Society often gives fat a bad name. Let’s be honest, even when we hear the word “fat,” we often think of the overweight guy at McDonald’s and immediately want to hit the treadmill. Unfortunately, what most people fail to understand is that our bodies actually need fat, and a lack of consuming it may be the primary reason why you are failing to lose body fat. Confused yet? Well, let us help lay it all out for you.
The consumption of fats is crucial for natural growth and physical development. Fats provide us with the necessary energy we need to complete daily tasks while also protecting our organs and process nutrients. If that doesn’t convince you to include fats into your meals, then maybe this will. Keri Glassman, RD, a nutritionist, and owner of Nutritious Life meal system, recommends that fats should take up about 30% of an individual’s daily caloric intake if they are looking to lose weight.
Bear in mind, however, that not all fats are the same. Fats are often associated with foods such as french fries, desserts, pizza, potato chips, and the like. These foods are extremely detrimental to an individual’s health and can not only affect weight gain but can also be the cause of heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
We do NOT want to eat these fats. These fats are bad. Very, very bad.
Instead, we want to go after the good fats (unsaturated fats.) The kind of fats that have nutritional value and provide us the benefits that we had mentioned earlier. If you don’t already know, some of these healthy fats can be found in foods like avocados, vegetables, fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Rather than cause a build-up of LDL cholesterol in our bloodstream, these fats promote a healthy cardiovascular system by doing the exact reverse: breaking down cholesterol.
What can we take away from this? Well, a better-functioning cardiovascular system means a better system for activities like running, swimming, cycling, or any other cardio-based workout. All of which help to cut calories and burn fat.
Our bodies need three primary macronutrients to create energy: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Interestingly enough, one gram of fat contains more than twice the energy of a gram of either protein or carbohydrates. So, in order to keep your body sufficiently fueled and your metabolism boosted, you should aim to make unsaturated fats a primary source of your daily caloric intake.
Fats Can Stop You From Feeling Hungry
To add onto that, unsaturated fats can also help to keep you full! Fats are not easy to digest, so they stick around in the digestive system for more time than some other nutrients. Some stay that unsaturated fats can also help to balance blood sugar levels, which can also prevent you from feeling hungry throughout the day and night.
The University of Navarra even conducted a study back in 2008 that confirmed that diets high in omega-3 fatty acids can modulate satiety in both overweight and obese individuals. Volunteers of this study stated that they felt a sense of fullness both immediately after eating and two hours after their meals. This study proves that those who consume reasonable levels of healthy fats are more likely to stick with their diet plans than those who do not consume fat as often. The beauty of it? Less hunger = less food, and less food = weight loss.
Muscle-Building & Additional Benefits
For those who are looking to build muscle and size instead, we have good news for you as well! Healthy fats mixed with an efficient workout program can slap on some of those gains you may be looking for. A 2011 study published in Clinical Science showed that adults who consumed more fats had an increase in protein concentration and muscular cell size. Other studies have also found that omega-3 fats can also prompt muscle protein synthesis.
Unsaturated fats can also provide essential help in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble, which means that the body cannot absorb them without fat. Deficiencies of these specific vitamins can lead to weak bones, muscle cramps, blood clots, dry skin, and even blindness.
It truly doesn’t matter what your physical goals are; you should ALWAYS be looking to add some source of healthy fats into your diet! Whether your goal is to burn fat, pack on some muscle, or just to become healthier overall, unsaturated fats can certainly help you reach your goals.
Have you seen any changes in your figure when you add healthy fats into your diet? How do you go about adding unsaturated fats into your daily meals? Share with us in the comment section below!