Healthy Fats Help You Lose Weight. Here’s How:
Love them or hate them, your body needs them. Which sounds pretty counterintuitive, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The last thing you probably want to imagine is eating more fat; but that’s exactly what your body needs.
The good kind of fats, of course: healthy fats. These include fats like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil.
Healthy fats are so good for you, the Institute of Medicine recommends getting 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from these kinds of fats. Healthy fats help you feel fuller for longer, which prevents overeating and over-snacking throughout the day. By filling up on nutrient-dense foods, you cut out unnecessary calories and help you lose weight.
“Fat is digested more slowly than other nutrients and makes your food more filling and satisfying, which makes it easier to stick to your weight loss diet, “ says Christy Brissette, a registered dietician and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago. “Research suggests that people have trouble staying on low-fat diets for long because they get too hungry. This explains why the Mediterranean diet is so satisfying - it includes healthy fats.”
Beginning your day with healthy fats is a great way to stay full and focused all day long. Aim to eat whole seeds, like flax, pumpkin, sunflower, chia and hemp, since the fiber in these also helps you feel full and lose weight. Likewise, eggs are filling because they’re rich in healthy fats and high-quality protein.
“Including healthy fats in every meal and snack is a great way to reach your weight-loss goals,” says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, a registered dietician and owner of BZ Nutrition in NYC.
However, make sure you don’t overdo it on the healthy fats, either. Although these foods are great for you, they are high in calories, so it’s easy to overeat if you’re not careful. Brigette has a little trick to keep portion sizes in check: “I always tell my clients to keep a pre-portioned size of nuts on them for afternoon snacking - my go-to is a 100-calorie pistachio snack pack. This portion size is perfect to keep weight-loss goals in check, while the nuts’ healthy fats (and protein and fiber) will fill you up.”
As mentioned earlier, eat healthy fats throughout the day to stay full and happy. Eat a handful of nuts as your afternoon snack. Use olive oil on your salad and as a cooking oil. Add seeds to your oatmeal, salads and soups. Eat a spoonful of delicious pecan butters when you get the urge. After a while, you’ll form healthy eating habits that you’ll love, especially when you reach your goal weight.