Healthy Fats: Are You Getting Enough?

Somewhere a few decades ago we lost sight of healthy fats. Fat became the enemy: the reason for heart disease and high cholesterol. Low-fat diets became all the rage. We were told that in order to lose weight and lead healthy lives, the key was to increase healthy whole grains and decrease the fat in our diets.

Strangely enough, the decrease of fat in the Standard American Diet didn’t lead to better health. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and love handles are more prevalent now than ever.

Your body needs fat to thrive. Dietary fat provides your meal’s satisfaction factor: it helps you feel satisfied. Fat slows down digestion, making you feel fuller longer and even helps with the absorption of nutrients. Fat is your body’s preferred source of fuel.

When you eat a low-fat diet, the calories that should come from fat are usually replaced with carbohydrates, essentially increasing the amount of sugar you eat. Increasing sugar affects your insulin response and your ability to burn fat. You can’t burn fat when there’s insulin present in your blood. Therefore, you can’t burn fat when you eat excess sugar– you can’t lose that belly fat when filling that caloric void with processed carbs.  So get those healthy fats back in there!

Now you know why eating healthy fat is so important, now, how do you do it?
Here are 4 simple tips to increase your healthy fats and start burning those love handles!

Don’t be shy, add some butter to those veggies. Pastured butter is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA has been shown by some studies to reduce the risk of cancer. Some slap some butter on that broccoli! You’ll absorb nutrients better and butter tastes pretty darn good.
Snack on unsweetened coconut. My favorite part of Paleo snack mix is the coconut flakes. Coconut is made up mainly of saturated fat. Although coconut is naturally sweet, it has been associated with improved blood sugar and insulin regulation, making it a good tool for managing and preventing diabetes. Sprinkle coconut flakes on your fruit, eat them straight out of the bag.

Add avocado to your salad. These green beauties are full of monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which have been shown to lower “bad” cholesterol, may increase “good” cholesterol and improve heart health. So make your salads more interesting by adding some sliced avocado, or just sprinkle half and avocado with some sea salt and enjoy!

Release your fear of fat. After years of living low-fat, eating healthy fats can be a liberating experience.  Eating fat, however, can be hard if you’re used to thinking about fat as a “bad” food. Consider experimenting with healthy fats: increase your healthy fats for 3 days and see how you feel. You’ll probably feel lighter, have more energy and your meals will be more satisfying.

For more information on Fats, check out these sciency articles:

Mark’s Daily Apple | Definitive Guide to Fats |
Fitness Black Book | Four Types of Fat |
Chris Kesser | Eat Real Food |
Whole9Life | The Butter Manifesto |
Liz Wolfe | Super Saturated Fats |
What’s your favorite way to include healthy fats in your diet? Post your method in the comments below!

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  1. Proven Health News » Blog Archive » Healthy Fats: Are You Getting Enough? | Allison Nichols | Frisky … - February 22, 2012

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. Can you indulge your way to better health? | Smart Living Blog - February 28, 2012

    […] But nutrition counselor Allison Nichols points out that we actually need fat in our diet. “Dietary fat provides your meal’s satisfaction factor,” she explains. “It helps you feel satisfied. Fat slows down digestion, making you feel fuller longer and even helps with the absorption of nutrients. Fat is your body’s preferred source of fuel.” Allison has 4 suggestions for eating more of the healthy fats we need each day — starting with good old butter. (You gotta love a blog post that says, “Eat more butter”!) (Frisky Lemon) […]

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