This is a question we get asked very, very often. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that whilst we are speaking with a client, they reveal that they are eliminating fats for more weight loss. Let’s make it clear - This is definitely not the right approach!
You may wonder, isn't fat bad for you?
Fat is a major source of energy. It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding the nerves. It is essential for blood clotting (the important process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured), muscle movement, and inflammation (which indicates that the body is fighting something harmful and is trying to heal itself).
For long-term health, some fats are better than others. By understanding the difference between good and bad fats and how to include more healthy fat in your diet, you can improve your mood, boost your energy and well-being, and even lose weight.
“Bad” fats, such as artificial trans fats and saturated fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats have been blamed for; weight gain, clogged arteries, an increased risk of certain diseases and so forth. But “good” fats such as unsaturated fats and omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, and even control your weight.
Since fat is an important part of a healthy alimentation, rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important to focus on eating more beneficial “good” fats and limiting harmful “bad” fats.
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats”. These fats can help to:
Lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing good HDL.
Prevent abnormal heart rhythms.
Lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation.
Lower blood pressure.
Prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).
Adding more of these healthy fats to your diet may also help to make you feel more satisfied after a meal, reducing hunger and thus promoting weight loss.
Monounsaturated fat – good sources include:
Olive, canola, peanut, and sesame oils
Nuts (almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews)
Polyunsaturated fat – good sources include:
Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines) and fish oil
Tips to consume healthy fats;
Limit your intake of saturated fats by replacing some of the red meat you eat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish, and switching from whole milk dairy to lower fat versions.
Eat omega-3 fats These include a variety of fish sources as well as plant sources such as walnuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, and soybean oil.
Use olive oil instead of butter or stick margarine. For baking, try canola oil.
Eat more avocados. Try them in sandwiches or salads or make guacamole. Along with being loaded with heart- and brain-healthy fats, they make for a filling meal.
Reach for the nuts. Make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in unhealthy fat or added sugars. Create your own healthy dressings with olive, flax seed, or sesame oils.
In Part 2 we will go through the “bad” fats, how to avoid them and how to make healthier choices without sacrificing taste.
Make mindful decisions.
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