You might be thinking, “There is no way eating more fat is going to help me lose weight!” Logically, everything about that assertion seems to make perfect sense because eating fat makes you fat and consuming lots of it will lead to obesity, right? Keep reading because the opposite is often true.
For decades, fat has been the enemy. Certain studies claimed that the nutrient was dangerous to our health and it was the reason many people were getting sick. Food manufacturers then started labeling everything “fat-free” or “low-fat” in a bid to brand themselves as health conscious. However, it was all wrong! Years later, it came to light that fat had been crucified for some crimes it never committed. This was after a discovery that there is a specific type of fat that’s unhealthy and another type of fat we cannot live without.
Good vs. Bad Fat
Eliminating fat from your diet is not the answer. Rather, the key is to get rid of the type you don’t need. The classification is between good fats and bad fats. The former keeps you going while the latter can wreck your health.
These types of healthy fats help to lower bad cholesterol, improve heart health and promote other important functions. At room temperature, you’ll find them in liquid form. They only solidify when cooled.
- Monounsaturated fats: Sources include peanut oil, avocados, olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts (almonds, cashews, etc), olives, sesame oil and more.
- Polyunsaturated fats: You can get these from walnuts, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel, sardines, soymilk and other foods.
They represent everything that’s wrong with fats so avoid or reduce their consumption for improved health.
- Saturated Fats: These raise LDL cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions. Aim for no more than 6% of this saturated fat in your diet per day. Foods you should avoid are cheese, ice cream, lard, whole-fat dairy products and high-fat meat.
- Trans Fats: These must be avoided at all costs. They are processed unsaturated fats used to make food stay longer on the shelf. You are already eating this type of “Frankenfats” if you indulge in candy bars, margarine, French fries, hamburgers, cookies, pizza, chips and other junk foods.
Food manufacturers are allowed to show 0.5 grams or less of trans fats as zero on nutrition labels. So watch your portion sizes closely!
How “Good Fats” Help You Lose Weight
Our bodies need 3 macronutrients. These are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. As you can see, we need fats to function in normal daily life. Following a zero fat diet can cause health issues. Here is how eating more “good fats” help you lose weight:
Reduces Insulin Levels
Low-fat diets are usually very high in carbohydrates so the body is forced to start relying on carbs for fuel. The problem is eating too many carbs raises insulin levels, which is a hormone that reduces blood sugar. What happens then is insulin forces cells to stop burning fat for energy. On the other hand, a diet high in fat means less insulin response so the body gets a chance to make use of the available fat resulting in a decrease in weight.
Makes You Feel Full
Fat takes longer to be digested than carbohydrates. As a result, you are less likely to eat between meals because you will feel full for a long time. But it’s different when carbohydrates are fueling you. Not only will you be visiting the kitchen more often for snacks but you are also liable to make unhealthy food choices because your insulin levels are all over the place and your cravings for sweet food increase. That usually leads to eating junk food and all those extra calories will quickly pack on the pounds!
Other Benefits of Fat
There are many benefits for including the right types of this important macronutrient in your diet and it’s not just getting a smaller waistline. Below are other advantages of eating more fat:
- Helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins: Vitamins like A, D, E and K need fat to be transported in the body.
- Improve brain health: Your brain is composed of mainly fat and cholesterol. Eating healthy fats provides the raw materials your brain needs to function optimally.
- Maintains cell membranes: For normal functionality of cells we need healthy cell membranes which are made from fats.
Recommended Diet for Losing Weight
Since we now know that fat is important, don’t forget that there are 3 macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) you need to include in your diet for optimal health. Strive to get these in adequate amounts every day. Diets that only emphasize one or two of these nutrients should be followed with caution. Being deficient in any of these vital nutrients can lead to issues in the long run.
At the same time, remember to also get enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in your diet as well. Although these are needed in small amounts, they are important nonetheless. Look for a quality multivitamin supplement to get your recommended daily allowance of key vitamins and minerals.
Your diet should consist of healthy fats, lean proteins, lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Eating this way will get you started on the road to achieving a healthy weight that you’re happy with. Processed foods must be reduced from your diet if you want to have success losing weight and shedding extra pounds. These types of junk foods contain a lot of added ingredients which might include unhealthy fats and high amounts of sugar. It’s always important to pay close attention to food labels when you’re shopping in the grocery store since many so-called “healthy” foods turn out to be calorie killers.
However, physical activity is also extremely important in your quest to lose weight and keep it off for a lifetime. You don’t have to go overboard either. Just 30 minutes of low-intensity workouts 4 times a week is all you need to get great results. Make sure to include cardio workouts to burn calories along with resistance training (lifting weights) to build lean muscle which is the body’s engine that helps boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day. Additionally, remember to change up your workouts as your body may adapt quickly which could lead to a weight loss plateau.
Furthermore, it’s also crucial to get plenty of sleep every day. You will wake up feeling energetic and it also helps reduce the chance of packing on the pounds since studies have shown that reduced sleep leads to weight gain due to things like late night snacking. So, make sure to get your “ZZZs” because lots of quality sleep is beneficial for successful weight loss!
Drinking enough water during the day is also another important aspect you should be following if you want to succeed on your weight loss journey. Consuming adequate amounts of water has so many benefits but one of the most important is that it will make you feel full during the day which helps you avoid overeating. Shoot for a minimum of eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
Losing weight can be quite confusing and frustrating. There is a lot of contradicting advice on the subject. However, it’s important to try to keep things simple for long-term success. Follow a balanced diet with healthy fats, lean protein and clean carbs, stick to an exercise plan several times a week, get optimal amounts of sleep and drink plenty of water. If you have been avoiding fats in fear of gaining weight, you have been misinformed. More fat in your diet will help you to lose weight and stay lean so start adding some healthy fats into your diet today to feel and look your best!