Though you might feel proud or virtuous for picking the low fat option at the grocery store, unfortunately it may be all futile as low-fat doesn’t mean better for you. Less fat or “fat-free” often doesn’t mean low in calories or good for you as the full-fat alternative and the key to losing weight is decreasing calories not fat. For example, reduced-fat peanut butter has almost as many calories as peanut butter and low-fat cookies have more carbs and sugar than regular cookies with the same number of calories. What is true is that fat is a very satisfying component of food and we can’t function optimally without it. When food manufacturers cut the fat the food becomes tasteless so carrageenan and various gums, to mimic the texture of fat. Though sugar might be tasty, it doesn’t decrease the calories of the foods and sugar tends to spike the blood sugar and actually make one hungrier, whereas fat makes one feel satiated or full and the tendency to overeat decreases dramatically.
Instead of trying to avoid fats altogether, realize that fats play an essential role in one’s health and in weight loss! Healthy fats, abundant in many veggies, fruits, and nuts, offer vast health benefits including lowering cholesterol. Your body needs fat to function. Instead of being obsessed with low-fat foods, fill your cart with healthy fats from whole, natural foods. The two fats to choose are mono- and poly-unsaturated fats and the fats to say “NO!” to are the transfats and hydrogenated oils.
1. Myth: fat makes you fat!
TRUTH: Healthy fats can actually help you lose weight.(link this to our nutrition page) Monounsaturated fats can help to decrease belly fat, an extremely important part of most people’s weight-loss journey. Polyunsaturated fats, in addition to improving your LDL cholesterol level, are full of omeg-3s which have been shown to decrease depression and improve mood. If you’re in a better mood, you may be less likely to indulge in junk food and also be more likely to have the spunk to get up and exercise.
2. Myth: I can be healthy on a fat-free diet.
TRUTH: Fat is essential for brain and heart health. (keep it bold because these are the key points but also link to nutrition page.) Nourish with the abundant omega-3s that that are found in healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain. Research indicates that omegas play a vital role in cognitive function such as: memory, problem solving abilities, etc. as well as emotional health.
3. Saturated Fat is bad for you.
TRUTH: Not all saturated fat is bad for you! It isn’t that saturated fat is bad for you, but rather that it may actually have no affect on the rise of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body. The four saturated fatty acids each have a story to tell. (1) and (2) palmitic and myristic acids (found in butter, eggs, palm oil) and milk butter, cheese, and beef are found to increase inflammation and LDL cholesterol but also raise the HDL (good) cholesterol having an overall neutral effect. (3) Stearic Acid present in chocolate and beef, doesn’t raise LDL either. In fact according to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, stearic acid should not be considered a cholesterol raising fat. This fatty acid is found in dark chocolate a known superfood! (4) Lauric acid may not be harmful either as it is found in coconut oil, the latest superfood, which studies have shown can even help to whittle the waist line!
Where to find mono- and polyunsaturated fats: olive oil, avocados, salmon, and walnuts to name a few. Good sources of Omega 3’s are: avocados, fish,
fish oils, healthy nuts, and even olive oil. Fish oils are the best sources for omega-3s, but you can get plenty from vegetarian sources like seaweed, and algae. Also cook with healthy oils. When sauteing or cooking, consider coconut oil instead of your standard vegetable oil. Also, choose nuts instead of chips.
These superfoods are full of healthy fats and will help to keep you full longer without loading up on empty nutrients.
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