Will Eating Fats Make You Fat?
Contrary to the low-fat diet craze of decades past, fats aren’t all bad – and by cutting out all fats, you’re missing out on some important health benefits. Fat is a major source of energy.
As Harvard Health Publishing explains, “It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.”
It’s true that of the three primary macronutrients we eat (carbs, fat and protein), fat is the easiest to be stored as actual fat. Dietary fat is also the most calorically dense of the macronutrients, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on just how much olive oil you’re drizzling onto your salad. But rather than removing all dietary fat from your diet, focus on healthy weight loss through a calorie deficit.
Remember, not all fats are created equal! Check out our list below to learn which fats we should include regularly in our meal plans, and which fats we should avoid.
Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats: Love it!
Olive oil, avocados, seeds, fish, nuts
These fats are called “good fats” because they’re good for your health. These fats can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure, and offer a variety of other health benefits. Adding more healthy fats to your diet can also help you feel more satisfied, which can reduce your hunger to help you reach your weight loss goals.
Saturated Fats: Limit it!
Red meat, dairy
While these are better for our bodies than trans fats, saturated fats should also be limited. Studies show replacing foods high in saturated fats with healthier options reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers blood cholesterol levels. The AHA recommends “aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat.” So if you’re eating red meat and cheese for most of your meals, consider adding some plants to your plate.
Trans Fats: Leave it!
Artificial fats (“partially hydrogenated”)
These are the fats to avoid. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” Check for the words “partially hydrogenated” on ingredients lists while shopping and consider other options.