If you pay attention to trends and attitudes within weight loss communities, you be noticing a shift. The emphasis on low-fat diets that long ruled over this arena is diminishing. As scientists come to recognize more and more that carbohydrates are the enemy, the reputation for dietary fat is transforming. Not only are we realizing fats aren’t as bad as we thought, but we’re actually recognizing their beneficial qualities. Now, this isn’t true of all forms, and it is important to understand the distinctions. Which fats are healthy, and what are their advantages? Where can I get them, via diet or supplements? How can they play a role in wellness while assisting, or at least not derailing, weight loss?
Now, we are certainly not here to tell you that consuming fat is universally going to help you lose weight. The reality does not run quite so directly counter to conventional thought. Indeed, fat has a dense calorie composition, with about nine per gram. That’s more than you’ll find in carbs or protein. Weight management is ultimately a function of cals in/cals out, so you can see why this would be problematic. Getting too much fat in your diet can generally lead to weight gain as well as increasing risk for diabetes, heart disease and other negative outcomes. But the right amount of healthy fats can yield a lot of advantages. Determining which fats are healthy is a key imperative.
How Do I Know Which Fats Are Healthy?
On a basic level, there are two different categories of fat. Firstly, there’s saturated fat. This is the bad kind, which you should avoid when possible. Saturated fats and trans fatty acids are the types that chiefly contribute to packing on pounds. Additionally, they can raise cholesterol levels and clog arteries. Saturated fats come from animal products, such as poultry, dairy and eggs. The recommendation is that you limit these fats to 10 percent or less of your total caloric intake. Trans fats, meanwhile, are those you find in fried foods, baked goods, cookies, packaged snacks and more. They too are the enemy.
So which fats are healthy? That would be unsaturated fat, which comes in two forms: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids. By replacing the bad fats above with these good fats, you can bolster your weight loss and also lower your risks for high cholesterol and heart disease. You can find polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils, so subbing those in for food prep is a great step. Within this you will find the heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which are really gaining a lot of attention. These might be the healthiest fats around, offering tremendous anti-inflammatory support while boosting cardiovascular health. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from food sources like fatty fish, flaxseed and nuts. You can also get them from supplements such as fish oil capsules.
Monounsaturated fats are also good for the heart. These are a big component of Mediterranean diet, because one of their top sources is olive oil. You can get vitamin E from these fats, a nutrient many of us don’t get enough of in our diets. Find these types of healthy fats in foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and olives.
The key takeaway is that fats are not all bad. In fact, there are some that can provide energy and actually improve metabolism. It’s all about creating the right balance and ensuring you are getting way more of the good fats than the bad ones. In modern dieting, identifying which fats are healthy and framing your diet around them is a primary objective.