No Need to Go Fat Free But Choose Fats Wisely
For several decades, consumers have been told to follow low fat diets in order to achieve weight loss, better health, and specifically to reduce the risk of heart disease. Food manufacturers were motivated to produce numerous products with low fat or fat free attributes which often meant that the foods were then higher in refined carbohydrates (to maintain good taste) and calories. Basically sugar was substituted for fat. Current obesity statistics suggest that low fat or fat free diet trends did not nudge rates of obesity downward.
Recently, a number of studies have suggested that it’s the type of fat you choose and portion sizes that are far more critical when it comes to satiation and health. We’ve previously explored the various types of fats available, highlighting monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and specifically omega-3 fatty acids as being “the kinds of healthy fats most consumers should consume on a daily basis.” A diet that includes healthy fats will help you to feel full for longer periods of time, and may help to lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Consuming healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids is also associated with a lower risk of general inflammation in the body. Higher levels of general inflammation are also associated with an elevated risk of developing many chronic diseases, including cancers.
Fat does taste good and it allows foods to feel a certain way in your mouth as you eat them. Food pleasure comes from food taste, texture, flavor, and how the food feels in your mouth when you begin to chew it. Food pleasure is also somewhat guided by how full or satisfied you feel after you eat a certain dish. If the new trend is to suggest that you eat more (healthy) fat, which tends to be higher in calories, and to eat fewer processed grain products, how do you achieve a healthy, balanced diet?
Be very selective and choosey when making choices from the six food groups (fruits, vegetables, dairy, fats, proteins, grains). Aim for five servings of vegetables (starchy peas, corn and potatoes are considered grains), four to five servings of fresh or frozen fruits, a serving of lean protein at every meal (emphasize plan-based proteins and fish), a couple of servings of calcium-rich foods (fortified traditional fat free milk or fortified nut or soy milks, Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese), small portions of healthy fats (oils, nuts and seeds, avocadoes), portion- controlled amounts of 100% whole grain foods daily.
A great idea is to meet even one time with an experienced dietician or nutritionist. These health professionals can help you to create a personalized healthy menu guide, so you achieve your goals of weight loss, better health or both.