‘Obesity is an inflammatory disease, and inflammation plays a greater role in the downward spiral to obesity than most people realize’, wrote Gerald Weissmann, MD, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology).

If you are obese, your fat cells release inflammatory substances. However, inflammation may also have contributed to your weight gain. The type of inflammation associated with weight gain is low level, but chronic; it’s internal, so you can’t see it.

Some fats can have an inflammatory effect, others an anti-inflammatory effect. Many people are low in omega 3 fats. These fats are essential; they help you maintain a healthy weight. Not only are they anti-inflammatory, but they also have a number of properties that support your weight loss.

Ella’s story

In the main, Ella followed a pretty good diet. She ate a variety of foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables. So, she didn’t understand why she wasn’t several pounds lighter. She often felt low, and at those moments she wanted to reach for biscuits to cheer herself up.

For this reason, she deliberately didn’t keep them in the house. The desire wasn’t enough for her to go to the shops, but if biscuits were in the cupboard, she couldn’t resist. Her thick chestnut hair that she’d always been so proud of was dry and lackluster, as was her skin.

And she no longer wore her contact lenses on a regular basis, as they made her eyes feel uncomfortable. She put this down to long hours at the computer.

When we looked at Ella’s diet, there were a lot of healthy foods. However, it was very low in omega 3 fats. About a year ago she’d become vegetarian and no longer ate oily fish. Whilst she ate a lot of sunflower seeds, she didn’t include seeds that are higher in Omega 3.

Her other symptoms were also indicative of low omega 3. The good news was that simple changes to her diet would significantly boost her omega 3 levels. This would help reduce her dry eyes and hair and, most importantly, improve her mood! She mainly wanted biscuits when she was feeling low. Boosting her omega 3 levels could also help her burn fat, making it easier to lose those extra pounds.

How low Omega 3 affects your weight?

Your body can’t make Omega 3 fats, so you have to get them from your diet. Yet they are not in many foods, so you may be low in these essential fats. The more overweight you are, the lower your Omega 3 levels are likely to be. Omega 3 fats may help weight loss.

They potentially reduce your appetite, boost your metabolism, increase the amount of fat you burn and reduce the amount of fat you store. They also reduce inflammation, which is helpful, as you now know that inflammation and weight gain are linked.

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Inflammation and weight gain

When you have an infection or injury, your body has an acute inflammatory response. This assists in the healing process and afterwards dies down. In contrast, the type of inflammation associated with obesity is low intensity, but chronic. And it’s throughout your body.

If you have low levels of inflammation inside your body, you may not even be aware of it. Yet, the more you have, the more weight you are likely to gain. This is because the inflammation caused by your fat cells can affect your response to insulin.

You may even develop insulin resistance, which makes it hard to lose weight. Whilst inflammation can lead to weight gain, weight gain can in turn lead to inflammation. If you carry excess fat, your fat cells, particularly those around your belly, release more inflammatory substances. Your inflammation causes you to gain weight and your weight gain causes more inflammation. This can become a recurring cycle.

Read also About Omega 3 Fatty Acid Foods

A word on other fats

It is not just the omega 3 fats that can affect your weight. Other fats are also anti-inflammatory, inflammatory, increase insulin sensitivity and make it easier to lose weight. But some fats have the opposite effect.

Saturated fats, in meat and dairy, can be inflammatory and reduce your sensitivity to insulin. The more of these fats you eat, the more inflammation you are likely to have and the more weight you are likely to gain. Red meat (beef, pork, lamb) contains more saturated fat than chicken or turkey.

Belly fat

The type of fat you eat also affects where you store fat. If you eat more saturated fat, in meat and dairy, you are likely to store more fat around your internal organs and your belly. Omega 3 fats, on the other hand, are associated with reduced belly fat.

Quick questionnaire—Is low omega 3 contributing to your weight?

If you answer Yes to three or more questions, then low omega 3 levels may be making it harder for you to lose weight.

  • Do you suffer from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis? 
  • Is your immune system low?
  • Do you often get bugs?
  • Do you have problems sleeping?
  • Do you have dry skin?
  • Do you have dry hair or dandruff?
  • Do you have dry eyes?
  • Do you have eczema?
  • Are you very thirsty?
  • Is your memory not as good as it could be?
  • Do you have PMS or breast pain?
  • Do you suffer from depression?

Key things you have learned in this article

The more overweight you are, the lower your omega 3 levels are likely to be. Omega 3 fats can reduce your appetite, help you burn more fat, and reduce belly fat. Obesity is an inflammatory condition, and omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory. If you eat a lot of saturated fats in red meat and dairy, this can increase inflammation, which causes weight gain, particularly around your belly.

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