Does your fat seem to really like you and stubbornly refused to budge? It can be extremely frustrating when, no matter what you do, however much effort you put in, your weight loss is painfully slow. Or maybe you find it hard to know when you are full.

Does your body tell you when you have had enough? If not, how are you supposed to know how much to eat?! In this article, we look at how the type of fats you eat affect your weight. Some fats can be inflammatory and others anti-inflammatory.

Remember that obesity is an inflammatory disease, and inflammation plays a significant role in weight gain. If the fats you are eating are increasing inflammation in your body, that excess weight is going to want to stick around. If you decrease the inflammation in your body, then you and the fat will part ways more easily! The fats you consume can bring your body into balance or make the imbalances worse.

We are going to look at which fats reduce your appetite; help you lose weight and improve your health and well-being. We are also going to look at which fats should be limited and which avoided completely.

Emma’s story  

As Emma continued to try to improve her choice of foods, she realized her diet was very low in Omega 3 fats. She felt her saturated fat intake was fine—she didn’t eat meat and had dairy in moderation.

And she cooked and made salad dressings with virgin olive oil (a healthy monounsaturated fat). So, when it came to fats, she just had one thing to concentrate on increasing her omega 3. Recently, she tried chia seed for the first time and was really enjoying her chia porridge. To top up her omega 3 further, she decided to start having oily fish twice a week.

One evening she would cook herself a salmon steak and she’d try tinned sardines for lunch. Now, it’s not a good idea to eat a lot of tinned food. But you are never going to get it perfect with our modern lives, and the benefits from the sardines outweighed the tin, especially as Emma rarely used tinned food.

Emma noticed that the changes she was making were definitely having some effect. It wasn’t a dramatic overnight change, but in the past, when she’d finish her meal, she’d want more. She also noticed that after eating the meals with oily fish she felt fuller, more satiated; she didn’t want to carry on eating. Even though Emma had switched her focus from trying to lose weight to bringing her body into balance, she was starting to lose weight. She was delighted when a friend she hadn’t seen in a while noticed and complimented her on how good she was looking.

Fats that can help and fats that hinder weight loss

Fats have had a bad press in recent years. At 9 calories per gram, they are higher in calories than the other macronutrients. Proteins and carbohydrates both contain 4 calories per gram. So, it may seem that following a low-fat diet is a good idea if you want to lose weight.

But it is not just the calories that count. It is also important to consider the type of fats you eat, as some of them can help with weight loss. Perhaps you have followed a low-fat diet yourself. But what did you replace the fats with? Maybe refined carbohydrates.

This is bad news for your weight (and for your health in general). The types of fat you consume and what you eat instead of the fat are both important. Let’s take a look at the different types of fat.

Polyunsaturated fats

There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega 3 and omega 6. These are known as essential fats because your body can not make them. You, therefore, need to eat them.

Omega 3 fats—Include these

Omega 3 fats are particularly important for weight loss and for your health. they have many benefits from reducing your appetite to increasing the amount of fat you burn. Remember, the more overweight you are, the lower your Omega 3 levels are likely to be. Omega 3 fats improve insulin sensitivity, which helps balance your blood sugar levels.

They are also important for female hormone balance. There are different types of Omegas 3 fats. And oily fish contain the types your body needs. These are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosatetraenoic acid). Oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herring and tuna. Tinned tuna has had these essential fats removed, though other tinned oily fish still contain them.

Marine algae also contain DHA and EPA. Another type of Omega 3 fat, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), is found in walnuts, flaxseed, chia and hemp seed. Green leafy vegetables also contain some ALA. Your body converts ALA into the type of fats found in oily fish. However, this conversation is not very efficient.

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Omega 6 fats—include but make sure you have a good ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 

Like the Omega 3 fats, the Omega 6 fats can be anti-inflammatory, improve insulin sensitivity and help female hormone balance. But with the Omega 6 fats, it’s not quite so straightforward, and that’s what we are going to look at now.

Our ancestors consumed a diet with roughly equal levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6. Today, we consume around twenty times more Omega 6 to 3. So how is this relevant to health and weight loss? Well, Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory. Although we need Omega 6 fats, as they are an essential fat, they can either cause inflammation or reduce it.

If you eat a lot of Omega 6 relative to Omega 3, the Omega 6 fats are more likely to cause inflammation. And inflammation is linked to weight gain. If you have a high level of Omega 6 fats or a high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, this increases your risk of obesity. You are also likely to store more fat around your belly.

