Even on Low-Fat Diet, You Should Still Eat these Foods

Healthy foods for healthy fats.

If you could only eliminate all fat from your diet, you’d finally be healthy, right? Wrong. While it’s true that a high-fat diet causes a long list of illnesses in addition to making you pack on the pounds, the fact is that you need a certain amount of good fat every day. The trick is learning the difference between bad fat and good fat and keeping your total fat within certain guidelines.

Total Fat

The average American consumes about 40 percent of his calories in fat, according to WebMD. However, the federal government recommends you get 20 to 35 percent of your calories from fat. You need fats to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and to access fatty acids that are essential to your health, but when it comes to your health, not all fats are created equal.

Bad Fat

Limit your intake of saturated fat and trans fatty acids because they raise cholesterol levels in your blood and can lead to heart disease. Saturated fat comes from animals, such as meat, whole milk and eggs. It also comes from certain vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oils. Trans fatty acids are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to change them from a liquid to more of a solid, even at room temperature. They are also called partially hydrogenated oils.

Good Fat

Make sure you include moderate amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in your diet. They can lower both your cholesterol and your chance of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fat also lowers your triglyceride levels. Monounsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature but when you put them in the refrigerator they become solid.

healthy fatsExamples of Good-Fat Foods

  • Fatty fish: Salmon, trout and other fatty fish carry omega-3 fatty acids, which are a polyunsaturated fat that not only helps prevent health disease but reduces inflammation. Try to eat fish twice a week.
  • Healthy oils: Olive, canola and peanut oils are monounsaturated fat.
  • Nuts: Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts and similar nuts have monounsaturated fat. They also have vitamin E and fiber.
  • Seeds: They not only have good fat, they also give you protein, fiber and other nutrients. Try pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and other seeds.
  • Avocadoes: Their good fat and fiber make them creamy, filling and healthy.
  • Milk: Make sure it’s skim or 1 percent.
  • Peanut butter: Peanut butter is high in fat, but only about 14 percent of that fat is saturated. The rest is good fat. Peanuts, which are not actually nuts but legumes, also contain protein and fiber.

What about Eggs?

Eggs are high in cholesterol, but scientists now know that the cholesterol we eat is not as bad as the cholesterol our bodies make from bad fats. You can eat eggs as a good source of protein and healthy fats.

Once you understand the difference between good and bad fat, think about the food choices you are making. Remember that you need a moderate amount of good fat to stay healthy.