We need to consume healthy fats in order to have a healthy body. Fat is a nutrient, and just like we need a certain amount of carbohydrates and protein, we also need to eat fat in order to have energy, to absorb vitamins and to support brain and heart health. I am a Health Coach, not a doctor, so you may want to run what I am about to say by your own doctor. Here is my ‘skinny’ on FAT.
I consider “bad fats” such as artificial trans and saturated fats to be guilty of the unhealthy things that all fats have been accused of over the years – like clogged arteries, weight gain and increased risks of disease. But “good fats” such as fats from “whole foods” that are minimally processed can literally have the reverse effect. These fats in fact, play a huge role in helping you fight fatigue, manage mood swings, stay on top of your mental game and even control your weight.
It’s important to understand the difference between good and bad fats as well as how to add more healthy fats into your diet.
Good Fats are Monounstaurated & Polyunsaturated. These fats can:
Lower LDL cholesterol (the bad) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good)
Lower blood pressure
Lower triglycerides associated with heart disease
Examples of Monounsaturated Fat:
Extra virgin olive oil
Nut Butters (made from above nuts)
Examples of Polyunsaturated Fat:
Fatty Fish – salmon, tuna, sardines, trout
It’s hard to remember which are Mono and which are Poly. So just have a diverse menu with variety of Whole Foods and you can’t go wrong.
Saturated Fat – lots of controversy about this one. I feel that saturated fats are many times better than artificial trans fats. Saturated fats should come from organic sources and can be eaten in moderation. Examples:
Whole Fat Dairy
Bad Fats are:
Artificial Trans Fats
Examples of foods that most likely contain bad fats:
Packaged Snack Foods – crackers, chips, labels with more than 5 ingredients
Commercially baked goods – cookies, muffins, cakes, doughnuts, bars, pizza dough
Instead of obsessively counting fat grams, aim for a diet rich in a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans. Add a fatty fish and some grass fed meat/dairy a couple of times per week if this suits you. Since fat is so important, rather than eating a “low fat diet” (or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, etc…) you are better off eating more “good fats” and eliminating the bad completely.