Healthy Fats and Why You Need Them
When it comes to dieting, “fat” seems like a three-letter word. Much of our distorted view of fats and their purpose has led us to avoid fats in our diet, either on purpose of unconsciously. But what purpose do fats really serve in your diet? Is fat as bad as we think it is? Be Well 365 breaks down the dos and don’ts of fat, and throws in a great heart-healthy recipe.
Myth: All fat is bad fat
Fact: Healthy fat exists, and is a necessary part of your diet
A healthy adult diet is actually comprised of between 25 and 30% fat. Every gram of fat contains 9 calories, but the way different fats work in our body is key to what we should and shouldn’t consume. The two bad fats, trans and saturated fats, raise cholesterol levels in your blood and contribute to health issues. Two good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can actually lower bad cholesterol in your blood and help keep you healthy.
While it’s okay to have both kinds of fat in your diet, knowing which is better for you and making healthy decisions like choosing olive oil (unsaturated) over butter (saturated) will help you make good choices without feeling deprived of the foods you love.
Myth: Fat is bad for your heart
Fact: Healthy fats are key to a healthy heart
Because healthy fats keep your bad cholesterol levels low, they promote heart health and keep you in good shape. A diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugars can increase triglyceride levels, which can contribute to heart and blood vessel disease.A diet full of healthy fats also keeps you full, meaning you won’t binge on sugars and other carbohydrates.
Eating fat instead of sugar helps to keep you full, and maintains your blood sugar levels, meaning you eat less and avoid low energy levels. Feeling full and energetic makes it easier to stay active and participate in heart-healthy cardio activities!
Myth: Eating fat makes you fat!
Fact: Eating fat can help you eat healthy and lose weight
It seems simple, right? You are what you eat! But the truth is that a diet high in fat, especially healthy fat, actually helps most people lose weight.
Fat helps keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping, which means your body releases less insulin. Insulin directs your body to store more fat, assuming that
a sudden drop in blood sugar means you are starving and need to reserve more calories. When you eat more fat, you’re telling your body that blood sugar can stay stable and there is enough to eat, jumpstarting your metabolism and causing your body to burn, rather than store, fat.
In addition to a diet high in protein and limited, complex carbohydrates, fat can help you lose weight. Healthy fats can even help you maintain heart health and manage chronic problems like diabetes.
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