Yes, you heard right. Fat is good for you!
We have been fooled by label claims, news media and diet after diet that make us think fat free is healthy when in truth, good fat is much healthier than fat free.
Our bodies need fat but not the doughnut/french fry type of fat, it needs essentials fatty oils found in salmon, monounsaturated fats in avocados and polyunsaturated fats in walnuts and seeds.
What does Fat-Free Mean
Fat free does not mean calorie free, nor does it mean eat as much as you like! It definitely doesn’t mean that the fat free product is healthier than the full fat version. What is does mean is that the food has less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving. It also means that in place of the flavour the fat once provided, chemicals will often be used to ensure the product still tastes good. It will generally contain fewer calories and can be used to replace higher fat choices, but using fat free foods as a license to eat more, does not work. The obesity rates for Americans has doubled in the last 20 years, the same time frame in which we have had this must eat ‘fat free’ mentality. Clearly, fat free isn’t working!
How Much Fat is OK
A healthy diet allows for 30% of your daily calories to come from fat. For the average person consuming 2000 calories per day, this would mean 600 calories or 66 grams of that can come from fat and still be a healthy diet (1 gram of fat = 9 calories). The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.
The Good Fat
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they reduce your risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and improve overall health.
Good monounsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, peanuts, peanut butter. Good polyunsaturated fats are soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, soymilk and tofu.
Trans fats containing ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ should be avoided at all costs. Problem is, they are often hiding in the ‘healthy muffin’, the ‘whole grain’ cookie and even in some brands of vitamins so make sure you read your labels.
Simple Ways to Eat More (Good) Fat
- Use olive oil in place of butter
- Eat a handful of almonds in place of cookies
- Add good fats to your salads like olives, avocados & seeds
- Top salads with rice wine vinegar in place of prepared dressing
- Serve Omega 3 rich salmon or tuna in place of red meat
- Choose beans and legumes to thicken chili and soups in place of ground meat
- Enjoy raw or roasted veggies in place of deep fried
- Bake whole grain, fruit filled snacks instead of buying packaged
- Make your own breaded fish and chicken nuggets and bake instead of fry
- Find healthy alternatives to salty, crunchy snacks – try kale chips or roasted chick pea’s
Choose good fats more often, read ingredient lists carefully when you must choose a fat free option and avoid the ugly trans fats always!