Which Fats Are Good for Your Diet and Which to Avoid
The key rule to most diets is that you need to avoid fat and any resemblance to fat. Sugar is fat; carbohydrates are fat, and according to most dietary rules, you need to avoid it all if you want to lose weight. But what they aren’t telling you is that some fats are actually good for you. Eating right and losing weight are not something that can be boiled down to “eat no fats”. Your body needs a little of every food group, and that includes fatty foods.
Avoid These Fats
The kinds of fats that are unhealthy for you and that contribute to your waistline are trans fats and saturated fats. These hold no real nutritional value, and you want to try to avoid them when possible, especially if you are already overweight. You can find these fats in foods like fatty meats (beef, pork, lamb), dairy products that are whole fat, lard, coconut oil, margarine, candy bars and fried foods. And those are just some of the foods you should keep to a minimum.
That’s not say that you cannot eat your favorite foods. Just look at the list above and think about the different varieties some of them come in that might not have as much fat. You can eat beef and pork; you just want to try to cut out as much fat as possible. You can enjoy dairy products; just be sure that they are low fat or skim if you are trying to lose weight. And always eat unhealthy foods in moderation. It’s okay to deviate from a strictly healthy diet every once in a while so long as you don’t overeat. If you cannot control your urges, then you might be better off not indulging at all. Know your limits so you can make sure your diet is working for you.
But just because something is labeled as “fat free” does not actually mean it is truly free from fat. Something can be “fat free” and still contain sugar and carbs. These are just fats in a different form, and they still contribute to your weight gain. Once again, try to cut down on these fats as much as possible. They may give you a temporary energy boost, but they can also leave you feeling drained afterwards.
Eat These Fats Instead
As mentioned earlier, there are some fats that are good for you and that your body actually needs. These are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You will find them in foods like soybean oil, olive oil, nuts, tofu, certain kinds of fish (most notably salmon, trout and tuna), avocados and olives.
These foods are essential to maintaining good heart health, decent cholesterol levels and a balanced weight. If you don’t have these fats in your diet, then you aren’t giving your body what it needs to remain healthy.
Now you don’t want to overindulge with these fats either. Moderation is the key to every part of your diet. If you eat too much monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, then you will throw off your body’s balance.
If you want to make these good fats a more intrinsic part of your diet, then you need to change some cooking and eating habits. When you cook, try to use olive oil when you can. You can also make sure you have avocados and nuts nearby as snacks, kicking out the junk food to the curb.
Telling the Difference
So how to you keep track of which fats are good for you and which are bad without a lengthy chart detailing each food they are found in? Well, you can think of the natural state of these fats.
When trans fats and saturated are at room temperature, they tend to be solid. Baking grease, lard, margarine and other bad fats are fairly solid and thick when they aren’t melted all over your favorite foods.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats tend to become liquid at the same temperature. Olive oil, soymilk and fish fat all become runny when you leave them out. If you cannot remember which fat is which and what you should be avoiding, then just remember their natural state.