Cut the fat?
Remember back in the 90s when fat was the root of all evil?
Not only did it make you fat,
Just a sliver of fat would give you a heart attack just from looking at it.
Also, It would clog your arteries,
It would send your cholesterol through the roof
And it may even give you an STI.
Just kidding about the last one.
The truth is that fats aren’t nearly as bad as we once thought.
In fact, they are quite good for you.
What are fats?
Fats are organic molecules of carbon and hydrogen strung together into long chains.
There are three kinds of healthy fats.
Saturated fats, which are solid at room temperature.
Saturated fats include some animal fat, butter, chocolate and coconut oil.
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.
These fats include things like nuts, nut butters and olive oil.
Polyunsaturated fats are also liquid at room temperature.
These fats include flaxseeds, chia seeds, fish and fish oil.
NOTE: Omega-3 fats, which are super healthy fats that we often don’t get enough of in our diet, are a type of polyunsaturated fat. More on those in a future article.
The benefits of fats
Fats are wonderful for your body.
Here is what they can do for you:
-Nourish brain, eyes and cell membranes
-Help absorb vitamin A, D, E and K
-Help build and balance important hormones
-improve your libido
-give you energy
-they help you feel satisfied with your meals
-some fats may help with brain development in children
-some fats may prevent neurodegenerative disorders in adults
Healthy fats can be found in natural, minimally-processed, whole foods.
Healthy fats include:
Oils like olive oil, canola oil, avacado oil, flaxseed oil or hempseed oil
Avacado or guacamole
Nuts like pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans and pistachios
Nut butters like natural peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter
Seeds like pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds
It is pretty easy to go hog-wild on healthy fats.
They are incredibly delicious!
And although they are incredibly healthy for you, it is important to be mindful of the your serving sizes.
Here is what Precision Nutrition recommends:
1 serving = 1 thumb
How to get your healthy fats
Getting healthy fats is not difficult.
They are typically a welcome addition to any meal.
Try any of the following:
Cook up your eggs in a thumb of butter or coconut oil.
Throw a thumb of nuts and seeds on your oatmeal.
Mix in a thumb of coconut in your super shake.
Toss a thumb of olive oil on your salad.
Dip your raw veggies in a thumb of Hummus.
Spread a thumb of Pesto on your sandwich.
Watch a thumb of butter melt over your sweet potato.
And hey, how about a thumb of dark chocolate for dessert (yes ma’am, that counts!!)
There is, of course, exceptions to the rule…
These are man-made fats that are used to increase the shelf-life of certain foods.
To create trans fats, naturally-occurring fats like vegetable and seed oils are pumped full of hydrogen in an industrial process called hydrogenation. This makes the liquid oils more solid at room temperature.
Trans fat can be found in:
-Regular peanut butter
-Fried foods like french fries and fried chicken
-Some baked goods
-Some frozen TV dinners
When checking the label for trans fats, look for words like:
-Mono- and diglycerides
These terms indicate whether or not the food has trans fats in it.
According to the FDA, trans-fats are considered NOT “generally recognized as safe”.
Healthy fats are not the evil demons we once thought they were.
They can help us recover, nourish our tissues, help us feel full, build important hormones and most of all, help us lose fat.
As with any foods, it is important to be mindful of serving sizes and more so than that, to eat slowly and to eat until 80% full.
It is pretty easy to turn the suggested serving of one thumb of fat into three thumbs of fat.
So, start with the recommended serving size of one thumb, eat your food slow and eat until 80% full.
If 80% full happens before you are finished your healthy fats – no problem! Save it for later.
As always, we don’t expect absolute perfection from our clients, just that they make progress towards their goals. Sometimes, that means simply adding some healthy fats to meals, other times it could be balancing out their healthy fat profile.
Just ask yourself, “what could be a little bit better” and then go execute.
Go get ‘em!