Before you think I've gone crazy, I'm not about to try to convince you that eating burgers and cheese will help you to lose weight - sorry to burst that bubble. I'm talking about good fats.
So many people are quick to cut out ALL fat from their diets when trying to lose weight, but you SHOULD eat good fats.
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What is the difference between good and bad fats?
Bad fats are saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats come from meat and dairy products - they trigger cholesterol production in your body and can therefore lead to high cholesterol and even heart disease. Trans fats come from processed foods and unhealthy snacks - they also raise cholesterol levels, but are said to be even worse than saturated fats because they lower good cholesterol as well (the stuff that removes bad cholesterol from your arteries)!
Good fats are polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These come from fish and nuts (among other things) and don't raise bad cholesterol levels - they raise the good cholesterol levels! They are responsible for transporting a variety of vitamins and minerals throughout your body and are vital for good health!
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How will good fats help me to lose weight?
Fat controls hunger
One way that eating good fats will help you to lose the pounds is because it's satisfying - surely you've noticed that you feel full for longer when you've eaten an avocado than when you've eaten an apple. This is because it takes your body longer to digest fat, and also because good fats help to stabilize your blood sugar levels - preventing you from getting cravings convincing you that you're hungry.
Fat burns fat
I realise that this sounds crazy, but fat provides your body with some of the necessary energy to burn calories - to fuel your metabolism, and a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition actually found that consuming fatty acids can boost your metabolism! A further study in 2009 in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who consumed the most unsaturated fatty acids (good fats) had lower BMI's and less abdominal fat than those who consumed the least. If this confuses you, it's because the people who ate more good fats were eating higher quality foods.
An article on the Livestrong website even says...“old” fat stored in the body’s peripheral tissues—around the belly, thighs, or butt (also called subcutaneous fat)—can’t be burned efficiently without “new” fat to help the process, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dietary fat helps break down existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways through the liver.
Fat keeps your body healthy
I mentioned earlier that good fats help to transport vitamins and nutrients around the body - many nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, which means that the body can’t absorb them without fat! So your body needs fat to benefit from these nutrients otherwise you could develop vitamin deficiencies, which could lead to a number of health issues.
It's essential that you have the correct vitamin and nutrient levels to ensure your body maintains a healthy weight, and that your body also functions correctly. You need a healthy body to be able to safely lose weight.
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So, despite us all being conditioned to run away when we see the word fat, not all fat is bad for you. Foods such as oily fish, olives, olive oil, almonds, cashews and avocados are perfect to get your good fat intake, and to promote healthy weight loss.
Good fats are a great way to keep your hunger at bay, but as with anything, good fats should still only be eaten in moderation.
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