If you consume high levels of Omega 6, this increases your resistance to leptin and insulin. Leptin, remember, is a hormone that suppresses your appetite and promotes fat burning. If you are resistant to leptin, you are likely to eat more and burn less fat. If you are insulin resistant, you are also likely to gain weight.

It is therefore important to make sure you include plenty of Omega 3 fats in proportion to Omega 6 fats. If you eat a lot of processed foods, you are likely to have a high Omega 6 to 3 ratio. Omega 6 fats are in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower and sesame. Besides Omega 6 fats, nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fats, which are helpful for your health and weight.

Monounsaturated fats—include these

Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. These are healthy fats to include. Monounsaturated fats improve insulin sensitivity, so they help blood sugar balance, which reduces cravings and stops giving your body the message to store fat.

Not only can including extra virgin olive oil on a Mediterranean diet help your blood sugar balance, but also it reduces abdominal obesity. (A Mediterranean diet is based around fruit, vegetables, fish, whole grains, nuts and olive oil.)

Some people trying to lose weight cut out nuts, considering them ‘fattening’. However, by including nuts in your diet, you are less likely to gain weight. That doesn’t mean you should eat loads of nuts. It means it can be helpful to include them in moderation. Whilst nuts are high in fat, these are healthy fats.

Research suggests that if you eat more nuts, you may excrete more fat in your stools. One study found that following a Mediterranean diet supplemented with 30 grams a day of mixed nuts (15 grams of walnuts, 7.5 grams of hazelnuts and 7.5 grams of almonds) resulted in a significant decrease in central that is, abdominal obesity. Include raw, unsalted nuts.

However, watch your portion size. Just have a handful. If you are snacking on nuts, stick to just seven or eight. If you want a larger portion, instead of having more nuts, why not have them with a piece of fruit.

Saturated fats—have in moderation only

Saturated fats can be inflammatory; the more you eat, the more inflammation you are likely to have. This can lead to weight gain. Saturated fats significantly worsen insulin resistance, so they are not helpful for blood sugar balance and are best limited. Saturated fats are found in meat, lard, dairy and coconut oil. Beef, pork and lamb are higher in saturated fats than chicken or turkey.

Organic beef from cattle fed on grass has a better fat profile than nonorganic beef, with a lower ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. Meat and milk from organic and grass-fed cattle also have more of a fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help weight control. Whether dairy causes inflammation or not is controversial.

One review of sixteen studies on dairy concluded that milk and dairy products had a weak anti-inflammatory effect. It also stated that more research was needed, and the type of dairy product should be considered. (This study was sponsored by the dairy industry, although it states that the sponsor played no role in the study.)

Whether the dairy is fermented or not may make the difference. Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria, which support your gut bacterial balance. Your gut bacteria play a role in inflammation. Fermented foods such as yogurt may be anti-inflammatory, whereas cheese is associated with increased inflammation.

With sometimes contradictory information, where does this leave you with dairy? If you eat dairy, it may be helpful to include live natural yogurt and other fermented dairy and reduce cheese and other nonfermented dairy. Whilst coconut oil is high in saturated fat, the type of saturated fat it contains, medium chain triglycerides (MCT), can aid weight loss.

It is still best to consume coconut oil in moderation only. Replacing saturated fats with mono- or polyunsaturated fats reduces inflammation, can increase calorie-burning and advance your weight loss, as long as you do not overeat them. If you overeat saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats, you are likely to gain a similar amount of weight. However, if you overeat saturated fats, you store more fat around your internal organs and your liver, increasing your health risk.

Trans fats and processed or damaged fats—avoid

Trans fats

Trans fat is formed when unsaturated fats are hydrogenated to make them more solid. You find them in some processed foods, such as margarines. Trans fat causes weight gain, increases belly fat and is associated with insulin resistance. Avoid these fats!

Damaged fats

Even fats that are good for you and can help you lose weight can become unhealthy if damaged, through processing or by exposure to heat or light. It is best to buy oils, in dark glass bottles. Buy those that are not highly processed. Whilst polyunsaturated fats are healthy, they are more easily and severely damaged by heating than other fats. To protect against this, cook with olive oil (monounsaturated fat) or coconut oil (saturated fat).

Low-fat foods

Be careful of low-fat foods. Fat carries the flavor. When manufacturers remove the fat, they typically add in extra sugar to enhance the taste. A low-fat product may, therefore, be unhealthy and high in calories. As long as they have no added sugar, low-fat foods are fine. If you eat dairy, should you choose whole-fat or low-fat? You may think that low-fat would be the answer.

