Cutting fat out of your diet seems like a no-brainer when you’re on the path to weight loss. Yet cutting out fat altogether can do more harm than good. Good fats are essential for optimal health. Good fats help build body tissue and cells and aid in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
While there are plenty of fats that might not belong in your diet, there are some that you should be eating consistently.
Types of Fat
Fat comes in four different forms: saturated, unsaturated, hydrogenated or trans-fat and essential fatty acids.
- Saturated fats are typically found in animal products, like milk, cheese and meats.
- Unsaturated fats mainly come from vegetables and oils and are a healthier fat choice than saturated.
- Trans-fats are very bad and are found in processed foods, like cookies, chips and candy.
- Essential fatty acids come in the form of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. They fortify foods like milk and orange juice but are naturally found in fish and oils. These types of fats are necessary for optimal health.
Fats to Avoid
If you eat out, have the occasional cookie or chip. If you are not a vegetarian, then it’s nearly impossible to cut out all of the bad fats that aren’t good for you. But in moments where it’s possible, you should limit foods that contain saturated fats, trans-fats.
Familiarize yourself with labels. Unsaturated fats, or the good fats, come in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
If a product has 9 g of fat and only 2 g are saturated, then the majority of it is created out of good fats. If a product only contains trans-fat, it should be avoided.
How Much Fat per Day
The American Heart Association recommends a total fat intake of 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories. Saturated fat should account for less than 7 percent, trans-fat less than 1 percent and the remaining fat should come from unsaturated fats.
For a 2,000-calorie diet, that means consuming between 50 and 70 g of fat per day, with saturated fats accounting for 16 g or less and trans-fat 2 g or less.
Weight loss will occur when there is a calorie deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume.
Eating less fat is not always the ticket for successful weight loss.
The good fats you consume should come from nuts, vegetable oils, fish, seeds and avocados. Foods high in fat, even if its good fat, often means they are also high in calories.
A gram of fat contains 9 calories, compared to a gram of protein or carbohydrate, which only contains 4 calories. While these fats are good for you, consume them in moderation.
Bad fats include processed foods, like cookies, crackers, candy, chips and ice cream. Baked goods, such as donuts and cakes often contain high amounts of bad fats.
For the best insight on whether a product is bad for you or not, read the nutrition label and focus on where the fat is coming from.