What’s the first thing you think of when you want to lose weight? Cut down the amount of oil, butter, and ghee you consume, isn’t it?
Before you swear off fat forever, here are some facts you need to know about this ‘alleged’ villain in your weight loss story.
You NEED fat to burn fat
Fats are the most misunderstood food group. What if we told you that you need fat to burn fat? Especially, the stubborn fat around your belly, hips, and thighs. A diet with increased fats has the capacity to actually retrain the body’s fat cells to burn more calories.
Trust us – we’re not playing an April Fool’s prank on you.
Fat burning is a high-calorie activity
Fats have more than twice as many calories in each gram when compared to carbohydrates or proteins. That’s 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories in carbs and proteins.
But if you don’t eat this calorie-dense nutrient, your body doesn’t have enough fuel to burn calories or carry on its metabolic activities.
The fats that you eat activates the fat-burning enzymes and hormones which makes it easy to lose fat.
Insulin levels in the body play an important role. Here’s how it works; when you eat simple carbohydrates, your insulin levels first rise and then crash. The crash is where you start to feel hungry again. Eating foods rich in fats makes you feel fuller for longer.
When you eat a low-carb, high-fat meal, your body goes into a state of ketosis. Here, your body starts burning fat for energy. So, it’s using fats for energy instead of carbohydrates. That means that when your body is done burning the fats you eat for energy, it starts burning the stored fats in your body to produce energy. This is how you lose weight.
Simply put, it helps you lose weight and keep insulin levels stable.
Not all fats are created equal.
There’s a catch! The pro-fat diet doesn’t mean you can now start stuffing your face with chips and dip. It refers specifically to healthy fat. It’s a pretty reasonable catch when you think about it.
THE HEALTHY MONOUNSATURATED FAT:
Another fact we associate with fats is that they are bad for your cholesterol levels.
However, that doesn’t hold true for all of them!
In fact, foods that contain MUFA like nuts, seeds and certain oils lower your risk of heart disease by reducing the unhealthy cholesterol (total and LDL) and maintain healthy cholesterol (HDL).
Additionally, MUFA has a positive impact on insulin and blood sugar control, which benefits Type 2 Diabetes.
MUFA foods you should add to your diet: almonds (badam), olive oil, peanuts, peanut oil, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (til), pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds (sabja).
The essential fats you must eat:
Omega 3 fats have earned a super nutrient status courtesy their spate of health benefits.
These essential fats help prevent arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and the buildup of plaque in arteries. Given its anti-inflammatory properties, Omega 3 fatty acids reduce joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, these essential fats play a key role in brain development and function, not to mention aid bone health. Thus, Omega 3 fats lower the risk of heart attacks, depression, dementia, osteoporosis, and arthritis.
The Omega 3 foods you must include in your diet are salmon, mackerel, walnuts (akhrot), flax seeds, mustard oil, and sardines.
Similarly, Omega 6 fatty acids play a key role in reducing cholesterol and cutting down the risk of heart-related ailments.
Omega 6 fats can be found in sunflower, soybean, corn, and safflower oil.
A word of caution; some fats can a cause a stir in your lipid profile while offering other health benefits as well. Let’s learn more…
These fats offer some impressive benefits for your lungs, brains and immune system.
However, avoid eating foods rich in saturated fats as they shoot up your cholesterol, particularly the harmful LDL cholesterol. Such a situation results in blockages in the arteries which puts you at risk of heart disease.
You need to ensure that your saturated fat intake is less than 10% of your total calorie intake.
Top sources of saturated fats are red meat, eggs yolks, and full-fat dairy products like butter, cheese, and ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter.
The unhealthiest fat which spells trouble for your heart and must be avoided as much as you can.
Trans fats drive up your cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride levels and lower your HDL levels. Such a situation drastically increases your risk of cardiovascular ailments.
Commercially available bakery products such as cakes, crackers, doughnuts, frozen pizza, and cookies and snacks such as tortilla or potato chips are packed with trans-fats.
Now that you’ve understood how the different types of fats and their benefits. However, it may still be difficult for you to understand how much fat to eat.
So, we’ve come up with 7 super tips to help you make fit and fabulous decisions:
- The monthly fat consumption for a family of four should be 2 litres. An ideal distribution of fats, if there are no heart-related ailments, should be 350 grams of ghee, 150 grams of butter and 1.5 litres of oil.
- Buy products which contain less than 17.5 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fats per 100 grams.
- Rotate your cooking oils every month. One month you can prepare food in groundnut oil. The following months, you can opt for sesame (til), rice bran, and mustard oil, respectively. This practice ensures that you get a complete dose and benefits of essential fatty acids.
- The saturated fat content of any oil must not exceed 20 grams per 100 ml.
- Look for the words ‘cold pressed’ or ‘filtered’ on commercially available oils as they have undergone lesser processing than refined oils.
- Don’t buy products that have vanaspati, margarine, or dalda on its ingredient list. These ingredients are the sneaky ways trans-fats enter your diet and create havoc with your health.
- Eat a serving of unsalted nuts daily. The recommended portion size would be 6-8 almonds, 4-5 walnuts halves, 12-15 peanuts, 4-5 cashews, or 8-10 pistachios.