When many people hear the word “fat,” they automatically think of cured meats and creamy desserts. Usually, fats are seen in a negative light, but while excess consumption of most fats should be avoided, there are some types of fat that are actually beneficial for your health and - wait for it - can even help you lose weight. In order to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” fats, we must first identify the different types of fats.
First, saturated fat, also known as “solid fat,” is mostly found in animal products and oils including coconut oil and cacao butter. Historically considered “bad” fat, it has been known for raising cholesterol, however several studies have reported that this saturated fat doesn't play as large a role in heart disease. Saturated fat is divided into various types, based on the number of carbon atoms in the molecule, and items like plant-based oils are more than just fats. They contain many antioxidants and other substances, so their overall effects on health can't be predicted just by the changes in LDL and HDL. In general, it's not harmful, but our intake should be limited.
Trans fat, a truly “bad” fat, is notorious for having a negative effect on cholesterol. In fact, it is recommended that individuals eat as little trans fat as possible, so that means limiting processed foods and snacks, which will help improve your health in more ways than one.
Thankfully, the rest of the fats we’ll discuss are good ones! Unsaturated fat, for example, is usually found in oils derived from plants, and includes monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which include those Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that we love so much. Although we enjoy polyunsaturated fats just as much as the next superfoodie, when it comes to weight loss there’s no competition between these two types of fats - monounsaturated takes the cake every time.
First, monounsaturated fats are the ones we’re eternally grateful for, because they deem avocados good for you. Additionally, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, olives and olive oil fall under the monounsaturated fat category. A balanced diet incorporating recommended amounts of monounsaturated fats has been known to reduce risk of breast cancer, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, and - you guess it weight loss.
It’s been said that monounsaturated fats are belly fat’s biggest enemy. But why? These helpful fats increase your body’s metabolic rate, which causes your body to burn fat faster. Additionally, monounsaturated fats help you feel fuller longer, therefore reducing your urge to binge or snack excessively throughout the day.
While it’s always important to vary your diet and incorporate exercise into your daily life, eating the recommended amounts of monounsaturated fats with every meal can help you lose weight. Plus, it’s an excuse for avocados, so we’re sure you don’t need much more convincing. Here’s to becoming our best selves with superfoods!