Does fish oil help with weight loss?
The Hallelujah Diet is all about plant-based nutrition, ideally in the form of raw fruits, vegetables and grains organically grown and harvested to capture nutrients in their purest, most vital state.
However, there is one very important nutrient that our bodies cannot make and is difficult to get from plants, so we need to fish for it.
It just so happens that certain species of “fatty” fish produce the necessary types of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, called eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid, or EPA and DHA, respectively.
Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that fish oil may play a role in increasing the effectiveness of a weight loss program. Simply taking fish oil supplements alone is not likely to melt away the pounds, but it may enhance the effects of exercise and healthy eating.
Benefits of fish oil
Many studies point to the potential health benefits of long chain omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in certain types of seafood. Fish oil supplements are widely used to support the health of the brain, eyes and heart, reduce inflammation and even ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition to these benefits, there are also studies that indicate omega-3s may help remove inches from your waistline.
While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) typically does not validate potential health benefit claims made by dietary supplements, it does regulate what claims supplement manufacturers can make on their packaging. In 2019, the FDA determined that there is “credible evidence” to support the qualified health claim that EPA and DHA together may reduce hypertension.** However, it also cites “inconsistent and inconclusive” research, which is a reminder that the claims of any supplement should be considered carefully and weighed against any potential downsides.
How does fish oil help with weight loss?
It may reduce feelings of hunger
Anyone who has tried to lose weight by adopting a reduced-calorie diet knows that hunger is your biggest challenge. It’s not easy to find a safe, natural, healthy way to feel more satisfied and less food-deprived in order to consume fewer calories for an extended period.
While more research is needed, it is believed that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help control one’s appetite while delivering plenty of other health-promoting benefits.
Participants in one study reported feeling more full two hours after a meal when they consumed more than 1.3 grams of fish oil omega-3 per day while on a calorie-restricted diet.
It might increase metabolism
Some studies have provided evidence that fish oil may increase the number of calories you burn each day, also known as your metabolic rate. Although more research is needed, there is data that suggests a correlation between omega-3 intake and an increase in both resting and active metabolic rate.
The effect of fish oil may also extend to amplifying the amount of calories from fat we burn during exercise, and our ability to avoid putting weight back on after returning to normal eating habits.
It may help you build muscle and lose fat
It’s possible that omega-3 helps the body burn fat and create muscle mass. Diets that rely primarily on consuming fewer calories can result in the loss of lean muscle as well as fat. While this may be pleasing to those who measure success by the scale alone, it may negatively impact physical function as well as metabolic rate.
Several limited studies support the theory that omega-3 may suppress the body’s process of breaking down skeletal muscle to compensate for an energy-restricted diet. It has been observed that fish oil may contribute to the reduction of abdominal fat in particular while supporting the creation of lean muscle mass.
By changing body composition, taking a fish oil supplement while dieting might make you feel and look better even though your net weight loss may not be that significant.
What is the best way to get the benefits of omega-3?
While there is no specific recommendation for the amount of omega-3 we should consume, the reference daily intake (RDI) for total omega-3 is 1,100 mg for women and 1,600 mg for men.*
Our bodies don’t produce omega-3, and plant sources such as flaxseed oil provide alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential fatty acid that is not very efficiently converted into EPA and DHA in the human body.
It is commonly advised by health professionals that people get 200-300 mg of EPA and DHA per day.
For those of us who don’t eat fish, a high-quality fish oil supplement is an important part of a well-balanced diet. But beware, all fish oil supplements are not the same.
There is no shortage of omega-3 supplements on the market, so it’s important to find a product that, like Hallelujah Diet’s Finest Pure Fish Oil Supplement, is rigorously refined and tested to ensure high concentrations of EPA and DHA, with absolutely no evidence of mercury or other harmful substances that can be found in fish.
The key to losing excess weight is a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods and regular physical activity. Fish oil, on its own, is no substitute for a well-designed weight loss program, but could help enhance its effect on body composition and weight management.
The Hallelujah Diet believes in the importance of getting enough omega-3 for overall health, which is why we make a small exception to our vegan principles to suggest a nutrient derived from fish.
Remember, before incorporating fish oil or any other supplement into your weight loss journey, consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance, particularly if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medication.