The Skinny on Fat
Do you avoid fat because you think it will make you fat? You are not alone! For years, scientists and the government were also baffled by fats. They thought fat made you fat and caused health problems such as heart disease. They were wrong!
The truth is that “fat” is not just one compound. There are good types of fat, and there are bad types of fat. Now, experts suggest focusing on including the good while avoiding the bad. Gone are the days when avoiding all fat is recommended. Here is how you can take advantage of fat to lose more weight and improve your health.
Fats to Choose
Some types of fat improve blood sugar control and improve your heart health. Not only that, but they can help you lose weight by fighting hunger and steadying metabolism. Unsaturated fats, especially monounsaturated fats and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, are the types of fats to look for regularly.
Turn to fatty fish for the top source of omega-3 fats. Broiled salmon with vegetables or on a salad, sardines with tomatoes, canned tuna salad made with plain yogurt instead of mayo, and anchovies on portabello mushroom pizza can all boost your omega-3’s. Not a fan of fish? Flaxseed and walnuts are plant-based sources of omega-3’s.
Monounsaturated fats are another group of healthy fats. As with omega-3 fats, some of the best sources of mono’s are healthy foods with other nutritional benefits. For example, avocados also have vitamin C and dietary fiber, nuts and peanuts have protein and dietary fiber, and olive oil has vitamin E. So go ahead and add some avocado to your Protein Smoothie or stir some peanut butter into your Protein Oatmeal.
Fats to Avoid
Fat may be necessary, but there are some fatty foods to stay away from if you want to lose weight. Foods that are high in saturated or trans fatty acids can be high in calories and low in nutrients. They can be not only bad for weight loss, but also be pretty bad for health. Many of them can also make you feel sick if you are a weight loss surgery patient.
There are some general groups of foods high in saturated or trans fats that you should probably try to stay away from as much as possible.
Fatty meats are high in saturated fat and unnecessary calories. Trim off visible fat or skin when cooking red meat or poultry, and make substitutions when you can. For example, you can save hundreds of calories when you try Vegetable Protein Chili or Turkey Protein Chili instead of fatty beef chili. Another great swap is Protein Meat Snacks instead of sausage sticks.
Fatty baked goods can be high in saturated fat from butter or shortening, plus have even more unwanted calories because of sugar and refined starch from flour. Pies, cookies and cakes are in this group. You can get your fix with low-carb swaps such as Protein Cookies and Protein Brownies, without paying a high sugar price.
Fried foods and processed snack foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to trans fats. These foods can clog your arteries faster than most other foods, and they are the opposite of what you want for weight loss. French fries, doughnuts, snack cakes with frosting, and cookies and crackers with partially hydrogenated oils are likely sources of trans fats. Trans fat-free snacks to try include Protein Bars and Protein Pretzels.
Healthy Fat Morning, Noon, and Night
You can include a small serving of a healthy fat with most meals and snacks to increase fullness and stay within your calorie limits. Sometimes, the healthy fat is already in your meal or snack. Take these examples.
- Apples with peanut butter is a snack with monounsaturated fat from peanut butter.
- Teriyaki salmon with broccoli is a dinner with omega-3 fats from the salmon.
- Guacamole with Protein Chips is a snack with monounsaturated fat from avocados in guacamole.
- If your meal or snack does not already have healthy fats, you can add some pretty easily. For example:
- Brush chicken, vegetables, or sweet potatoes with olive oil before roasting them.
- Sprinkle flaxseed or a few seeds onto your salad.
- Mix pecans or walnuts into cottage cheese or Protein Oatmeal.
It may be time to try a new approach if you have been avoiding all fat and your weight loss has been disappointing. Instead, embracing the healthy kinds of fat and eating them in moderation may be what you need to become less hungry and lose more weight. It can be a win in more ways than one!
- Abby Dean