FAT IS BACK!
How many of us were taught that fat is public enemy number one? Current research, and time, tells us this not the case at all! In fact, the obesity epidemic began once we started demonizing fat and replacing it with sugar. We now know that it’s sugar, not quality fat, that makes us fat, fast! The facts are stunning. The total number of obese adults 20 years old and over has doubled from 1980 through 2002. The incidence of overweight children and adolescents has tripled.1
So coming in at 9 calories per gram, the fear of fat is understandable. However, healthy fats provide energy, growth, development, protect our organs, assist in absorption of certain vitamins and - best of all - they develop your brain. Did I mention that it’s one of the three critical nutrients for fat loss (fiber, fat and protein)?
The three types of fats to be aware of are saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat. Both conventional (poor quality) saturated fats, like fats found in meat, lard, butter and cream, and trans fats, like the ones found in fried foods, baked goods and snack foods, have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and chronic inflammation. These fats are responsible for not only weight gain, but also for all the sickness that follows. Substituting those fats with unsaturated fats, like fat found in fatty fish, avocado and olive oil, has been shown to decrease that risk, but portion control is the key!
You should be careful when looking into research done on fat because the information is so different from study to study. The good news is that we are here to tell you the science, not the bias. With all of this contradicting data, who – and what – do we believe? The take-home is this: you can actually ingest fat! What you should be watching out for is not only how much you are ingesting, but also the quality of food that you are choosing. Everyone has heard the saying “quality over quantity,” and it’s true! However, if you decide to choose a lesser quality meat, you should know that these saturated fats can cause disease! The point is that fats are good when you eat good-quality ones and practice portion control too!
HEALTHY FAT FIRST
When looking for your healthy fats to eat, focus on “quality” fats like omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Fishes such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and halibut (think S.M.A.S.H.); ground flaxseed, chia seed and pasture raised omega-3 enriched eggs are a few of the top choices that contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are crucial because the standard American diet is extremely pro-inflammatory.
When choosing your seafood, keep in mind that the smaller the fish the less mercury it may contain. Additionally, opt for wild-caught fish over farm-raised fish since they tend to have less contaminants, no antibiotics and higher amounts of omega-3s. It’s the same principle as grass-fed vs. industrial livestock.
However, make sure that you DO NOT get confused by omega-6 fatty acids, most of which have been proven to increase inflammation and cause weight gain. Omega-3 = good. Omega 6 = bad.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
It is essential that you eat healthy saturated and unsaturated fats in your diet along with omega-3s by choosing a mixture of any of the following: mixed nuts, avocados, dark chocolate, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, clarified butter (ghee), coconut butter, whole free-range or organic eggs and naturally occurring fats found in quality animal-based protein. All of these will provide your body with the healthy fats that it needs in order to properly function. It will also curb the increase of your blood sugar.
Don’t overthink it when it comes to fats, just remember that “quality is king,” whether they are saturated or unsaturated. Furthermore, they will aid you in losing that unwanted body fat, but again, portion control still remains extremely important.
TRANS FAT ALERT!
Trans fat and industrial seed oils are the fats that have no place in anyone’s diet! Trans fats can either be naturally present in food or artificially made. Guess which is worse for you? Artificially made Trans fats are created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, changing it from an unsaturated fat to a saturated fat. Trans fats are well documented for causing coronary heart disease, increasing “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and decreasing “good cholesterol” (HDL). These types of fats should be avoided at ALL COSTS.
TRANS FAT TO AVOID
- Cake mixes
- Ramen noodles
- Fast food
- Anything deep fried
- Breaded fish sticks
- “Convenience” food
- Frozen prepared food
- Pot pies
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows foods to contain up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving and still be to be labeled as having zero grams of trans fat, so always read the ingredients or – even better – just stop eating foods with a label!
The keywords that you should be looking for in the ingredients list that indicate trans fat are:
- Partially hydrogenated
- High stearate
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Visit www.ItsFatLossNotWeightLoss.com to learn some more information on our upcoming book, “It’s Fat Loss, Not Weight Loss!” Ready to make lifestyle changes that will improve your health long-term? With the help of this all-encompassing guide to permanent fat loss, you can become the best you possible!
1. Flegal KM. Epidemiologic aspects of overweight and obesity in the United States. Physiology & Behavior. Volume 86, issue 5, 15 December 2005, pages 599-602