How different oils and fats can reduce/increase cellulite

Fatty food = cellulite (unless you're a cavewoman)

Foods rich in oils and fat, including "healthy fats" such olive oil, are obviously not very good for both your health and appearance, due to their high calorie content (one gram of fat/oil contains 9 calories). Extra calories mean more fat deposited in the tissues, including the superficial adipose (fat) tissues located at the deeper layers of the skin (cellulite).

This general rule applies to almost all oils/fats, even many so-called healthy ones, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, argan oil, rapeseed oil, sesame oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, cream, nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios etc.), seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts etc.) and fatty foods in general (fatty meat, cheeses, pastry, biscuits, chocolate etc.).

The only exception to this rule applies to when you consume a very low carb diet, such as the paleolithic (caveman/cavewoman) diet, which, if properly followed, will not lead to fat accumulation or cellulite ("properly followed" means a moderate consumption of fat - no diet gives you a license to eat as much fat as you want and never put on weight).

On the other hand, a diet rich in both fats/oils AND carbs will definitely lead to putting on weight and cellulite.


The really good fats

As we mentioned above, the traditionally considered good oils, such as olive oil and unsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds, may offer protection from heart disease but they offer no protection from putting on weight and from developing cellulite. In this respect, they are almost as bad as the traditionally considered "bad fats", such as butter and fatty meat.

Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are three classes of fatty acids which are either used up for energy in the body, used up as building blocks in tissue cell membranes or stimulate fat burning.


Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (HUFAs)

Highly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (HUFAs), contained in oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel, halibut, salmon, herrings and anchovies, are used up as building blocks for nerve, brain and other organ tissues, so they do not end up as fat / cellulite in your body. The two main HUFAs are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These can also be taken by vegetarians in the form of capsules.

Furthermore, HUFAs actually stimulate fat burning, thereby increasing metabolism and helping you lose weight. It has been found that eating a salmon steak three times a week can actually lead to a loss of 2-3 kilograms in 3-4 months, without any other change in the diet.

As with everything else, moderation is the key here. Eating an excessive amount of oily fish or taking an excessive amount of fish oil will reduce your immunity, cause metabolic dysfunction and will probably not lead to more weight loss. It may even possibly lead to weight gain, as not all the excessive HUFAs can be used up as building blocks and the excess will end up being stored). So be reasonable. More is not always better.


Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

Unlike normal fats, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are readily metabolised by cells and used up for energy, thereby increasing energy levels in the body and preventing fat accumulation.

The best and richest source of MCTs is coconut butter (also known as coconut oil), with 70% MCT content.

Fractionated coconut oil can contain up to 100% of medium chain triglycerides, making it a fat source that can be used 100% for energy. Fractionated coconut oil, however, is not tasty and aromatic like normal coconut butter and it can lead to gastric distress if taken in high quantities (cramps / diarrhoea).

Again, moderation is the key here. In small quantities, MCTs are preferentially used for energy, in relation to other fats. If, however, you consume large amounts of MCTs, your body will use up as much as it needs for energy and then it will use the rest of MCTs, as well as all other fats and oils consumed, for fat storage.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Another type of fat that stimulates fat burning is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). CLA is naturally found in grass fed beef, but to get meaningful amounts of it, you must take it in concentrated capsule form and several capsules a day are needed for good results.

CLA cannot be combined with HUFAs because those two fats stimulate fat loss in opposite and competing ways, so you must choose between one or the other. You can also cycle the use of CLA with HUFAs every three months.


Local application of MCTs, HUFAs and CLA

Due to their direct effect on fat cell metabolism, MCTs, HUFAs and CLA can theoretically be used in anti-cellulite creams, with the aim to reduce fat content of the superficial fat cells.

Practically, however, HUFAs (i.e. fish oils) cannot be used locally due to their strong fishy smell (nobody wants to smell like a sardine, even if that would mean less cellulite!), leaving MCTs and CLA to be used for that purpose. In the creams and treatment products we use at the clinic, we use MCTs for the cream base and also use a patented CLA oil as a natural anti-cellulite ingredient.


The really bad guys

As we mentioned above, even if eaten in moderate quantities, most oils/fats (except MCTs and HUFAs) can lead to weight gain and cellulite, unless a very low carbohydrate diet is followed. Without carbs in the diet, moderate consumption of fats and oils are OK, but in the presence of carbs in the diet, most fats are "bad guys".

However, there are some "damaged" fats or artificially manipulated fats, that must never be eaten, as they are detrimental to health in multiple ways.


Fried oils and fats

Oils and fats become oxidised if cooked at high temperatures, i.e. if they are fried (especially the "good" unsaturated oils, such as sunflower oil, sesame oil etc.). When these "damaged" fats are eaten, they get absorbed by cell and mitochondrial membranes, replacing "good fats". This causes inflammation, DNA damage and overall health dysfunction, which is experienced as fatigue and poor health. For cellulite, which partially is an inflammatory aesthetic condition, fried food is one of the worst things you can eat.

You can imagine that oils/fats which are fried several times, such as the ones contained in chips, crisps and other fried food bought in restaurants and shops, are simply horrible for your health and appearance.


Hydrogenated Oils / Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs)

Hydrogenated Fats, also known as Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs), are unnatural oils made in the oil factory from natural unsaturated oils. Like fried oils, these "pre-damaged" trans fats also get absorbed by cell and mitochondrial membranes, cause inflammation, DNA damage and overall dysfunction and lead to fatigue, poor health and cellulite.

Trans fats are not only found in fried foods but also in many ready made foods, such as margarine, croissants, biscuits / cookies, pies, pasties, desserts, ready made meals, crisps etc. If you ever buy such foods, you should always check the label and look for hydrogenated fats / trans fatty acids and if you see them on the ingredient list you should always refuse to buy that product.

Avoiding trans fats, fried food and sugar (another evil food ingredient) is the least you can do to avoid degenerative disease, ageing and cellulite.