Fat and why you need it

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Fat-free does not equal healthy

So many of my clients think they’re winning when they tell me they’re reaching for fat-free foods; i.e. yogurt, milk, and other dairy products. While it may seem like this is a great way to lose weight, I’m here to tell you that the right fat is needed in your daily diet. I’m not saying to go for the high-fat ice cream and yogurt, but next time you’re in the store keep these simple facts in mind.

Good versus bad

When it comes to fat, we want to focus on eating the right types. Unsaturated fats are necessary to live: both poly and monounsaturated fats. Both of these can help reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. What are some good sources of unsaturated fats?

  • Fish (salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Hazelnuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • olive, canola and peanut oils

Fats to cut back on

Saturated and trans fatty acids should be used sparingly. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Artificial trans fats should be avoided at all costs, but saturated and natural trans fatty acids should be 7% or less of your diet. Examples include:

  • Meat
  • Poultry skin
  • High-fat dairy
  • Eggs
  • Cookies
  • Baked goods
  • Crackers
  • Icing
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Some margarine’s

I don’t know about you, but I can’t hold myself back when it comes to cookies. And I eat eggs like they’re going out of style. But I do try to eat most of the other things on this list in moderation. And I try to avoid the cookie aisle as often as possible.

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