The idea of eating fat to lose fat is not exactly intuitive. After all, why should eating more of the substance you are trying to lose help you drop the pounds off your midsection? But flaxseed oil has a unique characteristic that helps it transform low-fat food into comfort food.
The feeling of "comfort" we get after eating certain high-fat foods is due to the way they cause food in the stomach to emulsify. When we digest mashed potatoes, or macaroni and cheese, or fresh yeast rolls with butter, tiny droplets of fat accumulate in the chyme, the mass of digested food, leaving the stomach for the small intestine.
Sensors in the lining of the small intestine cause the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which tells the brain we are full. And because fat slows down the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, that feeling of fullness can linger for an hour or two.
The secretion of cholecystokinin is greatest when we eat "creamy" foods.
If we eat them often enough, our brains will begin to feel the satisfaction of comfort food when the food is still in our mouths, even before it's digested. (It's not nice to try to fool your brain, however. If you intentionally spit out or vomit up your food to try to save calories, your brain will quickly catch on.) But cream has calories. And excess calories become fat.
Flaxseed Oil and Weight Loss
That's where flaxseed oil comes in. Flaxseed oil isn't a low-calorie food. Even flaxseed oil capsules have about 9 calories each. But when flaxseed oil hits the small intestine, there is a release of cholecystokinin. This can happen whether you get your flaxseed oil in capsules or added to your food.
That's not all. In addition to the release cholecystokinin that tells your brain that you are full, there is a diminished release of glucagon and insulin. That's very important to weight loss.
When your small intestine begins to bulge with food, receptors tell your central nervous system that digested sugar is on its way. Your pancreas releases two different hormones.
One is insulin, which stores the sugar. The other is glucagon, which makes your liver release sugar into the bloodstream just in case something slows down the release of sugar from your digested food.
The extra insulin doesn't just store sugar from food. It also stores fat from food. And if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, the glucagon can make your blood sugar levels zoom.
The "creaminess" added by flaxseed oil reduces this weight-gain effect. It won't override the effects of eating, say, a whole box of donuts, but it will make it easier for your body to avoid storing fat. And that's not all.
Up to 1/3 of your belly fat isn't fat at all. It's fluid between fat cells, trapped their because of inflammation. Your body can transform the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in flaxseed oil into the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosahexaenoic acid (EPA) needed to make anti-inflammatory hormones. You can lose weight even before you lose fat.
It's important to understand that flaxseed oil is not a weight loss miracle. You still have to eat less, and you still have to avoid inflammation to avoid fluid accumulation in your body fat. But a tiny amount of cold-pressed flaxseed oil added to food or taken in capsule form can go a long way toward helping your weight loss efforts.