After decades of thinking all fat is bad fat and causes us to get fat, it turns out that not all fats are created equal. Some of them are actually good for you and you need to consume fat to stay alive and healthy. Certain vitamins can only be absorbed by the body if consumed with some sort of fat. And there are various parts of your body, including your heart that need fat to run smoothly and stay healthy.
At first glance it makes sense to cut fat from your diet when you want to lose excess body fat. That’s been the basis behind every single diet from 1950 to 1990. It lead to the development and sale of countless low fat and fat free foods that still populate our grocery stores today. The idea of eating low fat has become deeply ingrained into our collective cultural conscious.
Yes, you can lose weight on a low calorie, low fat diet. Plenty of people have done it. But it takes a lot of willpower, and the vast majority of people can’t stick to it long term. They end up giving up and gaining more weight back then they lost in the first place. Our bodies are genetically engineered to crave fat because we need it. It’s what keeps us going, keeps us warm, and keeps up our energy levels.
While fat does have a lot more calories than the same amount of carbs or protein, it takes a long time to digest fat. It keeps us full and satisfied much longer than any other type of food. Does that mean you should go on a bacon and butter diet with a sprinkle of deep fried foods? Of course not. First off, we need to strive for balance and shouldn’t compensate for our past low fat diets that only made us fatter by overindulging in fats. Balance is the name of the game when it comes to healthy weight. Secondly, not all fats are created equal.
While there is still a lot to be learned about fats and the role they play in the many chemical process that take place in our bodies, we know that some fats are better for us than others. I’m sure you’ve heard of saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats, and mono-unsaturated fats. Stay away from mostly man-made Trans Fats. There’s been a big push in this direction and it’s a good thing.
The main fat you want to increase is mono-unsaturated fats. These types of fats will help your body repair itself and run at its best. Think of it as high performance fuel for your body. You can find this healthy type of fat in avocados, coconut oil, nuts, nut butters, olives, and olive oil to name a few.
Fatty Foods Can Be Healthy
I have news for you. Fatty foods can be healthy. Notice I said “can”. That doesn’t mean that doughnut or deep fried Twinkie has suddenly become a health food. Far from it. But it does mean that you can throw those low fat diets out the window and enjoy some healthy fatty foods like avocados, olives, nut butters, and even real butter.
Fat is an important part of a healthy diet. It’s what keeps you from feeling hungry. Fats also allow you to absorb more nutrients from other foods. That’s why it’s so important that you dress that colorful and super healthy salad, with a full fat dressing and for good measure throw few nuts or avocado slices on top. This will turn a simple salad into a healthy meal that will keep you going for hours. The fat will ensure that your body can absorb all the vitamins in that beautiful fresh produce on your plate.
Good fats like those found in olive oil and avocado for example, nourish your brain, your eyes, hair, and even the walls of every single cell of your body. It’s also important for hormonal well-being, because hormones are mainly made up of fatty acids. In short, consuming healthy fats is important and there are quite a few fatty foods out there that are actually good for you.
Let’s quickly run through a few sources of healthy fats that you want to eat more of. At the same time stay away from trans-fats which have been linked to an increased risk in heart disease.
Avocado – This is one of my favorite healthy fats. Add this delicious fruit to salads, sandwiches, wraps, or eat it on the side with eggs or grilled meat. Also delicious mashed up on toast or turned into guacamole and even in smoothies!
Coconut Oil – Start your day with a healthy fat boost by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your coffee. This oil is also great for cooking eggs or sautéing veggies. Pure coconut oil can be tasteless, while other versions leave you with a hint of coconut flavor.
Olives And Olive Oil – Olive oil makes a great base for salad dressings. It can be used to finish and flavor all sorts of food. Both olive oil and olives have long been staples of the Mediterranean Diet. Look for cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Olives make delicious portable snacks.
Nuts And Seeds – Speaking of nuts. Another healthy snack that you can keep at your desk, in your purse, and in your pantry is various nuts and seeds. They are full of healthy fats, vitamins and mineral. Eat them on their own, make your own healthy trail mix, or sprinkle them on your salad.
The most important lesson I want you to take away from this post is that fat isn’t bad for you. Some sources of fat are better for you than others, but overall, it’s not the enemy we so long though it was.