I know you must have heard some people say ‘fats would make you fat’. This is not always true. Although some fats (bad fats) can make you gain weight, still there are some healthy fats that can help you lose weight.
The truth is fats are characterized differently. Some are bad and not healthy (like Trans fats in margarine), some are misinterpreted (like the saturated fat, lauric acid), and some are good and highly healthy (like omega-3s). A lot of people find it hard to distinguish between fats due to the numerous monos, polys, and omegas out there. This is the major reason why some people make a mistake of eating foods that are packed with the wrong kind of fat that only makes them fat.
Our bodies need dietary fat to function properly and lose weight. When you eat the right kinds of fat, it helps to boost satiety, speed nutrients through your body, protect against heart diseases fat-soluble vitamin uptake and control your calorie intake for weight loss.
Therefore, to achieve your weight loss goals, I will show you some bad fats you should avoid as well as some healthy fats that will help you achieve your goal.
Bad fats/ fats you should avoid
Some fats are bad for weight loss and have been studied to increase the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart diseases, especially when you eat them in excess. You should keep them away from your diet when you are trying to achieve weight loss. Two major examples include:
Trans-fats are also called trans fatty acids and they are majorly found in foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. This fat has no safe level of consumption and no known health benefit. This is the major reason why they are officially banned in the United States.
Some studies showed that trans-fat increase the amount of fat around the belly. Apart from adding fat, they also move fat from other areas of the body to the belly.
Therefore when you eat foods rich in trans-fat including margarine, cookies, pastries, snack foods, etc., it causes a redistribution of fat tissue into your abdomen and leads to weight gain. Further, trans-fats can raise the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
To avoid trans-fats, stick to whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables and avoid highly processed foods. Be conscientious about your food choices and read nutritional labels carefully.
Saturated fats are dietary fats and they are solid at room temperature. They are usually found in high-fat meats and dairy products including dark chicken meat, fatty cuts of pork, beef and lamb, butter, cheese, sour cream, whole milk, and ice cream.
This fat has been a subject of controversy and a lot of people believe when you eat foods containing saturated fats, that it leads to weight gain. This is attributed to the fact that these foods are often high in calories and dietary fat.
However, not all saturated fats are bad. In fact, there are different types of saturated fats based on the number of carbon atoms they contain, and fats of different length have a different effect on health.
You can use saturated fats as part of your weight loss program if you use them sparingly. In fact, many research shows that this fat may not be as bad as once thought.
Further, some studies have also shown that if you eat excess saturated fat, it can increase your blood cholesterol levels and LDL levels.
Healthy fats can fulfill your dietary needs without increasing your chances of adding weight or developing chronic diseases. In fact, studies have shown that healthy fats alone can help you get lean without any low-fat diet or militant calorie counting. There are two major types of healthy fats including:
Research has shown over the years that when you eat foods containing a moderate amount of monounsaturated fats (MUFA), it helps to lose weight. You can find this healthy fat in a variety of foods including almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews peanut oil, vegetable oil, and avocado
A study conducted on 124 obese people found that eating a high-monounsaturated fat diet (20% of total calories) led to a comparable weight loss of around 8.8 pounds.
When you eat foods containing a moderate amount of MUFA, it can help you achieve weight loss far better than low-fat, high-carb diets.
Again, some smaller studies have shown that MUFAs may help to reduce LDL cholesterol and also increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
This healthy fat is commonly called essential fat because it cannot be produced in the body. The body depends on the food you eat to get them. You can lose some pounds eating foods containing a moderate amount of this fat. In fact, several types of research show that polyunsaturated fats help to regulate the storage of visceral fats in the body. In one study conducted on 19 subjects, diets high in polyunsaturated fat helped to ‘turn on’ genes in visceral fats that are linked to reduced storage of fat and better sugar metabolism.
A good example of polyunsaturated fats is Omega-3 fatty acids. A moderate dose of this fat has been proven by research to reduce adiposity without deteriorating insulin sensitivity when included in a weight loss program. Besides, it has also been shown to decrease the risk of coronary diseases, guard against irregular heartbeat and lower blood pressure levels. Some high-fat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout, herrings, and sardines, walnut, flaxseed, etc. You can choose them when you’re trying to shed some pounds.
Have you heard of omega-6 fatty acids? This is another example of polyunsaturated fat can you achieve weight loss, but science recommends a balance omega-6/omega-3 ratio 1-2/1 to effectively manage obesity. You can find it in fatty foods like roasted soybeans, soy nut butter, tofu, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soft margarine, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil.
There are different types of fats and each type has a unique effect on your body. This is why you need to understand the difference between good fats and bad fats. It helps you choose the right type of dietary fat to lose weight, better your heart and live longer and healthier. To lose weight, avoid foods with trans-fats and reduce your intake of saturated fat. Choose healthy fats including saturated and unsaturated fats from a variety of seeds, unprocessed meats, fish and nuts. However, make sure you eat fat in moderation to ensure weight loss and reduction in your risk of chronic diseases.