Get Fat to Get Fit

If you’re trying to lose weight, get ready to enjoy some fat—healthy fat. These foods are full of good fats that may actually help you get fit.

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Believe it or not, you don’t have to deprive yourself of every food you love to lose weight. “All foods in moderation, in combination with exercise, help promote weight loss,” says Amy Plano, RD, MS, CDE, CDN and PCOS Dietitian on the faculty of University of New Haven. Which means that a healthy diet can include occasional small indulgences and even fats—of the good-for-you variety, such as the monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3s found in avocados, walnuts, salmon, ground flaxseed, and plant-based oils (like soybean, olive, and safflower).

While eating healthy fats does not directly cause us to lose weight, it can help support our weight loss goals. According to Plano, “When we eat fat (of any type) the body releases a chemical messenger called CCK. CCK talks to our brain and tells the body that we have eaten and that there is food in our bellies. Therefore, when we eat fat, it acts like a shut-off valve. It also promotes satiety, as its presence in the stomach delays gastric emptying, causing us to feel full for a longer period of time.” 

Some healthy-fat foods Plano likes include:

  • Cold-pressed organic unrefined coconut oil: This coconut oil is high in lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids. Use a small amount to sauté vegetables or even use it in your baking to replace saturated fat-laden butter.
  • Walnuts: These great-for-you nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to support heart health. Toss one serving (one ounce, or about 12 walnut halves) over your morning oats or into your smoothie. Use them to add crunch and protein to salads, or indulge in a treat by eating one serving of toasted walnuts with a square of dark chocolate.
  • Avocados: This fruit is high in polyunsaturated fats, which may help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. Use one serving (about one ounce, or 1/5 of a medium avocado) in place of butter on bread, dice it over veggies and rice, or even add it to your smoothies for an added bit of creaminess.
  • Cage-Free Organic Eggs: High in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, eggs can be a solid start to your day or a filling lunch, especially when paired with sautéed fresh veggies and a piece of whole-grain toast.

But remember, says Plano, when it comes to fat, keep your portions modest. All fats, even in their healthiest forms, supply around 100 calories and 12 grams of fat per serving. “Therefore, that measly smear of peanut butter or mayonnaise on your sandwich is going to cost you,” Plano warns.

Also, Plano cautions, those with certain medical conditions like Crohn's Disease and Colitis, and individuals who have had their gall bladder removed need to be extra careful when adding various forms of fats to their diet. Consult your doctor for the right amount for you.   

If you’re aiming to lose weight, fats should account for 25-30% of your diet, and, as much as possible, they should be the healthy, monounsaturated kind. The remaining 70% of your daily calories should come from other nutrients, Plano says, including protein and carbohydrates. According to Plano, exercise is key: “Adults should aim for no less 120 minutes of exercise per week in combination with a diet modest in healthy fats.”

Provided by Dr. Oz The Good Life Magazine