Perhaps you had to read the title twice. Fats? Healthy? Surely not.
For as long as most of us can remember, “fat” is synonymous with “unhealthy.” If a food contains fats, it’s automatically bad.
Choosing the low-fat or no-fat option is automatic for many of us. Thus, it may take a little time to get your head around the idea that fats actually aren’t the supervillain they’re commonly made out to be.
Let’s take a look at what healthy fats really are. What’s the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats? How much is too much? And what kinds of food should you add to your diet?
What Are Healthy Fats?
It’s important to realize that while fat has been unfairly demonized, not all fats are equal. It’s healthy to have some fats in our diet, but only certain kinds. For example, processed fats have often been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, and used in other processed foods. Processed foods include cakes, pastries, fried foods, chips, and more.
We know that these foods are perfectly fine in moderation, but we also know that eating fried food all day every day isn’t good for anybody. Low-fat or no-fat foods tend to be higher in sugar, meaning that you’re not really eating any better. In fact, you’re probably fueling the sugar addiction that many of us don’t realise that we have.
On the other hand, foods with “good” fat generally include dairy, olive oil, fatty fish, and more. So you can probably spot the difference between “good” and “bad” fat right away.
Can Fat Be Part of a Healthy Diet?
By now, many of us are gradually beginning to understand that the traditional diet model doesn’t work.
Misery and self-loathing are not, and never will be, the key to looking and feeling better. Starvation diets or strict fasts usually aren’t going to get you feeling anything but hungry. They certainly won’t leave you feeling good about yourself.
However, we do realise that our modern diets are full of high-sugar, highly-processed foods. Junk food has little to no nutritional value and leaves us feeling hungry soon after.
Unfortunately, this food tends to be addictive. Additives and high amounts of sugar are added to processed food, making it harder to stop eating them. If you decide to eat a healthier diet, filling up on nothing but celery and rabbit food won’t leave you feeling satisfied. This leaves you open to food cravings, general misery, and the ultimate ignominious end of your dietary plans.
How do you get around this?
Simply put, you need to add healthy fats to your diet. A delicious salad is fine, but many vegetables don’t contain the kind of fats we need. It takes time to let our body adjust to a new diet. This adjustment period is where many people fall short.
If you’re just getting started with healthy eating, you might be interested in trying out a high-fat, low-carb meal plan. Investing in a meal plan can be a great and easy way to lose weight, since your meals are all planned out and prepared for you. Additionally, it can help you get over the irrational fear of the “F” word. That is, fats.
Benefits of Healthy Fats
There are two main types of fats to watch out for, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats can be found in some meats, butter, coconut oil, and dairy products. While saturated fats were once considered the root of all evil, they are in fact fine in moderation. In fact, dairy can be a rich source of calcium and protein.
Unsaturated fats are found in fish, seeds, nuts, vegetables oils, and more. Unsaturated fats are especially good for your body. They help to promote weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even lower the risk of heart disease.
How to Get More Healthy Fats into Your Meals
Hopefully you’re now straining at the bit, eager to get as many fatty new foods into your diet as possible!
Remember, forcing ourselves to eat food we don’t like and completely cut out foods we love isn’t sustainable. What’s better in the long run: treating ourselves to some unhealthy treat every now and then, or cutting our treats out altogether then having a giant binge when we give in?
Any eating plan needs to be comfortable, flexible, and more importantly, sustainable. When you set out your new eating plan, make sure it’s something you can live with.
First, let’s take a look at some foods that contain good fats. You might be surprised.
- Walnuts and almonds
- Nut and seed butters (and yes, this includes everyone’s favorite: peanut butter)
- Olives and olive oil
- Fatty fish (for example, salmon, anchovies, and tuna)
- Dark chocolate
- Seeds (sunflower, chia, hemp, pumpkin, etc)
- Dairy products (full fat, of course)
- Shredded coconut
This is by no means an exhaustive list of foods that contain healthy fat. Of course, too much fat isn’t good for us, either. However, you can easily use these ingredients to enhance your favorite dish, or even create something entirely new.
Rethinking the Fat Fallacy
“Fat automatically equals bad” is a common myth, and it can actually damage our health. The aversion of fats of any kind is part of a larger problem. That problem is our own attitude to dieting and healthy eating.
Simply put, healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore. If our taste buds are saturated with heavy flavors from processed foods, rich in salt and sugar, it can take a while to get used to healthier foods.
Taking the time to research your food and come up with recipes you genuinely enjoy can have you looking forward to mealtimes.
A common mistake is where people focus on their food rather than themselves. Real change can only be made when a person understands themselves and their bodies first. Learning to be confident in your own body is a skill like any other, but it’s not out of our reach. Take our masterclass on body confidence to build this skill. When you become more confident in the skin you're in, you can make the better choices for your health.