We provide nutritional guidance at Rising Fitness in Houston, TX. When people see fats in their nutritional plan, they are often surprised. In fact, many have been consuming low fat or no fat foods, which actually sabotages their weight loss. There are three main categories for fat, saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature, while saturated fat is solid. Saturated and unsaturated fat are easily found in nature, but most trans fats are man-made with just a small amount naturally occurring.
Are some of these fats healthier than others?
Trans fats are definitely unhealthy. They are the hydrogenated products that were created to have longer shelf life, like margarine and shortening, and touted as a healthier option than butter or other natural sources. Saturated fat has been given the label of unhealthy for the heart, but new studies are showing it’s not. Unsaturated fat has been touted as the healthiest. It has two classifications within that category, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Within the polyunsaturated category there are fatty acids, omega3 and omega6 are polyunsaturated, while omega9 is monounsaturated. You need all types of fat—EXCEPT trans fats.
Fat can help you lose weight.
No matter what type of fat you eat, it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Fat is high in calories, but gives you a feeling of satiety. When you eat healthy fat, you aren’t eating carbs and converting your body to a fat burning machine. Fat doesn’t spike insulin production as carbs do. Less insulin means your body needs to access the stores of fat in your body. It conditions your body to burn fat, while helping you to consume fewer calories. If you eat fat-free foods, the fat is often replaced with sugar, which can cause you to gain weight.
Each type of fat has its own benefits for the body, except trans fats.
Saturated fat can strengthen the bones, help create cell membranes, protect the liver, boost the immune system and protect you from harmful microorganisms in the digestive system. Unsaturated fat help decrease LDL and cholesterol levels, aid in preventing plaque build-up in the arteries. Monounsaturated fat raises the good cholesterol levels—HDL—which also helps prevent plaque and improve bone health. Omega3, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, helps prevent platelet clotting and blocking arteries, reducing the risk of hardening of the arteries, while providing protection from irregular heartbeats. Omega3 also helps improve brain functioning and improve liver health. Both Omega3 and Omega 6 reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, while also improving your skin.
- Your body needs a balance of Omega6 to Omega3 in a ratio of 1:1 to fight inflammation and reduce the risk of disease, but most American diets provide a ratio of 16:1. One study showed too much Omega6 can cause aggressive behavior.
- Foods high in polyunsaturated fat include fatty fish, such as salmon, flaxseed and walnuts. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, as is peanut butter. Healthy foods with saturated fat include cheese and dark chocolate.
- The British Journal of Nutrition published a study in 2009, which showed that people who had the highest consumption of unsaturated fatty acid had lower BMIs and the smallest amount of belly fat.
- To reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol, increase polyunsaturated fats in your diet, which includes food like Brazil nuts. Control blood sugar levels with monounsaturated fat like cod liver oil and peanut butter.
For more information, contact us today at Rising Fitness Gym