Is fat the enemy to weight loss? Do you know the different types of fat out there? Next time you are doing your grocery shopping pay attention to how many supposedly healthy fat-free or low-fat options are available for purchase. Products such as low-fat ice cream, cakes, chips, biscuits and lollies are all on offer.
Have these supposed better options helped the obesity problem in our society? No! So why are they so popular?
Because when people are eating them, they don’t feel guilty.
They can justify it in their heads that it’s a healthy option, because the packaging or the fancy tv commercial says so.
The Truth About Fat
Let’s get one thing clear, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. Eating calories in excessive of what you body needs makes you fat. The problem with fat is that it is so calorie dense. A gram of fat equals 9 calories, whereas a gram of protein or carbohydrate on equals 5. That’s nearly twice the amount of calories!
It is therefor easy to see how you can reach you daily calorie limit when you eat a diet high in fat.
Don’t get me wrong, fats are a vital part of you diet, as your body requires them for many functions including but not limited to energy, helping you manage your moods, fight fatigue, protection of your organs and even help you control your weight.
The problems is most people eat too much fat. The reason for this varies from person to person, but essentially fat tastes good, it gives food texture and using fat when preparing food can speed up the cooking process, think deep fried vs baking.
If you are eating a balanced diet, you will not need to concentrate on adding fat to your diet. Focusing on the good food in your diet, will result in you consuming enough good fats.
The key to weight loss isn’t cutting out fat, learn to replace bad fats with good ones, by making smart eating choices.
Myths and Facts about the Different Types of Fat
Myth: All fats are bad for you.
Fact: You should avoid bad fats such as saturated and trans fats but monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for you.
Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is the most important thing when trying to lose weight.
Fact: A calorie deficit is the most important factor when trying to lose weight. The types of fat that you eat is also a consideration, but without a calorie deficit you WILL NOT lose weight.
Myth: Fat-free or Low Fat means healthy.
Fact: Most fat-free or low-fat products should also be labelled “High in Sugar” “Loaded with Refined Carbs” and “High in Calories”. A “fat-free” label doesn’t allow you to eat something on the premise that it is healthy.
I have seen marshmallows labelled as low-fat, does that make it a healthy eating option? No way!
The battle of Good vs Bad Fats
“Introducing first, fighting out of the good corner hailing from avocado, nuts and olive oil is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Their opponent fighting out of the bad corner hailing from butter, ice cream and fried foods is saturated and trans fats.”
Sorry for the bad intro, but I’m a UFC tragic. Jokes aside fats can be broken up into four major types.
You need to have an understanding of these types to assist you in making healthy food choices. The different types of fat can be grouped as:
- monounsaturated fats
- polyunsaturated fats
- saturated fats
- trans fats
Basically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good fats, as they improve your overall health and are good for you heart and cholesterol levels. Good fats are vital for good health and well-being.
Some sources of good fats are:
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds
Saturated fats and trans fat are bad fats, because they are bad for your health. Bad fats WILL raise your cholesterol levels and WILL increase your risk of heart disease.
Some sources of bad fats are:
- High-fat cuts of meat
- Chicken skin
- Full cream dairy products
- Butter and margarine
- Ice cream
- Pastries such as biscuits, doughnuts, cake and muffins
- Packaged snack foods such as chips and crackers
- Fried and fast food
- Chocolate bars
It’s pretty obvious from looking at the above lists to spot the difference between the good and bad fats. But how can you tell the difference between good and bad fats when they are in their raw form.
Well, appearance wise, good fats at room temperature will remain liquid, think of olive oil.
Bad fats will tend to be solid, think of the fat that you trim off a steak while you are eating. What happens to the fat when you leave it on your plate after you have finished eating? It turns solid at room temperature.
Ways to eliminate bad fat
- Pick lean cuts or trim the fat off meat such as beef, pork or lamb prior to cooking
- Eat more fish and skinless chicken
- When cooking food bake or grill instead of frying
- Avoid fast and deep fried foods
- Avoid baked products, such as biscuits and pastries
- Choose low-fat dairy products
- Use liquid olive oil or canola oil instead of lard
Ways to Increase you Consumption of good fat
- Use olive oil when cooking as a substitute for butter, margarine or lard.
- Eat more avocados. Try using it as an alternative to butter on your sandwiches.
- Snack on nuts.
- Snack on olives or add them to salads.
- Dress your own salad. Don’t use packaged salad dressing, they are usually full of fat or sugar. Mrs Niko makes an awesome dressing using olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard. Just Google healthy salad dressing for some great ideas.
The simple message is when trying to lose weight or improve your general health don’t become obsessed with your fat consumption. You just need to have an understanding of the different types of fat.
The bottom line is you can eat fat and lose weight, in fact good fats are vital for your health. Remember the key to weight loss is a calorie deficit. You could almost totally eliminate fat from your diet, but still be in a calorie surplus, which will result in weight gain.