Fat can often be a confusing thing when it comes to your diet. Once upon a time (and even now to a lesser extent) it was thought of as a big no-no when trying to lose weight. This ‘old school’ advice on top of the fact that it just seems logical to avoid eating fat in order to lose fat, or avoid putting on any fat, often makes it hard for many people to understand just exactly where fat belongs in their diet.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to lose body fat, maintain your body weight, or build up some lean muscle tissue, your fat intake, and more importantly the types of fats you’re eating will play a massive role.
Now like I just mentioned, many people, especially those who are attempting to lose weight, come to fear fats because they think that eating fat will make them gain body fat.
This is not the case, in fact quite the opposite is true.
So here’s 3 quick reasons why fat is a very important part of your diet
Healthy fat rich foods have many essential vitamins and minerals that you need on a daily basis and a lot of vitamins actually need fats to be absorbed properly.
If you skimp on the fat in your diet, you’ll no doubt find yourself deficient in something important sooner or later because A) you’ll actually be consuming less nutrients due to the fact that you’re avoiding healthy fats, and B) you won’t be absorbing a lot of nutrients properly without the presence of fats. .
Fats Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
The next benefit of healthy fats are stabilized blood sugar levels. Healthy fats have basically zero influence on insulin release in the body, while protein has a small effect and simple carbohydrates have a large effect.
When you get a high release of insulin in the body such as after consuming a large dose of simple carbs, that’s when you get a very high spike in blood sugar followed by a surge of insulin into your body. Insulin is a very ‘anabolic’ hormone, which means it basically promotes fat storage – so if you want to lose body fat, you want your body producing as little insulin as possible after eating and this is where eating some healthy fats in your meals can really help.
Fats Are Filling
Since dietary fat is broken down so slowly, by adding it to your meals you’ll stay satisfied for longer after you eat, this can be very helpful for people who have to try and eat less in order to lose weight.
Adding Fats In To Your Diet
So now that you can see all the benefits of healthy fats, how do you add them into your diet?
First, make sure you’re choosing only healthy sources. This includes fats from foods such as avocados, flaxseeds, fatty sources of fish, grass fed meat, organic free range eggs, olives, olive oil, fish oil/krill oil as well as nuts, seeds and natural nut butters.
Coconut oil is a great oil to cook with, it tastes great and is very healthy for you, and I often add coconut milk or flaxseed oil to my protein shakes…yum!
Avoid fats from lesser quality meats, as well as deep fried or baked goods. These are unhealthy saturated and trans fats which must be kept low in your diet, they will make you fat and unhealthy.
Keep in mind you still want to monitor how much fat you’re eating, since fats do contain 9 calories per gram, you want to make sure you factor this in and don’t overeat if your issue is that you typically OVER eat. Think of ways to replace some ‘bad’ calories with these healthy fats.
If you UNDER eat (remember this is REALLY common, you won’t lose fat if you UNDER eat) adding some healthy fats in to your diet is a great way to sneak in those extra calories to get that metabolism fired up again, and the hormones in check.
Its always good to start with a high quality fish oil, krill oil, or cod liver oil as the first type of fat to start including in your diet. Omega 3 fats like these contain what’s called EPA and DHA which are super healthy and important nutrients for our body, and are great for your brain, heart, and your joints just to name a few.
In fact fish oil and krill oil can really help with fat loss as its been shown to increase your ‘insulin sensitivity’ meaning that you’re body won’t produce as much insulin when you eat, remember a lesser insulin response from your food means less fat storage.
So there you have some interesting nuggets about healthy fats. If you’re currently on an ultra-low fat diet, it’s definitely time you rethink this approach and start adding some fats back into the picture.