However, eating whole-fat dairy has been linked to a lower risk of obesity. This does not mean that high-fat dairy products will prevent you from gaining weight. It indicates that you can eat whole-fat dairy in moderation on a weight-loss diet, but do not overeat them. If you choose low-fat dairy (particularly yogurts), make sure they do not have added sugar. Added sugars are not going to help your weight loss.

Foods that are high in both sugar and fat

Foods that are high in fat and sugar reduce your response to signals that you’re full and activate a system that triggers you to eat.

Chronic stress combined with a high-fat/high-sugar diet releases a neurotransmitter known as neuropeptide Y (NPY) into fat tissue. This increases the rate at which you gain weight.  NPY is a very potent appetite stimulant, making you want to eat more, particularly carbohydrate foods. So, if you eat high-sugar/high-fat foods when under constant stress, you will gain weight more rapidly than if you eat them when relaxed.

Tailor to the imbalances in YOUR body


When you are stressed, it is particularly important to balance your blood sugar levels. Including Omega 3 and monounsaturated fats and reducing red meat and nonfermented dairy can help.

Female hormones imbalances

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are particularly important for female hormone balance. Remember, nuts and seeds contain protein as well as fats. which ones have additional properties that help balance your female hormones.

If you eat a high-fat diet, particularly saturated fats (in red meat and dairy), you are more likely to have high oestrogen levels.

Appetite regulation disruption

The type of Omega 3 fats in oily fish help you feel fuller immediately. They also make you feel fuller for longer. Coconut oil contains a type of fat that may help you feel fuller than other fats. Remember that coconut oil is still a fat, so use only in moderation.

Gut bacterial imbalances

A high-fat diet may change your bacterial balance, reducing bacteria that help protect against obesity. Cottage cheese and yogurt are helpful to include, as they are fermented and contain the ‘good’ bacteria.

Slow metabolism

Omega 3 fats may help boost your metabolism. The fats in avocado oil and olive oil (oleic acid) or coconut oil (MCT and lauric acid) may also increase your metabolism. They are more likely to be burned for energy and less likely to be stored in fat cells.

Exposure to obesogens

Remember from Daisy’s story that obesogenic chemicals leach from plastic containers into food. This is especially true if the food is oily or fatty. So, avoid oils in plastic bottles and plastic-wrapped fatty foods.

Your next step

Your next step is to make sure you are including fats that help your health and weight, particularly the Omega 3 fats. If you eat fish, have oily fish two to three times a week. To increase plant sources of Omega 3 fats, add ground flaxseed or ground chia seed to smoothies or natural yogurt. Or snack on walnuts or add them to salads.

If you eat a lot of processed foods, how could you start to reduce them? This is important to improve your Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. Could you start by replacing one processed meal a week with a homemade alternative? It could be as simple as boiled new potatoes, salad and baked salmon.

If you eat a lot of meat and dairy, you may find reducing it and including more Omega 3 fats makes it easier to lose weight.

  • Could you replace a meat steak with an oily-fish steak?
  • Could you replace a cheese sandwich with a hummus sandwich with a handful of walnuts?
  • If you eat a lot of butter, could you sometimes have virgin coconut oil instead?
  • You can spread it on bread or on oat or rice cakes. What will work for you?

This step is about reducing the fats that harm your health and weight consuming healthy fats instead. Replace your cooking oil with virgin olive oil (in a dark glass bottle). Use olive oil or cold-pressed seed oils for salad dressings and add avocado to your salads. Have half an avocado or nuts or seeds for a snack. To reduce your fat intake, bake rather than fry. If you stir fry, use a little olive oil or add some water to the olive oil and steam fry.

Read Also About Best Fruits For Fat Loss

Key things you have learned in this article

  • Omega 3 fats are particularly helpful when it comes to your weight. They are anti-inflammatory, help blood sugar and female hormone balance, reduce your appetite and increase fat burning. The best source of Omega 3 is oily fish. It is also in walnuts, flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed and green leafy vegetables.
  • You need Omega 6 fats, but having too high a level can increase your appetite, make you burn less fat and increase weight gain. These fats are in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. If you eat a lot of processed foods, you are likely to have a high Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, which in turn makes you more likely to be overweight with fat around your belly.
  • Monounsaturated fats in olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds improve insulin sensitivity and help balance your blood sugar levels.
  • Saturated fats in meat and dairy are best limited. 
  • Trans fats, in some processed foods and margarines, should be avoided. They increase weight gain, particularly around your belly.
  • Low-fat foods are not always helpful for weight loss, as manufacturers often up the amount of sugar.

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