Saturated fat is making a comeback when it comes to weight loss. Over the past 20 years saturated fat has been vilified and positioned as one of the main causes of obesity.
Yes, it’s true that fats in general yield double the calories of both carbohydrates and protein but as we know it’s not just about caloric intake – the quality of the calories you consume matter just as much if not MORE then your daily caloric intake.
It’s very common for my clients to be afraid of consuming fat. When you start a weight loss program you should typically keep fat consumption to a safe minimum until you start to trust my nutritional philosophy – eat whole foods that promote fat and support health.
Do you often feel hungry 60 minutes after you eat?
Has your weight come to a standstill?
It’s possible you are not consuming enough quality fats at your meals and snacks. Lacking good quality fats in your diet can lead to a myriad of health problems like:
• Constant hunger = overeating
• Hormone regulation
• Poor metabolic functioning (cells aren’t firing as they should)
• Cellular repair (cells and DNA repair is not optimal)
• Mental illness
• Poor vitamin absorption
• PMS (including horrible cramps)
• Imbalanced diet – high carb consumption
• Low HDL levels (good cholesterol)
How much fat do you need in a diet?
It’s a tricky question and there is no clear answer. It really depends on who you ask. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 20% to 35% of your daily calories come from fat.
My recommendation for you is to take a middle of the road approach (unless specific circumstances warrant a personalized change) allocating approximately 30% of your daily caloric requirements to fat.
Here are 3 healthy fats to incorporate in your weight loss plan, or general healthy eating plan.
Good quality olive oil is not cheap. To ensure you are getting the highest quality extra virgin olive oil buy small bottles of a certified organic oil. Check the label for ICEA (Istituto per la Certificazione Etica e Ambientale, which means Ethical and Environmental Certification Institute) logo, and/or that of another organic certification body such as the USDA's green-and-white ORGANIC logo. Consuming olive oil reduces inflammation, which can reduce your risk of certain cancers, like breast cancer.
Do not use extra virgin olive oil for cooking over a low to medium heat. The molecular structure of the oil changes and not only decreases the health benefits, but destroys the fat and in essence, creating a free radical (which can lead to cancer). For cooking at higher temperatures use the next recommended fat – coconut oil.
Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT (medium chain triglyceride). The jury is still out on whether it promotes fat loss as many of the claims report. The research done on the fat loss benefits of coconut oil are too few so it’s hard to say with any degree of certainty if coconut oil is responsible for fat loss. It does, however, support your immune system, support a healthy heart and give you energy.
Coconut oil is beneficial as a replacement for butter and other polyunsaturated fats in the diets. You can cook with coconut oil at high temperatures. It has beneficial antibacterial properties that help our bodies increase resistance to colds, flu’s, mold, yeast, and fungus.
HEMP SEED OIL
Hemp oil is one of the healthiest oils you can add into your diet. Although hemp seed oil isn’t as popular as some of the other healthy oils it should be included in your diet daily. Just like extra virgin olive oil hemp oil should not be heated.
You can easily add it to your salads, veggies, pasta, hummus, yogurts, and smoothies after the cooking process has finished. Since hemp seed oil is nearly identical to our own lipids, it is capable of penetrating our cells and lubricating the surfaces between them.
According to Natural News hemp oil:
• Contains vitamin E in advantageous amounts
• Relives premenstrual stress
• Has unequaled anti-inflammatory properties not found in other oils
• Is a natural sun block
The trick to losing fat by eating fat is making sure you are consuming the appropriate portion size and not over doing it. Just because you are consuming “healthy fats” doesn’t mean you get to consume unlimited qualities of them.
In good health,
Cheryl Wahl, North Vancouver Nutritionist
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