1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Fat is Not Always the Enemy!

By

Updated February 15, 2014

 

If you were around for the low-fat diet craze of the 90's, you may have found yourself convinced that fat is the dieter's worst enemy. But that's not necessarily true.

Ready for some fat facts that just might surprise you?

Fat is actually considered a vital nutrient. It is an important part of your diet: It can not only be beneficial ... it's essential!

Fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and regulation of bodily functions. Not to mention ...

 

Fat is a Feel-Full Food

Eating enough fat may actually help you manage your weight loss efforts by providing a better sense of satiety than other lower fat foods. This is because it helps you feel fuller longer than other lighter fare.

For example, if you eat a reduced-fat cheese and egg white omelette in the a.m., your tummy may grumble by the time you've settled into your cubicle; but if you use a small portion of regular cheese, that morning meal may have longer staying power and keep you hunger-free until noon.

The reason is fat actually takes longer to digest than some other types of foods. Since it sticks around in your stomach a while, you'll feel fuller longer and will be less inclined to eat until you feel a sense of hunger again.

It's Satisfying

A sure-fire way to set yourself up for diet failure is to deprive yourself of the foods you love on a daily basis. For most of us, few of those fave foods happen to be low-fat.

The key is to choose higher-fat foods carefully and keep an eye on portion sizes. Remember, any diet should allow enough wiggle room for a "fattening" treat now and again.

Foods with a higher fat content truly are more satisfying that their low-fat counterparts. When you're physically hungry, and you eat only low-fat foods, that gnawing hunger never really goes away.

When you eat just enough fat, the sense of satisfaction will obliterate that ever-present hunger pang. As with all-things weight loss, moderation is truly the key.

 

It's "Mmmm... Good"!

As a former low-fat/high-carb diet I can tell you one thing with great certainty: Fat just plain tastes good!

Even when we use healthier meal preparation tactics, we all like to add a little fat for flavor. Just think of how much better just about anything tastes with a pat of butter on top.

From healthful foods like veggies to guilty pleasures like dinner rolls, we are naturally inclined to prefer the taste of them when we add fat to them. Which would you rather eat -- a salad with no dressing or a nice, creamy dollop of ranch on top? (I'd eat paper if it had enough blue cheese dressing on it!).

It's just human nature to want to eat what tastes good and to make what tastes good even better.

So ... if adding a little dressing makes you more likely to eat that salad instead of a hamburger and fries ... just do it! If your veggies go uneaten unless a little butter is applied ... pat in moderation.

By switching between other forms of low- or non-fat flavoring methods and traditional toppings in small portions, you can continue to use them in moderation. If a little fat can go a long way in making a healthier diet more palatable to you, it's okay to give in every so often.

Again, moderation is almost always the key to successful weight management.

 

 

Be Choosy

Lastly, try to choose from good fats as often as possible -- quality can be as important as quantity.

Eating the right amount of "good fats" can actually counteract the effects of eating too many "bad fats". In short, eating the right fat may actually help you undo some of the damage eating too many of the wrong fats can do.

 

Fat is Not the Foe

Fat helps to carry essential nutrients throughout your body and serves as a reserve for energy storage. In fact, eating too little fat can actually cause a number of health problems. So, try not to think of fat as your mortal diet enemy, but rather a helpful counterpart in the pursuit of your healthier lifestyle!

 

Related Video
Low Fat Black Bean Soup

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.