If you don’t know by now, there is such a thing as good and bad fats. Good fats (unsaturated) include items such as fish, nuts, olive oil, etc. Bad ones (saturated) can be found any many foods, especially fried ones (yes, even that deep fried Twinkie).
Saturated fats are BAD for you and are derived from animal products, like meat and dairy. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to stop eating meat and dairy, but instead, to opt for lean cuts of meat and perhaps go with fat-free dairy. Saturated fats are generally associated with high cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol, LDL) and all the wonderfulness that comes with that little problem (such as heart disease for starters).
Unsaturated fats are GOOD for you, and as you guessed it, fights off bad cholesterol like Spider Man.
Unsaturated fats lower the bad cholesterol (HDL) and raises the good cholesterol. I’ll spare you the long drawn out explanation, but unsaturated fats are broken down into monounsaturated (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil and avocados) and polyunsaturated (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, etc).
Other “fats” you may have heard of? One type is “trans fats” which are the UGLY and are made from hydrogenation. These type of fats also have bad consequences on cholesterol. In general, if you see “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredients list, stay the hell away from it. Another type when throwing around the word “fat” is “fatty acids”, such as Omega 3. They’re GOOD for you because not only do they lower bad cholesterol, but they also help boost your immune system which can help aid in recovery from all those hard workouts. You can find them in flax, chia, cold water fish, walnuts and more.
So, in general, when looking at your food labels and ingredients, remember:
Good (with bonus points)
omega-3 fatty acid
Many people believe that in order to lose fat, you need to limit fat. Although there is *some* truth to this, low-fat diets can be just as bad. Many low-fat diets have you replacing the fat with carbohydrates. We all know now that you *need* carbs, but too much of them is a bad thing. You NEED fats in your diet.
Even though adding a little fat to your meal can help you to feel satisfied longer, you must be careful. There are more calories per gram in fat than there are in carbs or protein. If you are chomping down on fatty foods, your calorie count can rise exponentially. On the other hand, if you are starving yourself throughout the day, then it tends to be a lot easier to overeat at night. Remember, the solution is to snack (see Tip 2).
You can get some “good” fats by adding almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts or olive oil (opt for the extra-virgin kind) to your salad (instead of ranch or blue cheese). A peanut butter and sugar-free jelly sandwich on whole-wheat bread is a great snack with good fats, but make sure you stick to the all natural peanut butter. This is the peanut butter you typically have to stir. On the jar, you should see two ingredients: peanuts and salt. Another GREAT option is to go with tuna or salmon.
If you want to permanently change the way you look and FEEL, then you have to permanently change the way you live. There are no shortcuts.
See you tomorrow for tip number 5!
About: 10 Fitness Tips in 10 Days is designed for me to share my experiences with you to help you lose weight (if necessary), get into shape and improve your fitness (always necessary). I am, by no means, an expert, nutritionist, or doctor. Instead, I am simply another normal person, such as yourself, that didn’t want to figure it out with trial/error on my own. Instead, I gathered great information from successful athletes, coaches and other professionals. Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program or making any changes to your diet.