Lose Weight by Avoiding the Right Fats | Good and Bad Fat
In our ongoing and nearly universal battle against excess body fat, the dietary fat we derive from food has developed a sinister reputation. This reputation is not entirely undeserved, since excess calories definitely contribute to body fat and each gram of fat contains far more calories than a corresponding gram of protein or carbohydrates. But fat alone isn’t the enemy. If you’re trying to cut fat—all fat—from your diet in order to lose weight or protect your health, it’s time to break down a few common myths and misunderstandings about the relationship between fat and nutrition.
Nutrition and Fat
Fat is an important, in fact vital, aspect of healthy nutrition. Fat molecules provide an integral part of almost all healthy body tissue, specifically the skin, eyes and brain. When fat is absent from the diet or deficient in the body, these are the areas that tend to suffer first and most severely. Also, without fat molecules, the fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K can’t be absorbed and moved around the body, and they can’t be effectively delivered to our cells.
Dietary fat is also responsible for supplying essential fatty acids, or EFAs, known as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. We need these fatty acids for our survival, but we can’t produce them on our own, so they’re an essential component of healthy nutrition.
But of course, not all the news about fat and nutrition is positive. Excess body fat is certainly harmful to our health and can greatly increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other problems. And body fat comes from excess calories, or a caloric intake that exceeds our daily burn. As it happens, dietary fat contains nine calories for every gram, which is more than double the number of calories we gain from most carbohydrates and proteins.
So if we’re trying to lose weight, should we cut fat out of our nutrition plans? And if we choose to cut fat from our diets, how can we do so without compromising our health or missing out on the EFAs and fat soluble vitamins we need in order to live?
The answer lies in distinguishing beneficial dietary fats from harmful ones. Once we recognize which fats are vital to our nutrition and which are unhealthy, we can make better choices and lose weight safely.
Nutrition Healthy Fat: Unsaturated and Omega 3 Fats
Unsaturated fats are good for us. In fact, fats from the unsaturated category provide an essential component of healthy nutrition and should ideally make up about 20 to 35 percent of our daily calorie intake. These healthy fats can actually reduce the risk of artery clogging and heart disease.
Healthy unsaturated fats can be found in foods like the following:
1. Olive oil and sesame oils
2. Nuts, specifically almonds, pistachios, and peanuts.
3. Cottonseed and safflower oil
4. Soybean oil
5. Flaxseed oil
Seafood offers the most nutrient rich source of an especially beneficial fat category known as omega 3s (also called docosahexanoic acid and eicosapentanoic acid). If you decide to cut fat from your diet in order to lose weight, not only should leave omega 3 fats off the list, but you should actually elevate your intake of these healthy fats as much as possible. Omega 3s have been strongly linked to heart beat regulation, lower levels of dangerous triglycerides, and lower risk of the blot clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Look for omega 3 fats in fatty, cold water fish like salmon, tuna and sardines.
If you’re trying to lose weight, cut fat from the unhealthy category, but don’t cut fat too aggressively from the unsaturated category and leave Omega 3s alone. Here’s a guide to recommended healthy fat intake based on your daily calorie levels:
If you consume 1,800 calories per day, 40 to 70 grams of your intake should come from healthy fats.
If you consume 2,200 calories per day, aim for 50 to 86 grams of healthy fat.
If you consume 2,500 calories per day, 56 to 97 grams of your daily nutrition should come from healthy fats.
Nutrition and Unhealthy Fat: Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
If you want to lose weight and you’re trying to cut fat from your diet, target the unhealthy fats from the saturated and trans fat categories. These fats are top contributors to heart disease, since they inhibit blood flow and raise levels of dangerous blood cholesterol.
Unhealthy saturated fats are typically found in animal products like fatty red meats, full fat milk, cheese, and ice cream. While animals supply most of the unhealthy fats we encounter, saturated fats are also found in palm oil and coconut oil, which are ingredients in most packaged cookies and crackers. Since our bodies make plenty of saturated fats on their own, we don’t need to derive these fats from our nutrition. At the same time, when we decide to lose weight and cut fats from this category, it’s best not to cut them entirely, since dairy products and lean meats also offer nutrition benefits like calcium and protein.
The worst fats come the category known as trans fats, which are produced as packaged foods are put through the process of hydrogenation, which makes them firmer and gives them a longer shelf life. Trans fats offer no nutrition value and are actually linked to several types of cancer, but in order to cut fat from this category, you’ll need to pay careful attention paid to package labels.
Cut Fats from the Unhealthy Category with these Tips
1. Choose lean proteins like poultry and fish instead of red meats like beef and pork. Even better, choose proteins from plant sources like beans, nuts, and legumes.
2. Use healthy plant oils for cooking, like olive oil and sunflower seed oil. Skip processed margarine when you can.
3. Most important of all, protect your nutrition by avoiding packaged and processed foods whenever possible. You can cut fat from your diet significantly, especially the worst fats, by cooking food at home, choosing whole food made from whole ingredients, and avoiding fast food and packaged snacks.
Use these nutritional tips and suggestions to supplement your diet while doing your workout routines to reach your goals. Use Kbands, KB PowerBands, and KB Duo along with our workouts to start seeing results today!