I know you must have heard some people say ‘fats make you fat’. This is not always true. Although some fats (bad fats) can make you gain weight, there are some healthy fats that can help you lose weight.
You may ask “why do we need to even include fat in our diet?” The truth is we can’t live without fats because they constitute an important part of a healthy diet. In fact, our bodies need healthy fat to function properly and enhance weight loss.
Further, when you eat fats, they deliver fat-soluble vitamins to your body, act as a source of energy, provide essential fatty acids and keep your skin soft.
Based on the 2005 Dietary guidelines of the U.S Department of Agriculture, every adult is recommended to get 20-25% of their calories from fats. But do you know that a typical American get 34%-40% of calories from fats? This is because we are usually enticed by tasty fatty foods that appeal to us.
However, you need to understand that not all fats are good; some (bad fats) would only make your weight loss efforts futile. Healthy fat boost satiety. When you eat them, they help you control your calorie intake for weight loss.
Bad fats, on the other hand, will only increase your risk for chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol and heart diseases.
This is why you need to understand the difference between good fats and bad fats. It helps you choose the right type of dietary fat to lose weight, better your heart and live longer and healthier. Quickly, I will show you some fat types and what is good/bad about them.
Bad Fats/ Fats You Should Avoid
Bad fats are fats that can increase your risk of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases, especially when you eat them in excess. You should avoid them when you’re trying to lose weight. Two examples include:
Trans-fats are also called trans-fatty acids and they are found in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Fatty foods like margarine, French fries doughnuts, cookies, pastries, crackers, cakes, and microwave popcorn contain Trans-fats and they are bad for weight loss.
When you consume Trans-fats, it can raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also called “bad cholesterol” and lower HDL cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Saturated fats are commonly found in dairy products and high-fat meats including fatty cuts of beef, lamb, pork, cheese, butter, ice cream, and milk. They are also contained in cocoa butter, coconut oil, and palm oil.
Saturated fats can be used as part of fat loss program if used sparingly. In fact, many research shows that this fat may not be as bad as once thought. One study conducted on 16,000 European adults found that consuming saturated fats was associated with a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
However, some studies have also shown that if you eat excess saturated fat, it can increase your blood cholesterol levels and LDL levels.
Healthy fats can fulfill your dietary needs without increasing your chances of adding weight or developing chronic diseases. They are good options when you’re trying to lose weight. Two major types include:
You can get a rich amount of healthy fats when you consume foods like peanuts, almonds, cashews peanut oil, pecans, avocado, and vegetable oil.
Research has shown over the years that when you eat foods containing monounsaturated fats such as those listed above, it improves your blood cholesterol and decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
This healthy fat is commonly called essential fat because it cannot be produced in the body. The body depends on foods you eat to get them.
Polyunsaturated fat has also been shown by several types of research to decrease the risk of heart diseases. In one study, it reduced the risk of heart diseases by 19% when used as a substitute for saturated fat.
A good example of this fat is called Omega-3 fatty acids. This fat has been proven by research to decrease the risk of coronary diseases, guard against irregular heartbeat and lower blood pressure levels.
Some high-fat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout, herrings, and sardines. You can choose them when you’re trying to achieve your weight loss goals.
You can also get omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts, canola oil, and flaxseed but usually in the less active form than that found in fish.
Have you heard of omega-6 fatty acids? This is another example of polyunsaturated fat. You can find it in fatty foods like roasted soybeans, soy nut butter, tofu, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soft margarine, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.
The more you know about the different types of fats and their unique effect on your body, the more you understand which fats are healthy fats and which are bad fats for weight loss. Don’t accept the belief that all saturated fats are bad. Some are healthy and can even help you achieve weight loss. Trans fat increases your LDL cholesterol and is bad for losing weight. Overall, choose healthy fats which increase satiety including unsaturated and saturated fats from a variety of seeds, unprocessed meats, fish and nuts. Remember! Eating healthy fats in moderation during weight loss will help meet your dietary fat needs without increasing your risk of chronic diseases.