Many people believe that eating fat makes you “fat”, when in fact it’s just the kind of fat people consume that actually matters. There is such thing as good fats and bad fats. Having knowledge on which foods contain good fats and which foods contain bad fats is extremely helpful for weight loss and/or maintaining weight. There are a couple key points that I would like to make before describing the difference between the two:
fat does not make you fat
“fat-free” does not mean it’s healthy
all fats are not unhealthy
a low-fat diet is not the best for weight loss
The fats to avoid would be saturated fat and transfat. These two kinds of fats are “bad” fats and should be eaten very sparingly. Both of these fats increase the risk of disease and are not good for your heart. Some examples of foods that contain these bad fats are ice cream, butter, cheese, pastries, fried foods, etc. It’s quite easy to see that all of these foods are not very healthy for you. I think it’s important to treat yourself every once in a while and I do sometimes cook with butter. The thing is, I only use about 2 tablespoons for a whole recipe feeding about 6-8 people, which is minimal and only used for flavor.
Let’s get to the “good” fats. Good fats are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Foods that contain these healthy fats include nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado, salmon, peanut butter & other nut butters, olives, etc. Seeing this list compared to the list of foods that contain the unhealthy fats is not very surprising. The foods listed in the healthy fats category seem much healthier overall. The key is to not overeat any of these foods, however, they are essential to the diet. I learned in one of my classes last term (Medical Nutrition Therapy) that a person should have their fat intake be no more than 25-30% of their daily diet. Healthy fats decrease the risk of disease, and are beneficial for your heart and health. Eating healthy fats is also great for weight loss, maintaining a mental and emotional balance in your brain, and keeps you fuller for longer.
There are many ways that unhealthy fats can be substituted in recipes for healthy fats instead. For example, avocado can be used as a butter substitute because of it’s creamy texture. Olive oil can be used instead of butter. Plain yogurt can be used instead of mayonnaise or sour cream. Instead of using whole milk dairy products, try for 1% or skim milk products. I often make a pie crust out of dates and nuts rather than a pastry dough crust. There are ways to continue eat what you love by preparing them in a healthier way rather than cutting them out entirely!
Stick to the “good” fats and avoid saturated and transfats. Make sure you’re getting the healthy fats in your diet because they are crucial to your health. Fat does not make you fat! Remember that.