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What is Good and Bad Fat? Why it Matters!

What is Good and Bad Fat Why it Matters

Good fats Vs. Bad Fats

Chances are that when you hear the fat contents of a food, you’re picturing Trans fats. A montage of juicy cheeseburgers and chocolate cake comes to mind. But trans fats are not the only kind! There are actually several types of fat. Some, it turns out, can help you to lose weight and feel healthier.  

The Good Guys: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated

Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats are the “good fats” to get more of. These fats do a lot of great things for us. While trans fats can raise your cholesterol, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol levels and can also lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. For those of us who are working to fight inflammation, healthy fats can do that too. More Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats along with healthy amounts of protein (exact amounts can vary depending on sex, level of activity, and weight) and fiber (30-38 grams a day for men and 20-25 grams a day for women) work to keep you satiated for longer thus promoting weight loss.

Monounsaturated Fats are typically found in oils, avocados, nuts, olives and peanut butter. You can find the polyunsaturated fats in seeds such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and flax. Soymilk and Tofu are also excellent sources of Polyunsaturated fat.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (a close family member of the Polyunsaturated Fats) is an essential fat which cannot be made by the body. Omega 3 Fatty Acids have been shown to play a major role in preventing heart disease by helping make hormones which regulate blood clotting. They also work to prevent lupus, stroke, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most well-known way to get your Omega 3s is by working at least two servings of fish into your diet a week.  Nuts, leafy vegetables, flaxseed, vegetable oil, and some grass-fed animal fats are other excellent sources of Omega 3s. 

MCT Oil

MCT Oil is the new low carb craze. Keto-er’s are adding this along with butter in lieu of cream to their morning coffee (yeah, I said butter- more on that later). But is this oil really worth all the hype? There has been a lot of debate in the medical community surrounding the purported cardiovascular benefits associated with MCT oil. While some studies show that the substitution of MCT oil may not may not be any better than say, olive oil in terms of promoting heart health, it has been shown to increase energy expenditure and reduce appetite, promoting weight loss.

Is butter for you?

With the popularity of the keto diet, many are substituting processed carbs for a high fat diet. Though a diet high in saturated fats like butter will likely help dieters reach ketosis, there are still some associated health risks. If you’re looking for a boost to help you lose weight in ketosis, it’s still a better option to regulate butter intake in favor of heart healthy fats such as Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated.

Portion is the Poison

Creating a meal plan is all about balance. Even healthy fats are caloric and can lead to unwanted weight gain. Watch your macros and create a diet plan which accounts for healthy levels of fiber and protein as well as healthy fats.

Resources:

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326600

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892314/

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