We used to think that low-fat eating was where it was at for weight control and good health. But as a fat-phobic society, we went overboard eating low-fat foods and we piled on the pounds. Low-fat does not necessarily mean low-calorie, nor does it give us permission to eat excessively. Instead of reaching for a sleeve of low-fat cookies, we are better off having our favorite cookie, eaten slowly and enjoyed.
Whether eating high-fat or low-fat foods, it still comes down to moderation and portion control. While too much fat is related to heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and obesity, the right types and amounts of fat in the diet can help with preventing some of these chronic conditions.
The Benefits of Fat
Fat is an essential nutrient for our bodies. Fat helps add flavor to foods and keeps hunger at bay by helping us feel satisfied longer. Even though fat is a concentrated source of calories and is considered fattening by some, adding fat to your meal makes it more flavorful and satisfying. If the meal tastes better and keeps you full longer, you will end up eating less overall.
Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are dissolved in fat and are carried in food and into your bloodstream. These fat-soluble vitamins require dietary fat to fully nourish your body.
Fat on your body has several purposes – cushioning your organs, protecting your body from injury and offering insulation.
Sources of Healthy Fat
When it comes to fat, it’s important to focus on eating more beneficial or “good” fats. Sources of healthy fat include fatty fish, nuts, and olive oil.
- Salmon and other high-fat fish have the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Nuts have a healthy fat in them and are a great portable, quick snack to satisfy you until the next meal. If you buy a container of almonds for example, divide it into several snack bags. Keep them in places where you have the snack attack: your glove compartment of your car, at your desk, in your briefcase, etc. Enjoy nuts in one of our favorite trail mix recipes.
- Drizzle some olive oil sparingly on your vegetables and enjoy the taste and the heart health benefit of olive oil.
We need a certain amount of fat in our diet and on our body for health and wellness. So instead of fearing fat, enjoy some in moderation.