Time to clear up any myths. Fat doesn't make you fat. In fact, fat can help you maintain your weight. What's more it packs twice the amount of energy than either protein or carbs. When you don't have any fat in your diet, it's like not having any fuel to burn off all those kilojoules you eat.
One study found people who consumed the most unsaturated fatty acids have lower
BMI's and less tummy fat than those who consumed the least. Why? It's been found that fatty acids are little super boosters for your metabolism. Plus, research has found you actually need 'new' fat to help burn off the 'old' fat stored in your tummy, thighs and butt. And because it takes longer to burn off, you feel fuller for longer.
But - and it's a big BUT. Not all fats are created equal. For starters, trans-fats are absolute no-nos. They are the unhealthiest fats on the planet. Also known as partially hydrogenated oils, they are used in marg, spreads, fried foods and processed packaged foods like baking mixes, muffins and certain biscuits. One study showed that after a period of 6 years, those fed with a high trans-fat diet had 33% more stomach fat than those who ate a diet high in monounsaturated fat.
What you can do
Firstly, add whole foods full of healthy fats to your diet - think avocados, legumes, nuts, seeds, olives, vegetable oils and fish. You will also get a healthy dose of saturated fats from your primary protein sources like meat and dairy. Your body needs both proteins and fats to work at its best. Even more important, healthy fats are essential when trying to lose weight, especially from the belly.
Eat more fish - particularly oily fish like salmon herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies. These contain omega-3 fatty acids which not only protect you from disease, but can boost serotonin levels (your 'happy' hormone) and along with exercise, also increase muscle mass. Certain evidence also suggests that these omega-3 fats help reduce tummy fat.
Think of changing your current vegetable oil to coconut oil which is the healthiest of the bunch. Or take it as a supplement. To boost fat loss, it's best to take about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day. Or you can try boost your fatty acid levels with Revite capsules packed full of both Omega 3 and 6.