11 simple solutions for good fats

11 simple solutions for good fats

11 ways to get more healthy fats
Use mashed avocado as a condiment.
Add nut butter to a smoothie.
Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on your salad.
Use seeds or nuts as toppings on salads and yogurt.
Add olives to your pasta, salad, tacos, or pizza.
Order the cheese plate.
Choose salmon or trout.
Nibble dark chocolate for a sweet treat.
Top Brussels sprouts or other sides with a fried egg.
Melt butter on steamed veggies.
Snack on nuts instead of chips.
Cook with olive oil, or try avocado, sunflower, or grapeseed oil.
One trick to knowing which fats are healthy is by looking at the packaging and processing. Prepackaged, processed foods are more likely to have bad fats. Whereas whole, unprocessed foods are more likely to contain good fats.

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Use fat to reach your goals
Like the class clown, fat has a reputation for being a trouble-maker. When compared to the other two macronutrients of our diet — carbs and protein — fat is the one we raise our eyebrows at. But fat’s bad rap is unwarranted and comes from decades of misleading or confusing info in the diet and nutrition industry.

“Fat plays a vital role in the absorption of vitamins, A, D, E, [and] K; gives rise to components of the immune system; regulates body temperature; provides structure for cell membranes, and therefore influences multiple biological functions,” says Lori Zanini, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator.

Fat is indeed an essential nutrient we need to survive and thrive, but not all fats are created equal. As long as we avoid artificial trans fats, such as those found in fried foods and pastries, we can use the rest of the fine and tasty fats to power us through our days.

If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current number on the scale, fat can be a healthy part of your strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should make fats your sole source of nutrition. Consuming too much fat could lead to weight gain because fat is calorie dense compared to other macronutrients. Each gram of fat contains 9 calories. Carbohydrates and protein each contain 4 calories per gram.

In the end, maintaining a healthy weight is about the basics: eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

Benefits of fat
helps absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K
helps immune system
regulates body temperature
helps your body function
creates a feeling of satiety
Every person is different, so if you’ve got specific fitness or health goals in mind, Zanini recommends consulting with a registered dietitian who can help you figure out a nutrition plan that’s right for you.

What this information all comes down to is: Fat is your friend. “Having balance and quality fats in the diet is key to properly nourishing the body,” Zanini says.

So, let’s call out the bad fats
Now that you know the good fats, here’s what might be masquerading in your food as healthy: artificial trans fats, aka manufactured fats. They’re created when hydrogen molecules are pumped into vegetable oils.

“This hydrogenation process creates a more solid fat that is less likely to become rancid and thus prolongs the shelf life of processed foods,” says Haar, PhD.

Research shows that eating artificial trans fats:

significantly increases our risk for heart disease
causes inflammation
can damage the inner lining of the blood vessels
could drive insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Trans fats can be found in everything from frozen pizzas to donuts, cookies, crackers, and cakes. Food manufacturers are required to list trans fats in grams (g) on labels. However, keep in mind that the FDATrusted Source currently allows foods with 0.5 g of trans fats to be listed as 0 or trans-fat free.

Instead of looking at grams, check ingredient lists and avoid foods with the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.”

WHAT ABOUT NATURAL TRANS FATS?
Yes, naturally-occurring trans fats are a thing! These fats are found in some meat and dairy foods and are considered safe and even beneficial. Unlike artificial trans fats, humans have been eating natural trans fats for centuries.
By June 2018, the FDA’s banTrusted Source on artificial trans fats in our foods will take effect. This doesn’t take the responsibility of reading labels off us, however. Some manufacturers will have a period of up to three years to comply, which means artificial trans fats will still be in circulation — and we know how long those last!

When breaking up with artificial trans fats, make sure you’re reading food labels. And to incorporate all the beneficial fats, we’ve armed you with the info to supercharge your health and eat meals that make you feel full and satisfied. Please pass the Parmesan!

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