Dietary fat has gotten a bad reputation, and it’s important for you to understand how to use good fats in your diet, both when you are dieting and when you are simply focused on eating healthy.
The Low-Fat Diet Is a Fraud
There was a low-fat craze in the 80s and 90s, which led many people to believe that all fats are bad for you. They think eating fat will make them fat, and well this can be true, it really depends on the type and quantity of fat you eat.
There is absolutely no research to support the benefits of a low-fat diet for weight loss.
On the contrary, many “low-fat” diet foods substitute sugars to improve the flavor of fat-reduced foods. There is definitely evidence that additional slow-carbs.
The American Heart Association recommends 25 to 35% total fat intake in a normal healthy diet for adults. Dieters may go as low as 15% fat intake although 15 to 25% is more typical. In other words, you can’t, and shouldn’t, try to eliminate all fat. Dietary fat is an essential nutrient for your cells. Your body uses fat to:
- Absorb vitamins and minerals
- Maintain body temperature
- Cushion and protect internal organs
- Improve the taste and texture of food
- Aid in digestion
The Difference Between “Good Fat” and “Bad Fat”
Too much fat is a problem, of course, especially the wrong kind of fat. It can cause inflammation, heart disease, insulin and leptin resistance which slow metabolism and increase appetite. That definitely isn’t good for dieting – so let’s make sure you understand the difference between “good” fat and “bad” fat.
There are four main kinds of fats:
- Trans fats (all are bad)
- Saturated fats (some are okay in limited amounts)
- Monounsaturated fats (good in moderation)
- Polyunsaturated fats (good in moderation)
Trans fatty acids, known as trans fats, trigger weight gain, clog arteries, and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Studies have shown that trans fats increase Alzheimer’s risk more than fivefold. Fast foods, french fries, pizza, chips, donuts, pastries, and fried foods are rich in trans fats.
This is bad fat, and even little is going to sabotage your plans to lose weight. There is no nutritional benefit in trans fats, and they lower your “good” HDL cholesterol.
Red meats, homogenized milk, and all dairy products are loaded with saturated fat. These saturated fats increase bad cholesterol and trigger appetite. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s wise to limit red meat and use reduced-fat dairy products.
Low fat and fat free milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and string cheese can be a regular part of a healthy diet (unless you are lactose intolerant). Coconut oil, raw cocoa powder, dark chocolate and real butter are some of the healthier sources of saturated fats that may be found in your diet.
Now were getting to the really good fats. Monounsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol levels and total cholesterol. They raise your HDL cholesterol, which is what you want. They help you maintain healthy skin, reduce your risk of developing heart disease, and protect against certain cancers such as breast cancer. They provide essential fatty acids which are required for the healthy development of cells – critical for good nutrition.
Healthy sources of monounsaturated fats include extra virgin olive oil; avocados; nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Polyunsaturated fats are also a healthy part of your diet. They lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. They reduce cardiovascular disease, risk of stroke, and inflammation. Olive oil, flaxseeds, almonds, avocado, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and peanut butter are all good sources of polyunsaturated fats.
These should be used in moderation in your diet as while a little is good, in high amounts they can slow your metabolism and induce inflammation. Avoid highly processed vegetable oils such as corn, soybean and sunflower oils.
So, in summary, avoid trans fats. Limit saturated fats, and choose healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, in moderation, as a regular part of your diet.
If you are in Hawaii, get help in choosing the optimum diet to help you lose weight fast. Contact our office and make an appointment to speak to Dr. Bruce. Your initial appointment is free, so all you have to lose are your extra pounds. You’ll discover how to construct a healthy diet which includes good fats, and you won’t be served any myths about low-fat diets – just expertise about medical weight loss.