Many people harbor a very dangerous misconception that avoiding fats is a rational solution towards achieving your goal of weight loss. Adding to that, even conventionally trained physical experts will advise their clients to avoid fat in order to quicken the process of weight loss. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Avoiding healthy fats does not equal weight loss, and can be very dangerous to your overall health. Low content of healthy fats in your body will make it susceptible to diseases, both benign and chronic.
Healthy fats are essential for you and render the following benefits to the human body:
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Prevent abnormal heart rhythms
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower triglycerides associated with heart disease and help fight inflammation
- Prevents hardening of the arteries
With so much to offer, it is baffling to learn that many still misunderstand the role of fats, or even wrongly associate healthy fats with unhealthy fats like Trans Fat. People obsessed with being in great shape, or losing weight quickly are more inclined to venture into the Low-fat, Low-Calorie route. What they do not understand is in their pursuit of external beauty; they completely ignore the disaster that is being wreaked on their overall health.
The low-calorie, low-fat diet has been popular for a very long time. But, where did this myth begin?
The Pritikin Diet
The Pritikin Diet, a diet consisting of low-fat and high-fiber, conceptualized by the late Nathan Pritikin originated in the 1970s and quickly hit the peak of popularity among weight loss enthusiasts. At the height of its craze, a study was conducted to analyze the effects of this on the overall health of the human body.
The study found that out of all the women that were studied, none found any significant health benefits pertaining to cancer or heart diseases. In an ironic twist, over 50000 women reported no significant weight loss.
Nathan Pritikin himself, who did manage to drop his cholesterol levels, died of cancer at the age of 70.
Healthy fats are essential in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from the food we eat. A low fat-low calorie diet can result in the deficiencies of some of these fat-soluble vitamins. We are talking about vitamins like vitamins C, K, E, and A.
Lack of these vitamins will eventually result in other issues like:
- Poor immunity
- Skin problems
- Excessive bleeding
- Heart disease etc.
How and What Fats to Consume
The same study that analyzed the effects of the Pritikin Diet also found that it didn’t really matter how much fats we consumed; what mattered is what kind of fats we put in our body.
Fats can be divided into two categories – Healthy Fats, aka Good fats, and Unhealthy fats, aka bad fats.
You should avoid bad fats like trans-fat and saturated fat from your diet.
Some Sources of Trans Fat include:
- Cookies, doughnuts
- Packaged snack foods
- Stick margarine
- Fried foods
- Anything containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil
Sources of Saturated Fat include:
- Red Meat
- Chicken Skin
- Ice Cream
Contrary to the above foods, you should do your best to incorporate the following healthy-fat rich foods in your diet. Adding more of these fats will make you feel more satisfied after your meal, reduce your hunger, and thus help you lose weight.
- Olive, Canola, Sesame, Coconut
- Nuts like almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, etc.
- Peanut Butter
- Sunflower, Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Fatty Fish