Don’t Fear The Fat

One of the things that interests me the most about nutrition is how people tend to categorize foods as either “good” or “bad.” For many years, fat has been seen as the food enemy and is often labeled as “bad,” even though it is an essential part of our diet! As a health coach, I often get questions about what the perfect diet looks like or the best ways to lose weight. So, today I thought I would talk a little bit more about fat and why we should be eating it instead of avoiding it. 
how to select oil

Healthy fats steady our metabolism, keep hormone levels even, nourish our skin, hair, and nails, as well as provide lubrication to keep the body functioning fluidly.  Healthy fats are especially important during cold months to help insulate our bodies from the cold as well as provide energy. 

Many people think that they key to losing weight is to eat a low-fat diet. Although it is important to include the right kinds of fat in our diet, often times a low-fat diet can make us gain weight. 

Have you ever bought something at the grocery store that was labeled low-fat? If you check out the nutrition label, you’ll usually see that it is loaded with sugar! Fat adds flavor to foods so when companies remove the fat from products (e.g. low-fat granola, fat-free cookies, etc), they add in extra sugar to make it taste better. Excess sugar is one of the keys to gaining weight so what we really need to be watching is the sugar content in our diets, especially if we eat the Standard American Diet with lots of packaged food. 

And, eating good fats is one of the keys to healthy weight loss because healthy fats help us feel satiated after a meal, which actually prevents over-eating.  

good fats are healthy
However, not all fats are created equal. Heavily processed, hydrogenated, and “trans” fats used in packaged foods can be extremely damaging to the body so please remove these from your diet and avoid them as much as possible. 
Some of my favorite fat sources include:

  • Whole foods such as avocados, olives, and coconuts. (I prefer to use whole-food sources of fat, as opposed to oils, as much as possible because they still contain the nutrients in the food.)
  • Oils like flaxseed, sesame, olive, walnut and pumpkin seed. These are best used raw for salad dressings.
  • Coconut oil, especially for medium to high-heat cooking, as it does not break down when used at higher temperatures. 
When selecting oils, good words to look for on the label are: organic, first-pressed, cold-pressed, extra-virgin and unrefined. Words to avoid are: expeller-pressed, refined and solvent extracted
One of my favorite ways to include healthy sources of fat in my diet is by using a variety of nuts and seeds, adding avocado to tacos, or roasting veggies in coconut oil (this oil is my favorite). 
What are your favorite ways to include healthy fats in your diet?

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