Is there such a thing as healthy fat? But how can fat be healthy? Doesn’t fat…make you fat? For these reasons and many others, fat has been avoided and considered a major contributor to many diseases, including heart disease. However, researchers have found that healthy fat can indeed offer benefits if you incorporate it into your diet.
So, what makes fat healthy? Why is it important to include fat in your diet and which foods incorporate the best balance of healthy fat? That’s what we’re here to let you know today!
What are healthy fats?
When it comes to fat, not all sources of fat have been created equally. One thing’s for sure – the fat we eat has nothing to do with the fat on our bodies. No single food, whether fats, carbs, or protein, can make you fat. Eating in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than your body is exerting) will make you gain weight.
While we are big believers that there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food, there are certain types of fat that are more beneficial than others and might support your healthy lifestyle more. This is mainly known are unsaturated fat.
Unsaturated fats come from plant-based foods. However, they can also be found in dairy products, seafood, and meat such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, legumes, nuts, and other sources. These types of fats will provide long-lasting energy to your body and are known to fuel your body with good stuff such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as support the production of certain hormones. Unsaturated fats have also been proven to provide additional health benefits including brain health, heart health, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Saturated fats come from dairy and animal-based products. However, it can also be found in palm oil and coconut. Some studies claim that high intakes of saturated fats might raise blood cholesterol levels while other studies are impartial towards these kinds of dietary fats.
Trans fats are the types of fats that you need to be more cautious on when consuming. A majority of these fats will come in our diet through man-made food processing techniques. Eating high levels of trans fats can increase blood levels of the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol and will reduce the levels of the ‘good’ kind while also increasing your risk of heart disease.
A Healthy Fat intake in your Diet
So, how much fat should you be incorporating into your diet per day? That is a commonly asked question, and we are here to answer it. Dietary fat is essential for good health. However, since it normally incorporates foods that are more calorie-dense, it might be easy to overdo it. Just like with all macros, balance is essential when it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle.
While there isn’t a set range for the total amount of fat that you should include in your diet, studies suggest that most people should keep their fat intake to around 20% to 30% of their total calories. Some people prefer to eat more carbs while others prefer to eat more healthy fats. This will depend on your fitness needs as well as your lean body mass.
When it comes to the fats that you are consuming, always make sure that you are prioritising unsaturated fats to trans fats.
Examples of High Fat Foods that are Equally Tasty and Nutritious
The best types of fat to include in your diet are omega-3s, monounsaturated fats, and unsaturated fats from plant sources. Here are the top foods that include a healthy fat balance that are delicious and nutritious.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, anchovies, and sardines
- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and others
- Dairy products such as cheese, full-fat yoghurt, and whole eggs
- Dark chocolate
- Chia seeds and hemp seeds
- Seaweed and algae
- Olives and olive oil
- Nut butter such as peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter
Although high-fat foods were once a big no-no to include in your diet, research shows that a good balance of healthy fats is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Naturally, if you are on a calorie deficit and trying to lose weight, you will need to monitor your fat intake.
Our Fortify meal plans and meals all come macro-counted and ready for you to consume, making it easy for you to know that you are eating healthy and always on track. Find out more here and contact us for more information.