to make yogurt.
Yogurt contains dairy trans fat and these are healthy unlike the trans fat present in processed food.
One such trans fat is Conjugated Linoleic Acid and this one helps in weight loss. (Read CLA for weight loss)
Yogurt is a high protein source (8g per serving) and also provides calcium, phosphorous and vitamin B12.
Probiotic yogurt is proven to cause better weight loss than standard low fat yogurt.
A study published in International Journal of Obesity (London) demonstrated consuming yogurt (1 serving a day for 12 weeks) led to better weight loss than calcium supplementation.
Fat loss was 4. 43 kg in yogurt group compared to 2.75 kg in calcium group.
Trunk fat loss was boosted by 81% in yogurt group and a reduced waist circumference was also observed. Yogurt consumption also reduced muscle mass loss by 31%.
Researchers concluded that substituting yogurt for equal calorie foods promotes weight loss. The PREDIMED study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular diseases, 2016 stated that total yogurt consumption was not significantly associated with reversion of obesity but consumption of ‘whole fat yogurt’ was associated with reduction in abdominal fat.
What does this mean? Full fat yogurt provides you with calcium and protein that help in weight loss and studies show that consumption of full fat yogurt can help reduce belly fat.
1 ounce serving of flaxseeds provides 150 calories and 99 calories come from fat.
Flaxseed is a great source of omega 3 fatty acid- Alpha linolenic acid and omega 3s are good for weight loss.
Also it is a rich source of lignans- fibre related antioxidants.
Flaxseeds contain mucilage or gum like content and this gel like fibre prevents rapid gastric emptying thus keeping you satiated.
A study was conducted wherein the effect of supplementing with nuts and seeds on metabolic syndrome was assessed.
In addition to lifestyle counselling, individuals were provided with 30g of flaxseed or walnuts a day.
It was observed that reversion of central obesity or abdominal fat was higher in flaxseed group than walnut group or non supplemented group.
Additionally decrease in body weight, cholesterol, waist circumference etc. was observed.
Drinks supplemented with flax fibre and even flax fibre supplements are found to suppress appetite.
What does this mean? Flaxseeds provide fibre and omega 3 which help in weight loss. Including them in snacks can raise nutritional quality of diet and adding them to drinks can help curb appetite.
1 ounce serving of almonds packs in 167 calories and 124 calories are from fat. Almonds are a rich source of monounsaturated fats just like olive oil.
Also they are rich in minerals like magnesium, manganese, copper etc.
Foster et. al conducted a study to assess whether consumption of almonds actually hinders weight loss.
The study lasted for 18 months and individuals were randomized to receive either almond enriched low calorie diet or a nut free low calorie diet.
At 6 months the almond enriched diet group lost less weight than the nut free diet group but at 18 months there was no difference in weight loss outcomes.
Almond consumption also reduced cholesterol levels.
A study published in Journal of American Heart Association stated that consumption of 1. 5 oz of almonds a day as a substitute for high carbohydrate snack can reduce belly fat and leg fat.
Wien et. al demonstrated that almond enriched low calorie diet causes better weight loss than complex carbohydrate low calorie diet.
The study showed that low calorie diet supplemented with almonds brought about 18% reduction in body weight, 14% reduction in waist circumference, 30% reduction in fat mass and 8% reduction in total body water.
What does this mean? Snacking on almonds in place of high carbohydrate snack or supplementing a low calorie diet with almonds reduces body weight and belly fat.
1 ounce serving of walnuts provides 183 calories, 153 calories are from fats. Walnuts are rich in omega 3 which are beneficial for the heart and help reduce inflammation.
A walnut enriched breakfast is found to be more satiating than a walnut free breakfast. A study was conducted to assess whether addition of walnuts to diet lead to weight gain.
Theoretically 35g of walnut consumed everyday for 6 months should have led to a weight gain of 3.1 kg.
But walnut supplementation led to only a 0.4 kg increase in weight.
And when adjusted for energy differences it was found that walnut diet and control diet had no significant effect on weight.
Addition of 30g walnuts to a weight maintenance diet led to a similar weight loss outcome in 1 year (1-2 kg) as a nut free weight maintenance diet.
Katz et. al also showed that addition of 56g walnuts does not lead to weight gain but instead benefits heart health in obese.
What does this mean? Adding 1-2 ounce serving of walnuts to low calorie diet helps in weight maintenance. Including walnuts in shakes can help curb appetite.
10. Dark chocolate
1 ounce serving of dark chocolate (75-80% cacoa solids) provides 168 calories and 108 calories come from fat.
It is rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese. It is rich in antioxidants which benefits heart health.
Dark chocolate is found to be more satiating than milk chocolate. Chocolate milk drink reduces appetite better than carbonated beverages.
Low calorie diets are difficult to stick to and inclusion of a daily snack may motivate the person but at the same time may bring in excess calories leading to weight gain.
A funded study was conducted to examine this point; individuals received low calorie diet and either a dark chocolate snack or non chocolate snack.
Weight loss was similar in both groups but reductions in hip circumference, waist circumference and fat mass was greater in dark chocolate group. (Read Chocolate for weight loss)
What does this mean? 1 ounce serving of dark chocolate a day 1-2 times a week in combination with low calorie diet can help in weight loss. Dark chocolate should have 70% cocoa or even more and should be free from sugar.
Healthy fats are beneficial for our well being and optimum body function. Eating healthy fats can help reduce carbohydrate as fats serve as energy source.
Some high fat foods like salmon and flaxseed are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are essential for our body and should be obtained from food.
All of the above foods are rich in healthy fats and proven by clinical trials to cause weight loss.
However be it any food type, watch out for the calories and eat in moderation.