While the low and no-fat diet craze has since been debunked, it’s important to make sure we get the right types of fats in our diets. Instead of eliminating all fats, the trick is to learn the difference between good fats and bad fats.
“Bad fats” usually means trans fat, which has been linked to heart disease. It’s created through the addition of hydrogen to vegetable oil, resulting in a solid fat that extends the shelf life of processed foods. Labelling items containing trans fat became mandatory in 2006, however a product with less than 0.5 grams can still be labelled “zero trans fat.” Also avoid anything that says “partially hydrogenated,” as this is another way to say trans fat.
On the other hand, good fats can help lower our cholesterol, keep us warm, keeps our joints lubricated, helps us produce hormones, and are necessary in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like as vitamins A, E, and D. They also keep our skin supple our heart healthy. Here are some key sources of healthy fat to incorporate into your diet:
- Avocados: also packed with antioxidants, minerals and fiber, this delicious fruit will actually help you absorb nutrients from vegetables known as carotenoids, which is an antioxidant valuable for cardiovascular health. Eat avocados in moderation to feel satiated and to add flavor to your salads and smoothies.
- Nuts: a study of American women in 2009 revealed that eating a small portion of nuts two to three times per week showed a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. Nuts contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and can help maintain steady blood sugar.
- Olive oil: a German study shows that olive oil contains more of the satiety hormone serotonin. Subjects without the olive oil ate an extra 176 calories per day while those consuming the oil felt satisfied and did not gain any weight. Again, moderation is vital, but this versatile oil can be incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet.
- Coconut oil: don’t forget about our friend the coconut! In recent years, more and more research has come to light about the health benefits of coconuts. Coconut water is used as a natural electrolyte drink after workouts, and coconut oil may aid in suppressing body fat accumulation. Coconut oil is a delicious addition to a morning smoothie.
These fats are full of nutrients and will help keep you satiated all day long, so don’t fear the fat!