Good Fat – Bad Fat?!?!

Can consuming fat actually be good for you?

Not only can consuming fat be good for you, it is 100% necessary to include in your diet to promote good heart health, good emotional well being and also to help promote the loss of body fat!

Yes, to burn more body fat you need to consume fat. Now comes the part you need to know; there are good fats and bad fats!

As a trainer I am always preaching a balanced diet, made up of good protein, carbohydrates and yes fat. In fact, when creating your meal plan you want to have 20% of your caloric intake per day come from fat. A useful number to remember is the number 9. Every gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. For example, if you are on a 1200 calorie diet per day, 20% of your calories would be 240 calories from fat, which would equal 26.6 grams of fat.

Now before you jump up and down excited about having a scoop of ice cream to make up this 20% we must discuss the difference between good fats and bad fats. For years we’ve been told that a lowfat diet is the best way to lose weight, and when we walk through the grocery store it seems as though there are more and more ‘low fat’ products to choose from. If they’re so low in fat and supposed to help keep us from getting fat, why are 2 out of every 3 people in this country overweight?

When reading the back of labels you’ll sometimes notice four different types of fats broken down under the fat category. They’re Saturated Fat, Trans Fat, MonoUnsaturated Fat and Poly Unsaturated Fat.

Let’s start with bad fats, they’re Trans Fats and Saturated Fats. Both of these fats lead to elevated levels of bad cholesterol and will increase your risk of heart disease.  Some saturated fat in our diet is necessary to have for proper body function and you will find it in some of our foods, such as red meat, or coconut.  Trans fats are by far the worst fat there is, and unfortunately can be found in many of our commercially processed and prepared foods. Here’s a quick list of products that are high in BAD fat, both Saturated and Trans Fats.

Saturated Fat

– Ice Cream

– Butter

– Cheese

– Whole Milk

– High Fat cuts of Beef, Pork

– Chicken with the skin

Trans Fat

– Fried Foods (Fried Chicken – French Fries – Breaded Fish )

– Commercially Baked Goods (Cookies – Cakes – Donuts )

– Packaged Snack Foods (Crackers – Chips)

– Candy of any type in a wrapper

– Stick Margarine

The most important thing you can do is start reading the labels and stay away from saturated and trans fats, the less you put in your diet the better your chances of slimming down and getting healthy.

So with that being said, let’s talk about good fats, and those are the Polyunsaturated Fats and Monounsaturated Fats. Both of these are excellent for the body, they promote a healthy heart, they promote healthy emotional well-being and best of all they will actually help you burn more body fat! Here’s a quick list of sources of both Poly and Mono Fats, Good Fats!;

Polyunsaturated Fats

– Walnuts

– Fatty Fish (Salmon – Tuna – Trout – Sardines)

– Seeds (Sunflower – Pumpkin – Flax – Sesame)

– Tofu

Monounsaturated Fats

– Olive Oil

– Sunflower Oil

– Avocados

– Nuts (Almonds – Pecans – Macadamia Nuts – Cashews)

These are great sources of GOOD fats and should be incorporated into your daily meal plan. Some good ways to get them into your diet could be:

– Add a handful of nuts to your diet as a snack

– Add avocados to your diet

– Snack on fresh olives or make a tapenade dip

– Create your own salad dressing using olive oil, sunflower oil or sesame oil

Another component to look for when choosing GOOD healthy fats is to look for Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Found in many types of fish, Omega 3’s are found in Polyunsaturated fats and have shown in clinical studies to:

– Reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke

– Reduce inflammation, and the pain of arthritis

– Protect against memory loss and dementia as we age

– Reduced the symptoms of depression again leading to healthy emotional well being

In summary it is important to know you absolutely want to incorporate GOOD fats both Poly, Mono and some saturated  in to your diet, and anywhere from 20% to 30% of your daily caloric intake should be made up of GOOD fats. Try not to rely on Fat Free foods as they are processed and usually high in sugar and carbohydrate content. A healthy diet is a diet with balanced nutrition, and this is what will lead you to great long term health.

Staying away from BAD fats is easier then you may think, don’t go after fast food, as there are no nutrition facts given, stay away from foods that are high in sugar such as candies and ice cream.

Start to add a couple of GOOD fats per day, maybe adding olive oil to your salad, or grabbing a handful of almonds as a snack!

Taking a little step each day toward a healthier lifestyle will take us a long way for many years to come!

Know The Goal

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