Eating a healthy and balanced diet can be hard, but you may not have to avoid fatty foods as much as you think.
There’s still lots of outdated information on dietary fat, so knowing the facts can help you make the best decision for your individual health and wellness plan. Read on to learn about the types of fats, “good fats” to eat, “bad” fats to avoid, and common myths we’ve busted.
Healthy or “good fats” include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, memory loss, joint pain, and more. Unhealthy fats, on the other hand, include trans fats and saturated fats. These raise cholesterol, which can negatively affect heart health.
Because healthy fats benefit your body, we recommend adding them to your diet to feel fuller and boost your overall health. Foods with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include:
You’ll want to stay away from “bad” fats as much as possible since they can hurt your cholesterol levels and heart (not to mention your waistline!) Foods with saturated and trans fats include:
If you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, replacing “bad” fats with “good” ones is a great start. A wellness coach can help you create a nutrition plan to incorporate polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats into your diet with delicious foods.
Major misconceptions about fat still exist and influence how we prepare our meals. You can make the right changes to your diet by learning these myths—and the truths behind them.
This myth oversimplifies the types of fats we consume in our diets. The word “fat” might seem scary, but remember the two categories of fat we mentioned above? While eating trans fats and saturated fats can have unhealthy effects like raising cholesterol, healthy dietary fats actually have several benefits.
Consuming “good” fats in moderation can improve heart health and help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can also reduce inflammation, boost memory, and even promote healthy pregnancies.
It’s common for those attempting to lose weight to think they should always avoid fatty foods—or only eat the low-fat versions. This myth can actually hurt your ability to shed pounds. While you should avoid trans fats and saturated fats for weight loss, you’ll want to incorporate “good” dietary fats in your diet.
The best weight-loss approach is not snacking on low-fat foods but rather reducing calorie intake (combined with regular exercise). Foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can actually feel more filling with fewer calories, making them helpful for weight loss.
This myth is an unhealthy misconception because fat is an essential part of a balanced diet. While limiting your intake of bad fats is important, you should still eat “good” fats in moderation to fuel your body and help it carry out necessary functions.
Similar to proteins and carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats provide energy for your body. Additionally, they allow your body to regulate its temperature, hormones, your immune system, reproduction, and more.
It’s easy to find fat-free foods on grocery store shelves, but that doesn’t always mean they’re a smart addition to your diet.
Fat-free food may be high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories—all of which will negatively affect you if you’re trying to lose weight. Before buying fat-free snacks, check the label to make sure the lack of fat isn’t replaced with another unhealthy element.
When it comes to weight loss, dietary fat isn’t equal to body fat. Studies have shown people with moderate- or high-fat diets lose weight just as well, if not better than, those with low-fat diets.
While fatty foods have higher caloric content per gram than others and should be consumed in moderation, they aren’t more likely to become body fat than proteins or carbohydrates. Any excess calories will cause weight gain. Healthy high-fat foods, on the other hand, can feel more satisfying after a meal, curbing your appetite.
Now that we’ve dispelled these myths about consuming fat, you can start incorporating healthy fats into your diet to curb appetite and improve heart health. If you’re struggling to lose weight or plan healthy meals you enjoy, a wellness coach can help. You can also check out your local wellness center to see if there are any healthy cooking classes coming up!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.