Good Fats For Weight Loss
Let’s Talk Healthy Fats vs Unhealthy Fats…And How Making The Right Food Choices Can Help You Shed The Pounds
Remember the good old days when every second advert on the telly was about ‘low fat’ this or ‘low fat’ that?
They did it with microwave meals, yoghurts, snack bars, even ice cream – as if lower fat options were the answer to everyone’s slimming problems.
You don’t see those adverts so much nowadays, do you?
That’s because the word is well and truly out…that not all fat is bad. In fact, there are some fats that are absolutely essential for the healthy functioning of our brains and for the production of hormones.
It’s also widely recognised in the health and fitness world that by eating a balanced diet which includes a decent amount of healthy fats – and fewer processed foods – you can actually lose weight effectively.
As a former personal trainer, this was one of the key pieces of nutritional advice I’d share with clients because there’s still a big misconception out there that a low-fat diet is the only way to drop pounds and get in shape.
In this article we’ll cover:
- The different types of fats and separate the good guys from the bad
- Good fats for weight loss
- Other important roles that healthy fats play in the body
- Foods rich in healthy fats that are well worth adding to your shopping list
Good Fats vs The Bad Fats
Fats have had a bad rap since the ‘low fat’ diet was first recommended to Americans back in the late 1970s as the best approach to stay lean and healthy. Here are a couple of startling facts which debunk this idea.
Fact #1: In 1970 around 15% of adults Americans were obese, yet that figure had jumped to 40 percent by 2016, according to this report in Medical News Today.
Fact #2: The standard Mediterranean diet is as high as 40% fat, yet research has shown it cuts the risk of heart disease and strokes by around a third.
Ultimately, it’s about recognising that not all fats are equal, and while there are certain types we should avoid, there are also plenty of healthy sources that contribute to good health.
Trans-fats (aka man-made ones) are the bad guys and can lead to weight gain and health problems when consumed regularly. Think deep fried foods, margarine, cakes, pies etc.
It is argued that saturated fats, which are naturally found in animal products like cuts of meat and dairy, should also be minimised as consuming too much can increase your risk of heart disease. However, others argue that your diet should still include some saturated fats as they play a role in balancing hormone levels.
Meanwhile, the healthy fats to include more of in your diet are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Think fresh fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, eggs, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil etc.
Why Healthy Fats Are Good For Weight Loss
“Eating fat will help me lose fat?!” Yep, you heard us right.
The real problem with weight gain is lack of physical activity and an over-consumption of processed junk foods that are high in refined sugar, trans-fats, and all sorts of chemical and e-numbers.
Not only do these problems cause unwanted inflammation in the body, but excess glucose from too much junk food is converted into fatty acids in the body – and is returned to the bloodstream. This is then stored as bodyfat in your belly, hips, chest…and generally most places you don’t want it.
On the other hand, research has shown repeatedly that healthy fats can actually help lower bodyfat levels.
One notable 2009 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition involving 124 participants found that those who ate more unsaturated fatty acids had lower body mass indexes and less abdominal fat.
What Do Healthy Fats Do Health-Wise?
On the NHS website, there is some general advice about lowering cholesterol, improving heart health, and reducing your risk of stroke by swapping saturated fats for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
But what other roles do healthy fats play in the body? Fitness expert Justin Grinnell, owner of State of Fitness gym in Michigan, USA, is a fan of healthy fats for fat loss – and the other upsides they bring.
He wrote in this article for Muscle And Fitness Magazine: “Healthy fats provide a wide array of health benefits, up to and including more efficient fat loss.
“We need adequate fat to support metabolism, cell signalling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients.
“They help reduce inflammation in the body, improve brain and eye function, and keep us satisfied.
“And when looking to lose body, we must think about our overall health. The brain function, reduced inflammation, cell signalling, and other metabolic functions all contribute to the fat loss puzzle.”
Our Top 5 Healthy Fat Foods To Add To Your Shopping List
Are you new to all of this healthy fat stuff? Want to make sure you pick up the most beneficial foods at the supermarket?
Here’s our top 5 healthy fat foods to add to your shopping list (in no particular order).
Oily fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health and lowering inflammation in the body. A cooked 4 oz fillet of salmon has roughly 16 grams of fat.
There are around 21 grams of fat in a medium avocado. They also contain 9 grams of fibres to help with digestion.
#3 Olive oil
The oil derived from olives packs a powerful healthy fats punch. One tablespoon contains around 14 grams of fat.
#4 Walnuts and almonds
We’ve lumped these two together because they’re both great sources of healthy fats, with walnuts packing in more polyunsaturated and almonds high in monounsaturated.
#5 Nut butters
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter…you’re spoiled for choice these days, and they’re all super tasty.
Adult obesity: is sugar intake in the 1970s to blame?
Mediterranean diet ‘cuts heart attacks and strokes in at-risk groups’
Plasma-n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are negatively associated with obesity
6 best fats for losing fat