If fat is the pudding-like substance under your skin making it impossible to fit into skinny jeans, then the logical answer is to stop eating fat completely. Right?
Wrong. One of the biggest misconceptions about losing weight is avoiding fat at all costs. Fat has been wrongly warped into a villain in the diet world, so I’m here to set it straight for you guys and give you the skinny on fat:
The TYPE of Fat is Everything!
There are three types of fat; each affect the body differently. They are:
- Monounsaturated fats
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Saturated and hydrogenated fats
I want you guys to focus on the top two categories, mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. They fit into a larger category: unsaturated fats.
These are the ones that host the benefits we want.
Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil. These lower cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats include omega 3s, which we can get from salmon, walnuts, and seeds like flax and chia. If you’ve read my article (here) about digestion and elimination, I mentioned omega 3s help lubricate the digestive tract. In addition, they soften skin, prevent blood clotting (preventing stroke and heart disease), and lower depression. My doctor told me to take omega 3 supplements to help with my chronic dry eye (from Sjögrens). In short, it helps you physically and emotionally.
Now for the bad fats.
Now, this is where the myth comes into play. People usually eat too many of the bad kinds of fat – saturated and hydrogenated – instead of the good stuff, the unsaturated fats. These fats cause weight gain, cancer, and heart disease. They are found in fatty meats, high-fat dairy, margarine, fried foods, etc.
Just by eating the good kinds of fats, you help your body do the exact opposite of the bad fats. Here is a list of the benefits of good fats:
- Assists nutrient absorption (It has been shown that if you take a vitamin with an unsaturated fat, you absorb it MUCH better!)
- Source of Fuel (Fats have 9 calories per gram, unlike the 4 in carbs)
- Fights cancer
- Fights obesity
- Fights heart disease (The Mediterranean, where they eat a lot of olive oil, fish, and nuts, has some of the lowest levels of heart disease on earth!)
- Fights clotting
- Softens skin
- Keeps everything lubricated (eyes, mucosa lining)
- Regulates sleep
- Lower depression
- Decreases heart disease risk (primarily fatty fish like salmon or mackerel)
- Lowers cholesterol
- Helps hair
As with everything, moderation is key
. If you eat way too much fat, you’ll still get fat! 10-20% of our calories should come from good fats – but Americans get about half their calories from fat. Remember to replace the bad types with the good because another aspect of the problem is that we eat too much saturated and trans fat. Plus, sometimes there’s a combination of fats in a product, so make sure a good type is the primary one.
I hope I’ve made this simpler for you. Eat right and never forget your exercise. With this huge list of benefits, you should feel compelled to add the right fats to your diet. Fat is your friend!