Healthy Fats and Weight Loss

By Boyce Henry

Are there really healthy foods that contain fat and can you achieve weight loss while eating them? Well, yes and maybe. Oh! And do any of them taste as good as the bad fat. Yes, they do! And this is coming from a die-hard southern food addict.

First, let’s group them. There are basically two good groups and two bad groups. The two bad groups are saturated fats and trans fats. The two good groups are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Within each of these four groups, there is a large selection of foods and ingredients. Can you take some guesses as to what might fall into each category? Not much of a stretch here, really.

Momma’s biscuits were the best tasting because she made them with good old lard. And one of them had more fat and calories than most folks can burn off in a day. Lard has saturated fat. So does ice cream, butter and red meat. Potato chips and fried chicken are loaded with trans fats. On the good side, olive oil, canola oil, most nuts and peanut butter contain monounsaturated fats while corn oil, trout, walnuts and tuna are examples of polyunsaturated fats.

Now, I will be the first to argue that there is a right way and a wrong way to make homemade biscuits, which is why I can’t have any if I intend to lose any weight. Shame! However, cooking with olive oil, eating more nuts, eating more fish (not fried) and eating less red meat I can handle. And, if you take a look at all the good choices you have and start making incremental changes, the transition is barely noticeable and in many cases preferable. I now would much rather cook with olive oil than any other oil because, to me, everything tastes better.

But, how does healthy fats and weight loss actually work. Truthfully, only as well as you manage the calories that they contain. Remember, it’s all about the calories consumed versus the calories expended. Foods containing any of these “good” fats usually contain more calories than fruits and vegetables. Therefore, don’t expect to sit back with a sack full of cashews as a dietary supplement.

The good news is that switching out most of the things in the bad groups for things in the good groups is not very radical if you cook quite a bit at home. Good recipes are endless. The problem comes when you either don’t cook or you are on the road much of the time and your dining choices are limited. Unless you are in a large metropolitan area, healthy eating establishments are far and few between. However, even most chains now offer something that should fit within your dietary parameters.

Eliminating fat from your diet is not really part of a healthy weight loss plan, in my opinion. Healthy fats and weight loss actually go together. Cutting out the bad fats and replacing them with good fats should be the goal. If you cook, start looking at what I call “clean” recipes that use good oils and ingredients and have a calorie count included. Above all else, remember that change takes time. So, don’t get frustrated. Be happy!

Boyce Henry has been researching and managing weight loss for many years and has a straightforward, commonsense approach to achieving healthy weight loss and enjoying the process.

Healthy Fats and Weight Loss