Eat More Fat

Steak and Eggs - Eat More Fat
If you’re on a mission to lose fat, chances are high that you’re on a typical low-fat diet. If so, you’re doing it wrong. There’s a good chance you actually need to eat more fat, but it’s the type of fat that matters.

Anything fried or processed isn’t on the list of foods that are okay to eat. Fat obviously has more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates (9 calories per gram of fat vs. 4 calories for protein or carbs), so you do need to be aware of how much fat you eat, but non-fat meal planning is rarely a good idea.

The fact is, eating “good” fat can actually help you lose weight, let alone all the other health benefits. Avoiding fat all together isn’t good for your health.

If you’re thinking you’re okay because you eat plenty of burgers ’n bacon, we’ve got some bad news for you. Trans fats found in processed foods, some animal fats, and anything that’s been fried should be avoided at all costs for optimal health and weight loss.

That’s not to say the occasional pizza, burger, or fried chicken is going to kill you or make you obese, but the key is to eat less bad fat and more healthy fats.

Benefits of Healthy Fat Intake

  • Cholesterol control (decreased LDL, increased HDL)
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Better mood balance
  • Improved memory and overall mental health
  • Fewer stored toxins in your cells
  • Decreased risk of cancer
  • Less inflammation
  • Better skin and hair health
  • Leaner and more muscular body

Sources of Healthy Fats

You need look no further than nature for some of the best sources of essential fatty acids and healthy fats in general. Unfortunately, many natural sources, such as store-bought fish, are often contaminated with environmental pollutants. Wild-caught, cold-water fish is fine if you’re sure it’s coming from a safe and tested source, but eating non-contaminated fish every day isn’t for everyone, and there’s only so many nuts, seeds, and avocados any one person can eat on a daily basis. (For supplemental fat intake, especially when combined with diet and exercise, my favorite is SAN’s Lipidex.)

Omega-3, 6, and 9 are the main sources of essential fatty acids, and these are great natural sources for each:

Omega-3 (ALA, EPA, DHA): Oily fish (generally cold-water sourced), flax seeds, walnuts, canola

Omega-6 (LA, AA): Borage seed oil, flax seeds, safflower oil, sunflower, oil, peanuts, eggs, dairy, meat

Omega-9 (Oleic Acid): Avocado, flax seeds, olives, almonds, canola

Omega-3 and 6 are considered essential fatty acids (EFAs) because your body can’t produce them, so they must be sourced from your diet. Omega-9 isn’t considered essential, but it’s still vital to healthy cholesterol levels and good cardiovascular health. Because many food sources, such as chicken, are fairly high in Omega-6 fatty acids, it’s important to keep these balanced—Omega-3 generally being the more desirable of the two.

Additionally, GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) has anti-inflammatory effects and can be found in certain plant sources. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) strengthens the immune system, but it’s also beneficial for fat burning and building muscle. CLA helps prevent fat storage, promotes burning fat for energy during exercise, and is favored by athletes and dieters.

I don’t mind a monotonous and boring diet most of the time, but that also means I get a little lazy and don’t get creative with food sources and preparation. That’s why I tend to rely on supplements for some of my nutritional needs, and that includes healthy fat intake, at least when I’m not overdosing on avocados when they’re in season. My personal favorite is Lipidex by SAN, as it has a good balance of Omega-3, 6, and 9 from borage seed oil, flaxseed oil, and uncontaminated fish oil. Plus, it’s a good source of CLA, so I find it also helps with the waistline a bit.

Eat More Fat, as Long as It’s Good

Bad fats are, well, bad. They put you at risk for heart disease and increase your risk of certain types of cancer, and they also make you simply feel unhealthy and cause weight gain.

Reducing or eliminating fat intake from fried and processed foods will do your body good. While it can be a bit more expensive, when you eat meat, poultry, and eggs, choose grass-fed and pasture-raised sources whenever possible. These are generally a bit leaner while offering a healthier fat profile.

Not all saturated fat is bad, and it’s actually a necessary part of your diet when it comes to hormone production. Plus, grass-fed and pasture-raised almost always means better flavor, so it’s a win-win.


(Feature photo by Eduardo Roda Lopes on Unsplash)