Bring Back The Fat – Why Fat Is Good For You
For many years, doctors, dietitians, and other healthcare experts have preached the dangers of fat. However, in recent years with the growing popularity of low-carb high-fat diets, researchers are discovering that fat isn’t the enemy. In fact, fat is important for overall body wellness. Fats provide essential fatty acids that our bodies can’t make themselves, and they help us absorb key fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients.
Furthermore, the way of eating we recommend at MealMD teaches your body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs (sugars). Other benefits like weight loss and increased insulin sensitivity are just part of the deal!
Types of Fats To Look For
There are three key fats that make up the bulk of your calories when following a low-carb meal plan. Those three are monosaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and saturated fats. Let’s look at these a little more closely to get a better understanding of what they are and how they affect our bodies.
Not all fats are created equal and monosaturated fats are a prime example of that at work. These are the “good fats” you always hear everyone talking about. The benefits of monosaturated fats include the balancing of good cholesterol vs bad cholesterol, as well as the reduced risk of heart disease, and cancer. Additionally, studies focused on monosaturated fats also discovered that foods rich in this sort of fat can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
Polyunsaturated fats (or PUFAs) are found commonly in plant and animal-based food sources. Fish like salmon, nuts, seeds, and some vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fats. As we mentioned, our bodies can’t produce fatty acids on their own. That’s where PUFAs come in. Many food sources containing this kind of fat provide us with our Omega-3s and Omega-6s. These produce a variety of health benefits including heart health, balancing of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, and overall better blood sugar levels.
Saturated fats have gotten a pretty bad wrap over the years, but new studies suggest that saturated fats like those found in red meat (beef, lamb, etc) may actually be good for you! Research shows that there may be a link to saturated fats and improved HDL to LDL ratios, immune health, bone density health, and hormone levels.
Fats to Avoid
Unfortunately, not all fat is good fat. Highly processed trans fats and vegetable oils commonly found in some of America’s favorite foods cause weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, and a slew of other nasty side effects. Food producers and restaurants use trans fats in a variety of ways. Candies, cakes, chips, and other fan favorites usually include trans fats as a means of making their food shelf-stable. There’s a reason they say snack cakes will outlast all of us—they’re full of transfats and preservatives.
Good Fat Foods
Believe it or not, low-carb, high fat, moderate protein diets allow for a lot of foods that traditional diets don’t. You might even be surprised by some of the items in our following list.
Eggs are among some of the most nutritious foods in the world. They’re low calorie, filling, and come jam-packed with a huge list of vitamins and other nutrients like vitamin A, B5, B12, and B2, as well as selenium, folate, and phosphorus. It’s hard to go wrong when eating an egg. Add them as a side dish, or boil them and eat them with a little salt. They truly are an incredible, edible superfood!
Butter is another fat with a troubled past, but it’s perfect for a low-carb lifestyle. Recent studies suggest there is a minimal link between butter and heart health. It’s carb-free, and most butter is around 80% fat. Interestingly, it’s also a food rich in butyrate which promotes brain health.
Do you love bacon? Want to eat steak and eggs for breakfast? How about a perfectly fried piece of salmon? Fatty meats are the cornerstone of the low-carb way of eating. Not only do they provide protein, but they also help you reach your fat macronutrient requirements for the day. So go ahead, take that next piece of bacon!
Coconut, Avocado, Olives, and Seeds
Not only are these foods great in their natural forms, but their oil versions are also the better alternative when it comes to cooking fats. In combination, they’re great sources of all three of the good kinds of fat. Additionally, they can be used as side dishes or on their own.
Bad Fat Foods
As we mentioned, not all fats are good for you. Foods high in trans fats are usually high in carbs, sugar, and other preservatives which are all things you want to avoid if you’re doing a low-carb meal plan. These snacks include items like cakes, cookies, crackers, chips, and other shelf-stabled favorites. When you’re grocery shopping, it’s important to look at the labels. Check the nutritional boxes on the sides of the packaging to get a better idea of how much trans fat your favorite pastry packs, then consider a healthier alternative.
That doesn’t mean that sweets are off the menu when you’re eating low carb, you just need to pick the right ones. There are many delicious sugar substitutes to choose from that are better for you and work great in a variety of recipes!
See The MealMD Difference
If you’re ready to start looking better, feeling better, and regaining control of your overall health, MealMD is the chef-prepared, doctor-prescribed health and wellness meal plan for you. We provide three meals a day, six days a week that require minimal preparation. That means you get perfectly nutritious meals without the fuss. We take the guesswork out of eating right. Reach out to get started!