I wish I could write a whole post dedicated entirely to peanut butter, but unfortunately this is about more than just one of my favorite foods. Pizza though, I could write a whole post on that.
Healthy fats, why you eat too many of them and why that is holding you back from losing weight. Hint: this is what was holding me back from my goals…found that out about 9 months ago.
“The good” about healthy fats:
- Keeps skin, nails and hair healthy and vibrant.
- Helps the brain to function properly (well so do carbs though).
- Keeps the immune system working hard to fight viruses and bacteria.
- Improves heart health and lowers risk of cardiovascular disease. If you eat the right kinds!
- They fill you up for longer than carbs. They have 9 calories/gram while carbs have 4 calories/gram)…if you are a client of mine who tracks macros you should know that right?
- They have 9 calories per every gram compared to 4 calories per gram of carbs and 4 calories per gram of protein. This means if you are in a calorie decifit trying to shed some lbs, healthy fats will help keep you more full because they are more dense with calories. This can also be a bad thing though…..
- They taste really good!!!
Here are the healthy fats I am talking about:
- Unsaturated (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats like: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, fatty fish (salmon, mackeral) OR Omega-3 supplements, nut butters, cheese, dark chocolate, nuts (almonds, walnuts etc), whole eggs, chia seeds and flax seed/oil
**Side note: “unhealthy fats” or saturated fats and trans fats are also over consumed by many people….especially in Western society. But, this post is dedicated to those healthy fats listed above and why even though they are good, you can still eat too much of them.
“The Bad” about healthy fats:
- For the same reason their caloric density is a good thing, it can also be bad. Calories add up over twice as fast when you eat fatty foods compared to eating carb loaded foods. You must, must, MUST measure out healthy fats ALL the time if you want to lose weight.
- Extra fat intake is more easily stored as body fat than extra carb intake...in most cases…not all.
- There is a point of diminishing returns for eating too much healthy fat. Yes, healthy fats have great health beneifts and you need them, but just mindlessly eating more and more to see “more and more” health benefits just doesn’t make sense in most cases.
- Over eating on healthy fats (unless doing a ketogenic diet) does not give you more energy to workout, like carbs will. Now overreating on carbs isn’t good either, but that isn’t for this post.
- The best tasting meats (in my opinion) have a lot of fat! Beef and pork. Limit your intake of these meats to 1-3 times per week. Instead focus on chicken breast, lean turkey and lean fish (not salmon unfortunately).
“The Ugly” about healthy fats:
- In most cases people should keep healthy fat intake on the low to moderate side, but his can be very hard to do if you live a very social life.
- If you eat out a lot, you are at a much higher risk of overreating on healthy fats (and unhealthy fats obviously) because most restaurants cook all their food in butter and too much oil (even if it is olive oil). There also seems to be cheese on everything nowadays and a sauce covers every meal. Get no cheese and get the sauce on the side. This can add 100, 200, 500 or more calories to your meal without you even knowing…or maybe you know, but you can’t turn the meal back because its soaked in butter. You eat it and know for next time say “hey can you keep the butter out or to a minimum please?”
- For the above reason it is very hard to control fat intake, where as carbs are much easier to control when eating out. Just take the bun off right? Or, only eat half the potatoes etc
- To control your fat intake at a restaurant takes you maybe getting out of your comfort zone and asking for the oil, or butter, or sauce on the side.
So how much healthy fat do I need to be healthy without eating too much?
Between 30g and 75g is usually a good range for your total fat intake for the day. Of that, the vast majority should be coming from the list of healthy fats listed above. Many people are eating well over 100g of fat a day consistently….just too much….that was me.
That range is for someone happy maintaining their weight, for someone looking to lose some weight, or for someone like me trying to add weight.
**Notice, I am not loading up on extra healthy fats just to jack my calories up on my bulk. Over eating on these healthy fats (though I love them) will only add body fat to my frame quicker than I want. Of the extra 300-400 calories a day I am eating right now they are ALL coming from carbs. These carbs help with my workouts much more than fats will.
So, a high carb diet is better than a high fat diet?
Well, definitely not high carb if your goal is weight loss. Confusing I know. But, I always tell my weight loss clients “I want you eating as many carbs as possible while still losing weight.”
Think of it this way in regards to your three macro nutritients:
- Protein must ALWAYS stay high no matter your goals.
- Healthy fats will in most cases stay moderate to low (30-75g depending on bodyweight).
- Carbs are the piece of the puzzle that is manipulated most for weight loss.
My thoughts on ketogenic or “no carb” diets that have you eating 25g of carbs or less per day?
- These diets definitely work. Search “ketogenic diet” and you will see amazing before and after photos.
- They aren’t realistic or sustainable for most people. Why? Well, 100 calories (not grams) of carbs just is very hard to do while still eating enough green veggies, too many people enjoy carbs too much to go this extreme and when you have a binge day of carbs because its a wedding your body will react negatively to the excess carbs.
- They take too much discipline and too major of lifestyle changes for most people to adhere to long term.
- They can work for some people though, but I am not a fan for most people. There are plenty of people who eat a lot of carbs who are in great shape….they are also very active though and usually have a decent amount of lean muscle though.=
- The problem with these diets is that many people who try them increase their healthy fat as indicated, but can’t consistently keep their carbs as low as needed to see the progress they want. The results? They ended up overeating and gaining weight. Too extreme of a lifestyle is just not needed in most cases.
What to conclude out of all this?
Eat your healthy fats in moderation. Measure out your cooking oil, nuts and peanut butter. Eat pizza, because it is the best food there is.