Fats: To Eat or Not to Eat?
• The facts on what’s good and what’s not for your body
Many of us have heard that in order to lose weight, we must eliminate fat completely from our diets. It seems only logical…Cut out fat to lose fat, right? Well, there might be a little bit more to it than that. Fat consumption has become a very controversial subject over the years. How much fat should you have? What types of fat should you eat? There’s a lot of conflicting information out there. So we’re taking it upon ourselves to break it down a little more simply for you.
So, why are fats important?
Fats and fatty acids play a huge role in our bodies. Fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, D, E, & K all require fats to be present for the body to be able to properly absorb them. Essential fats such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 are extremely important to decrease the risk for heart disease, cancer and also to decrease inflammation in the body. A key factor about these fats is that they must be consumed and added in the diet. The body cannot create these important nutrients from other foods. There are numerous studies that have shown a decrease in cancer and heart problems when an individual’s diet contains these vital nutrients. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats can be found in fish such as salmon and herring and also from some plants like walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Is there such a thing as a good fat?
Good fats are unsaturated fats. They are divided into two groups: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help lower total and bad cholesterol (LDL) and also help raise good cholesterol (HDL). Monounsaturated fats can be found in all kinds of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts. Polyunsaturated fats, on the other hand, are found mainly in vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, corn, flax, and soy. Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats mentioned above are examples of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
What is a bad fat?
Not all fats are good fats; there are a couple of not so good ones out there. These include trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids and partially hydrogenated oils, are industrially created to help enhance the flavor of food and make the product last longer. This is accomplished by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils. Doing this makes the fats solid at room temperature. Which also means that once you ingest it, it also remains solid in your body and can most definitely build up in your arteries over time, thus raising your total and bad cholesterol levels (LDL) as well as decreasing good (HDL) cholesterol levels. The FDA has made many label rulings and announcements about the dangers of trans fats, which have motivated many companies to eliminate trans fats from their foods. However, it is important when buying any product to always look at the nutrition label and ingredients, and keep an eye out for these dangerous fats. Many food items, especially commercially packaged foods, still contain these hidden dangers such as cookies, bread, chips, and candy.
Saturated fats, like trans fats, can also raise total blood cholesterol levels as well as bad cholesterol levels (LDL) if consumed in excess. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as full-fat dairy products, meat such as bacon and sausage, butter, seafood, and eggs.
Will I be getting in enough fat if I do the HCG diet?
The HCG diet is a much different diet than other weight loss programs available. Understanding the protocol in its entirety and following it completely is the key to seeing success with the program. Yes, fats are an important part of a healthy diet. And yes, we do need fats to survive and absorb key nutrients, etc. However, consuming our daily requirements of fat does not necessarily mean that we need to coat all of our food in olive oil or take a supplement. The HCG diet does restrict all oils and fat extracts. However, some foods, many of which you may be unaware, contain natural fats. An example of this would be kale. Kale is an approved vegetable on the HCG diet. It is super low in calorie, full of fiber and a great vegetable option. But, did you know that 2 cups of kale renders 1-1.2 grams of fat? Obtaining fat from vegetables is a great way to get in required amounts while still staying very healthy. So, if you’re on the HCG diet, don’t worry or think that you may be harming your body in any way. Your daily requirements are still being met with the approved foods on the program. Cleansing your body with the HCG diet and even losing weight in general may be the healthiest thing you could ever do for yourself.
Bottom line…does eating fat really make you fat?
The answer to this question may be a little complex. Eating fat really doesn’t make you fat as long as you are smart about your choices and consume fat in moderation. Studies have shown that incorporating a small amount of fats, typically around 25-30 percent of our total calories are part of a balanced diet and considered healthy. And individuals who consumed healthy fats in moderation actually lost weight over a period of time versus those who eliminated fat completely from the diet. Fats contain more calories (9 to be exact) per gram than carbohydrates and protein, which give 4 calories to each gram and alcohol which gives 7 calories per gram. So, what does this mean for weight loss and maintenance? Well, technically it means that fatty foods do contain more calories than other foods. Which means for example, that even though avocados are considered healthy fats, if you eat them all day long, you will most likely start to see some weight gain.
So how do you eat fat and lose/maintain weight?
Again, the key to maintaining weight or even losing and still staying healthy is to enjoy fats in moderation. Cutting out fat completely from the diet can be dangerous. Try minimizing your consumption of commercially packaged foods, and/or look for trans fat free options and alternatives. Avoid using oils such as palm oil or vegetable oil, which are high in saturated fat, and try using olive oil, canola oil, and flaxseed. When purchasing dairy products, always opt for the 1%/skim or lowest fat option. And remember, that all animal products contain saturated fat, so if you see fat on the edges of your selected meat, make sure to trim if off before cooking or eating.