The Truth Behind The Misunderstood Healthy Fats
When it comes to dieting and trying to identify the foods to avoid in order to promote weight loss, the mere mention of the word “fat” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of most!
But did you know that some fats are actually good for weight loss and contrary to what you might believe they’re incredibly healthy and improve a range of bodily functions? These healthy fats are found in natural products and avoiding them due to this misplaced fear could be detrimental to your health.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you identify the healthy fats that not only boost your health but can actually aid you in your weight loss goals. Oh, and we’ll also point out the unhealthy fats you should steer well clear of!
What Is Fat?
Before we get into the nitty gritty, first let’s get an understanding of what fat actually is. Fats, also known as lipids, are a class of macronutrients that your body uses for various functions.
They serve as a powerful source of energy and are essential for some types of vitamins, known as fat-soluble, which can only be absorbed when taken with fat. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K, so without fat in your diet you’re unable to benefit from these nutrients.
As well as this, fats also play a key role in maintaining cell structure, insulating and protecting vital organs and regulating your body’s core temperature.
How Healthy Fats Aid Weight Loss
Rather than causing you to pile on the pounds, healthy fats, often referred to as unsaturated fats, can actually promote weight loss. They do this in the following ways:
Healthy fats are more satiating than some other macronutrients, meaning they help you feel full and satisfied for longer after you’ve eaten a meal. Naturally, this reduces the risk of overeating or snacking on unhealthy, calorie-dense options afterwards.
Unlike carbohydrates which spike insulin, leading to subsequent crashes and hunger pangs, healthy fats provide a steady source of energy, helping you feel more energised throughout the day.
Another advantage of sustained energy is it can boost your motivation to engage in physical activities which can also aid in weight loss.
Fats play a role in hormone production and regulation, including those that control our appetite and metabolism. A balanced intake of good fats can promote a healthy hormonal balance, helping you stay on track.
As mentioned above, fats are essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. This ensures that your body can reap the rewards of consuming these nutrients, which are vital for weight management and overall health.
Where To Find Healthy Fats
So now we know how healthy fats can help you shed the pounds, it’s time for the million dollar question: where can you find them? Healthy fats can be found in various natural food sources, including:
These nutrient-packed fruits are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are known for their heart-protecting properties. Avocados are extremely versatile and they can be added to salads, sandwiches or enjoyed on their own, so you should have no trouble incorporating them into your diet.
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout are not only beneficial for heart health but they can also support weight loss.
Aim to include these fish in your diet a few times a week and you should soon notice the benefits.
Nuts And Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds are excellent sources of healthy fats. They also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them a convenient, nutritious snack you can enjoy in a variety of ways.
A staple of the Mediterranean diet which is known for its health benefits, extra virgin olive oil can be used in cooking, for drizzling over vegetables or splashed on salads.
Although other seed oils such as sunflower oil and rapeseed oil contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, there’s mixed evidence on these, with some studies showing they can harm health in other ways. So we’d advise sticking to olive oil to be on the safe side.
As well as being delicious, natural nut butters such as almond or peanut butter offer an abundance of healthy fats and protein. They can be enjoyed on wholegrain toast or used as a dip for fruits and vegetables.
Just be sure not to overdo it as nut butters are extremely colorific, so consuming too much can hinder your weight loss efforts.
Unhealthy Fats And Their Impact on Weight
So now we’re clued up on healthy fats, how they can help with weight loss and where to find them, let’s round off by touching on unhealthy fats. After all, these are the real enemy and they’re the reason all fats have a bad rep. These include:
Processed And Fast Foods
Many processed and fast foods such as burgers, fried chicken, pizzas, noodles and various snacks like crisps, chocolate and biscuits are loaded with unhealthy fats.
Baked goods like cakes, pastries and doughnuts often contain trans fats, which are particularly harmful and even linked to cancer.
Trans fats are created during the hydrogenation process where oils are heated and these are commonly used in baked goods to extend shelf life.
Foods that are deep-fried such as chips, chicken nuggets and fried fish often absorb a significant amount of unhealthy fats during the frying process.
Margarine products, in particular stick margarines, often contain trans fats. If you’re consuming margarine, it’s essential to choose products with no trans fats and low levels of saturated fats.
So that’s how good-quality, healthy fats can aid your weight management. Hopefully you no longer look at “fat” as a dirty word and you’re now aware that it all depends on the type of fat.
A great way to ensure you’re following a balanced diet and not going overboard with your calorie intake is with a good meal prep service. By providing healthy, nutritious meals right to your front door, our meal preps ensure you get all the goodness you need in your diet.