Years back the biggest thing you heard from dietitians or nutritionists or even just the media was to stay away from fats. The stigma used to be that all fats were bad and if you eat fats, you are going to get fat. Fortunately for individuals like myself who study nutrition we now know that this is not the case. In fact there are healthy fats that people SHOULD incorporate into their every day routine. So below I will separate what healthy fats are and what some unhealthy fats are and a brief description of why. We will also go over some benefits to incorporating healthy fats into your diet and how they can help you LOSE weight.
When categorizing fats there are three main types: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. We have all had previous information thrown at us to stay away from certain ones like saturated fats. In reality to have a balanced diet you should try to keep your fat consumption 1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated, and 1/3 polyunsaturated.
Saturated fats: Dairy, meats, coconuts, coconut oil, etc.
Monounsaturated fats: Peanuts, peanut butter, olives, olive oil, avocado, etc.
Polyunsaturated fats: Fish, vegetable oils
So making sure that you have a balanced diet of each type of the fats will ensure a healthy diet. Most people have a stigma to stay far far away from fats but in reality fats are beneficial in many ways.
Incorporating healthy fats into your diet help with satiety so it will keep you fuller for longer which can minimize snacking. It helps with your body composition in other ways as well, by regulating hormones, and improving your metabolism it can help lessen inflammation in your body which will result in you staying leaner.
Making sure you are taking in healthy fats can also improve your brain health as well. Since your brain is mainly made up of fat and cholesterol, it makes sense that making sure you eat healthy fats will keep optimal health. Make sure that your fats are essential fatty acids (DHA) for optimal brain health. Some foods that are good sources of DHA (Omega-3 fatty acids) are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and oysters. Cod liver oil also has a good amount of DHA as well.
Better Looking Skin
By incorporating healthy fats into your diet it could help the health of your skin as well. If you suffer with dry skin something you can try is adding in more fatty acids into your diet (like the ones we spoke of above). Higher levels of Omega-3’s have shown to make the skin look plumper, as well as raising the quality of the way the skin looks by providing the necessary building blocks for the skin cells and reducing the amount of inflammation.
To lose fat you need to be on a low fat diet: WRONG. When people start taking fat out they usually will up the amount of carbohydrates in their diet. Plus when products lower the fat content they usually add sugar which when you eat them the body will store them as fat anyways. Focus on knowing healthy fats vs unhealthy fats and you WILL lose weight. Healthy fats also increase your satiety which will keep you feeling fuller longer which will help you if you are trying to lose weight.
This does not necessarily mean you need to cut these out of your diet but should be consumed once in a while not all the time.
High Fat Dairy: We try to recommend to adults to switch to a 1% or skim milk. However those may not be appealing to some. So if you like 2% or whole just be aware of the fat content and keep the consumption to a minimum. This also includes butter, whole milk cheese, whole milk yogurt, etc.
Really fatty cuts of meat: dark meat chicken, fatty steak, pork, etc. Again this does not mean you should never indulge but to keep it for celebrating or special occasions.
Trans fat: This includes doughnuts, cookies, ice cream, etc. Keep the consumption of these products to a minimum. Besides the trans fat in these products that is already not good for you many are jam packed with additives and preservatives which are chemicals that you are going to put into your body.
Just remember even though we were talking about which fats are healthy and which are not so healthy, balance is key. You need to remember to reward yourself and celebrate once in a while. If you have been working your butt off to get those 5 pounds off and your favorite treat is a cookie, you indulge and celebrate with that cookie. When you are done though, you get back on track and keep going to work on your next goal. You do not want to lose the progress you have worked so hard to achieve. If you successfully work on balance, you will have no problem achieving your goals without restricting all the foods you love.