All About That Fat!
The majority of people who have ever tried to lose weight have probably cut back the amount of fat they have in their diet But, what if I told you fat is vital to a healthy diet? In fact, generally, about 30% of your diet should come from fat! Fat keeps your cell membranes healthy, provides energy, helps you absorb certain vitamins, forms your brain and nervous system, and makes food more satisfying. The way you feel and the way your body performs can be improved by BALANCING your fat intake – one third of each: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.
“Healthy fats” (all unsaturated fats) provide many benefits to how our bodies function. They help improve cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, protects you from diabetes, reduce belly fat. Saturated fat is not categorized as “healthy fat”, but alone it is not bad. In fact, problems associated with saturated fat seem to only occur when diets are high in saturated fat, and high in sugar and processed carbs, and total fat intake is not in balance. Here are some healthy sources for each:
- Monounsaturated Fat: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nuts (macadamias, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts), Avocados, Pumpkin seeds, Tahini
- Polyunsaturated Fat: Fish (fatty fish such as salmon), Fish Oil supplements, Nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts)
- Saturated Fat: Animal fats (eggs, dairy, meats, butter, cheese, etc.), Coconut Oil, Palm Oil
How to Include Healthy Fats:
Let’s be honest; not many of us are going to take the time to keep track of the ratio and percentages of the fat we eat each day. But, what we can do is focus on adding in healthy monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Focusing on including these fats, along with all the other whole foods you eat, should get your daily balance about right.
Women should aim for 1 thumb of fat dense food with each meal. Men should aim for 2 thumbs of fat dense food with each meal.
Take fish oil supplements with high Omega 3 content. The general recommendation is 2-3 grams total Omega 3 rich fish oil per day. However, when trying to lose body fat a higher dose is recommended based on your body fat percentage.