Many people are confused about how much and what type of fat we should include in our diets. Executive Mom Nest Advisor and owner of Optimum Wellness & Nutrition Amy Bowers breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Does fat make you fat? The easy answer is no, but with some stipulations. Learning to understand the difference between healthy fats, fat-free foods, trans fats, and MCTs will help.
Where the confusion starts: Fat has nine calories in each gram, while carbohydrates and protein each have four. In other words, one would think that eating low-fat foods allows you to eat a larger amount of food, feel fuller longer, and stick to a diet. But that’s not what really happens. In reality, fat is more satisfying than protein or carbs. In other words, when we eat healthy high-fat foods, our bodies tell us to stop eating sooner and we won’t eat as much.
What is Healthy Fat? Healthy fat is "brain food." Foods such as eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, red palm oil, ghee, salmon, grass-fed beef and olives all aid in brain development and actually help you stay full longer. Moderate portions of these foods every day are good for you and are just as crucial to your diet as carbs and protein are in giving your body energy. In fact, some vitamins even require fat in order to dissolve into our bloodstreams and provide nutrients.
What does Fat-Free really mean? There was a period of time when we thought "fat-free" meant weight loss. But "fat-free" usually describes products that are full of sugar, chemicals and who knows what else, and that lead to obesity and diabetes.
What are Trans Fats? Hydrogenated oils like safflower, sunflower, cottonseed and canola should be avoided. These are often found in processed junk food which is high in calories and offer little or no beneficial properties. In fact, junk food is designed to make us want to eat more and leaves us feeling less satisfied.
Increase MCTs: Mono-unsaturated and poly-saturated fats contain MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) found in coconut oil are a special form of saturated fat that have both antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that support our immune systems, aid in weight loss, and increase metabolism.
How much Fat should I eat? Aim to eat 2-3 servings of healthy fats per day, ideally one at each meal. Ultimately, eating a well-balanced diet that contains healthy fats, proteins, and carbs will help us maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Fat can be your friend!
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Certified Health Coach and Integrative Health Specialist Amy Bowers believes in bio-individuality and works to create a personalized plan to help clients reach their health and wellness goals. For more enticing recipes, follow Amy on social @optimumwellnessandnutrition