There’s a lot of talk about fat lately – mainly because low-carb, high-fat diets are becoming increasingly popular. And it has people questioning what they thought they knew about fat and weight loss. It turns out that fat may not be the bad guy after all, and consuming healthy fats – especially nutrient-rich sources – may actually do wonders for your health and waistline.
Of course, if you increase the amount of fat in your diet but DON’T decrease the amount of carbs, you’re likely to gain weight, not lose it. But systematically reducing carbs (by a great amount) and upping fat (by a great amount), will get your body into a seemingly magical state now widely known as ketosis.
The Ketogenic Diet is currently known as one of the best diets for fat loss, if it’s done correctly. By cutting your carbs to only 30g of net carbs (which is the total carbs minus the fiber count) each day, your body switches to another fuel source: fat. Hence why keto is called a fat-burning diet… you literally start burning off your fat stores for energy.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of fat, so you know how to add them into your diet in the best way possible. We’ll also discuss the difference between “good fats” and “bad fats”, and what that means for your ultimate health and weight loss goals.
What Is Fat & What Are its Benefits?
Fat is one of the three major macronutrients in your diet (with the other two being carbohydrates and protein), that are absolutely vital to life. Your body needs healthy fats in order to function, and they likely serve a greater purpose than you ever realized.
- Energy source: your body can tap into fat reserves during lean times
- Cushions and protects vital organs
- Helps your body process fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Contains essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which the body cannot make itself
- Supports the optimal function of the heart, brain and immune system (fatty acids)
- Gives food great taste and makes it more satisfying
Types of Fat
Not all fats are created equal, and you want to get the right balance for optimal health. Read on to learn about each fat type.
This fat group is not the villain it once was… Recent research is showing that many foods high in saturated fat once deemed to be bad for you actually don’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, some of them, including grass-fed butter, is packed with nutrients and may actually help protect your heart health (in moderation). Examples include:
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Red meat
- Pork and chicken
There are two types of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – both healthy fats which are great for your health. Monounsaturated fats help improve cholesterol levels, thereby lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease. They can also help control your blood sugar and insulin levels. Examples include:
- Olives and olive oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Most nuts
- Most seeds
- Fatty fish (sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel and herring)
- Ground flax and flaxseed oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
- Walnut oil
Trans Fat (the Dangerous Type!)
While many healthy fats are good for you as part of a balanced diet, trans fats are the exception. There is nothing natural about trans fats! They’re synthetically made using a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, to make them more solid. This is why they’re also known as partially hydrogenated fats or oils.
Trans fats are created for taste but do you no good in the health realm, as they’re known for being bad for your heart. When you eat them, it increases bad, LDL cholesterol, and lowers good, HDL cholesterol – raising your risk of heart disease and stroke by 3 times more than other fats.
Trans fats have been deemed so detrimental to health that the FDA has put forth an order to ban them from foods in the US. It has been removed from most of them since June 18, 2019, but there are still some producers with extended deadlines. The entire process will be complete by January 1, 2020. Trans Fats to Avoid:
- Fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, pies, pastries)
- Pizza dough
- Margarine sticks
- Packaged foods
- Fast foods
Healthy Fatty Foods and Ingredients that Can Help you Lose Weight
Now that you know which fatty foods to eat and avoid, let’s talk about how fat may actually help you with your weight loss goals. The thing about keto (and other high-fat, low-carb diets) is that they’re known to put your body into a state where you simply burn fat faster. You also end up eating a ton of fat-burning foods – which ironically are also fat sources.
As mentioned, these types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids – which research shows can help you lose body fat. Fish is also a great source of protein, which increases satiety and metabolism.
This oil comes from coconut or palm oil, but is metabolized differently – it goes straight to the liver and becomes an immediate source of energy. Therefore, it helps increase fat-burning while decreasing hunger, since it’s extremely satiating.
This breakfast favorite is full of high-quality protein, which greatly increases your metabolic rate while keeping you full and satisfied for hours. The higher protein amount also helps increase calorie-burning during digestion.
Studies show that olive oil may boost metabolic rate while promoting fat loss. It also increases feelings of satiety, since it stimulates the release of GLP-1 – a hormone that assists with fullness.
Cheese, like other high-fat dairy products, also contains powerful fatty acids.
Like these recommendations? Checkout these eight super healthy, high fat foods here. Meal replacement shakes can also be a great way to get the nutrients your body needs to burn fat a nd maintain a healthy metabolism. Our top rated shake, 310 Shake, also can provide a dose of healthy fat when mixed with MCT oil! Read our full review of 310 Shake here.