Healthy Fats: Are They For Real?Aug 22, 2018
Why does every lunch break at work have to revolve around the contents of our tupperware?! It seems nearly impossible to escape all the health fads circulating the break room these days.
The bigger challenge is figuring out which coworker at the table is advocating for bona fide health science rather than just spewing forth another TV show host’s opinion (hint: rhymes with SOPRAH.)
Specifically, there’s LOTS of chatter these days about fats – are they good, bad or ugly? Is this avocado on my salad something to feel guilty about or proud of?? In the case for the hard-boiled egg…is the verdict toss the yolk or simply relish it’s yolky goodness??
It’s enough to want to skip lunch altogether….or just cram a candy bar at my cubicle to avoid the potential shame.
Luckily, when it comes to fat there is a bona fide bottomline: There are MANY different kinds of fat with pros AND cons. The trick is to know the facts before you fill your tupperware.
Need help? Make sure you keep your fat facts straight (say that 5 times fast!!)
RATING SCALE BREAKDOWN
Now, let’s get started…
The Scoop: Your heart <3’s MUFAs! According to the American Diabetes Association, incorporating MUFAs into your diet can actually help to reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL.) Bad cholesterol can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Pay attention, we’re discussing your heart here!
MUFA Munchies? Snack on:
- Olive oil
- Nuts and nut butters (peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans)
- Sesame seeds
- Canola oil
The Scoop: Main types are omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. According to the Harvard Medical School, PUFAs are ESSENTIAL to your body’s normal functions but your body cannot make them. Bottomline? You have full permission to eat them! I hope I’m not the only one who’s excited!
Eating PUFAs is at the core of holistic healthiness. They’ve been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder, aid in joint pain and arthritis relief, and even give you a mood boost!
Hungry Yet? Dive in:
- Salmon, sardines or other fatty fish
- Seeds like pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower
The Scoop: There’s a lot of debate around this fat. Is it good or bad? Answer? Yes and yes! Saturated fats have shown to increase bad cholesterol.
However, they’ve also been linked to good things like aiding in fat loss by helping you stay fuller, longer! Also, nutritious foods like eggs contain both unsaturated and saturated fat. You don’t need to cut out eggs all together just because they contain some saturated fat.
General consensus? Limit your snack attacks by eating small amounts of these fats! Make sure to stick to whole food options (such as whole milk products or eggs) rather than troublesome processed foods (including those french fries.)
Stick to small amounts of:
- Milk, cream and cheeses
- Coconut oil
- Chicken (with skin)
- Fatty beef
The Scoop: There is no other way to say this without sounding a bit crazed….but….NEVER EVER EVER EAT TRANS FAT! STOP IT! PUT IT DOWN NOW!!
Got your attention? Good!
Per the FDA, trans fat is the worst kind of fat on the market. Even in small amounts these bad boys are deadly. Trans fats are shown to increase bad cholesterol, greatly increase risk of heart disease, contribute to insulin resistance AND cause inflammation. Lost your appetite yet?
This means NO:
- Shortening or hard margarine
- Anything with “partially hydrogenated oil” (check ingredients on food labels!)
- Many of your favorite fast foods (again, no french fries!)
Helpful Hint #1: Even the good fats have calories (and lots of them!) Too much of a good thing can turn your good intention into an extra trip to the gym!
Helpful Hint #2: Challenge yourself to creatively swap out the good fats for the bad. Some suggestions are to use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter. Or slice up an avocado as a sandwich filler instead of cheese (guac anyone?!)