Updated: Nov 12, 2019
Eating fat is an important dietary requirement, but so is knowing the right types of fat to eat.
“The best way to lose fat is to eat less fat” (author unknown).
This could not be further from the truth. Once upon a time, not too long ago, this may have been the advice given by personal trainers and nutritionists alike, but not anymore. Eating a healthy blend of polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat and even saturated fat is vital for optimal health. Ingesting healthy fats, both mono and poly, is essential to maintaining normal hormonal and cellular functions. Simply neglecting these fats can lead to numerous side effects such as improper hormonal balance, lack of oil production within the skin, poor digestion, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, higher body fat percentages, and so many more. Eating fat is an important dietary requirement, but so is knowing the right types of fat to eat.
Monounsaturated Fats are found in olive oil, avocados, peanuts, almonds, canola oil, walnuts and other various sources. Olive oil is the best source for this fat. After numerous studies performed on consuming this healthy fat, scientists have linked lower body fat and weight to diets that consume a healthy amount of mono fat, specifically olive oil. Another benefit of olive oil is that it creates a sense of satiation and fullness for longer periods of time. This is essential in order to achieve optimal meal / portion size, which results in healthier food choices and less of a tendency to over eat. Olive oil has been shown to prevent arthritis, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Food Tips can simply be using olive oil and your favorite type of vinegar on salads. During lunch, eat a sandwich without the mayo and mustard; instead, spread avocado on it. For a great snack that is loaded with the healthy cancer fighting lycopene, choose all natural peanut butter (without hydrogenated oils) spread on an apple. For another healthy snack, choose low-fat Greek yogurt with a handful of mixed nuts.
Polyunsaturated Fats are fats that should be consumed less than mono. These fats are found in safflower and sunflower oils. Although these fats do decrease unhealthy LDL cholesterol, they unfortunately decrease healthy HDL cholesterol as well. These fats can harden in your arteries when consumed in hydrogenated forms. Hydrogenated means that they start out as polyunsaturated but are ingested like saturated fats, worse than saturated. Look at all labels when shopping, if it says hydrogenated then don’t buy it.
Food Tips can simply be staying away from anything that says hydrogenated. Common hydrogenated products are regular protein bars or snack bars, non-natural peanut butter, ketchup and other condiments, and numerous snack items by major food companies. Instead, choose poly fat found in natural oils.
Saturated Fats are commonly found in egg yolks, meat, butter, cheese, whole milk, and most other animal sources. They can also be found in coconut and palm oil. Saturated fats harden at room temperature, which means that they will harden in your arteries. This can lead to increased blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks and so many other heart complications. Nutritionists and various health organizations recommend limiting your saturated fats to 10% of your daily fat intake or up to a total of 20 grams of saturated fats daily. This is essential to maintaining a healthy heart and more optimal body fat levels. However, do not eliminate this type of fat all together.
Food Tips can simply be choosing 1-2% milk instead of whole milk. Eating less cheese or choosing a low-fat cheese. Eating only one to two yolks instead of three to four. Choosing leaner cuts of meat instead of full fat meats. Stay away from rib eye steak and lean towards sirloin. Choose 90-10 ground beef instead of 80-20.
Men, saturated fats are essential to maintaining and increasing testosterone production. Consuming little to no saturated fats can cause detrimental harm. However, overeating this fat can lead to sluggish behavior, poor circulation, non sexual capabilities, poor hormonal function and so many more. In conclusion, find an optimal balance of saturated fat to ensure optimal hormonal function.
Omega-3 fatty acids keep your heart healthier, lead to lower body fat percentages, lowers bad cholesterol, lowers triglycerides, and helps keep your arteries flowing more efficiently. These fats are found in fish such as salmon (wild not farmed), tuna (albacore), sardines, and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, flaxseed, dark leafy greens and wheat germ. These food items contain significantly less Omega-3’s then fish. Studies have shown that individuals whom ingest Omega-3 fatty acids as their main daily fat have lower body fat levels, more optimal cholesterol levels, better energy, less chronic pain, and better memory retention.
Food Tips can simply be choosing to eat fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids two times per week. Choose fish that is Organic and wild, never farmed. Lastly, increase the leafy greens and other food substances that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Add wheat germ to your oatmeal and/or daily breakfast cereal. Snack on walnuts and almonds for a snack with Greek yogurt or a protein shake.
Omega-6 is easier to ingest then Omega-3 because of its availability in food sources. Omega-6 is found in vegetable oils, meats, eggs and dairy. Although there are some benefits to Omega-6 fatty acids, you may want to limit this fat consumption. Choose a ratio of 6-8 to 1 with 6-8 being Omega-3 and 1 being Omega-6.
Watching your fat intake is important to maintaining optimal health and body fat percentages. However, being aware of the types of fat you consume may be more important. Consuming diets consisting of mainly Omega-3 and other monounsaturated fats is advantageous. These fats have been shown to lower body fat, improve health, lessen pain, prevent arthritis, aid in memory retention, lower cholesterol levels, provide greater blood flow, maintain healthy arteries, and improve overall mood. Do not neglect certain saturated fats because they result in normal hormonal functions, which is essential for healthy living.