Research says that fat doesn’t make you fat. And this is true, too. But like any macronutrient you need fat as you need carbs and protein, eaten as a balanced healthy diet. Research shows that low-carb and low-fat diets can help you lose weight, but it isn’t because you’re cutting out those specific foods. It’s because you’re prioritizing protein intake while reducing the calories that come from fat and carbs. Generally, reduced calories will lead to weight loss.
But what does that mean for eating healthy fats? What should you eat and how much? Should you load up on nuts, avocado, coconut oil? High fat diets work, you can lose a ton of weight by eating only fat at a calorie deficit, but this comes at the cost of damaging your health. First of all, what is healthy? Healthy is just a relative term. The answer will be different for each person and what their bodies can take. The reason avocado, coconut oil, and olive oil are considered healthy is because they have benefits beyond the fact that they are fat. They have omega 3s and other nutrients and minerals that are beneficial to your health and necessary for your body. Eating any of it excessively though can both pack on the calories and cause health issues. Having a small amount of it in order to supply your body with the right amount of nutrients is a healthy habit. The key, like with everything else is balance and moderation.
How much fat should you be eating? Research indicates that as much as 20 - 35 percent of your calories should come from fats. Fat filled meals can help keep you full and they also help burn calories. Eating a high-protein, high-fat snack actually increases your resting calorie burn rate for up to 3.5 hours!
Why do we need fat though? First of all they allow a good production of testosterone and estrogen. They help protect and run your immune system, and they help your cells function the way they should in your body. Fats also play an essential role with nutrient absorption. There are two main groups of fat that your body can be broken down to - saturated and unsaturated fats, both providing its own set of benefits at the different amounts consumed.
Let’s cut to the chase, what fats are good for you and which should you stay clear of? Fats that benefit your health include nuts/nut butter, seeds, avocados, olive oil (extra virgin), and avocado oil. These should be your go to choices for fat as they contain polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats with proven health benefits. Your second group of fats can be eaten in moderation, but are not extremely healthy. These include coconut oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable oil, and corn oil. The third group is the group of fat you can avoid completely or eat very selectively and scarcely - trans fats.
Another important point to take is that just adding a healthy fat to your current diet or a not well balanced diet isn’t going to do any good for you. This will make you less healthy and indefinitely lead to fat gain - probably the opposite of what you would want if you’re reading this article.
The takeaway: Your body needs fats to function the way it should, but you can prioritize the kind of fat you’re taking into your body. All of it should be taken in moderation to keep a balanced diet. Although you can lose weight eating a high fat diet, this probably isn’t the best option for your health. Adding healthy fat to an already unbalanced diet would also result in weight gain. The key is a balanced and moderated consumption of fat with a priority on the right kinds of fat - not trans fats.