I grew up in an era where fat was bad, fat made you fat, and low-fat everything was all the rage. Now we’re hearing that fat is good, butter is back, and we should eat fat to lose weight. Confused? I don’t blame you. Here’s a quick refresher on good vs bad fats.
There are good, essential, fatty acids found in avocado, coconut, grass-fed meats, pastured butter, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. These fats are essential, and we can’t produce them ourselves, so we need them in our diet. Not only do healthy fats promote weight loss and keep you satiated between meals, but they are also good for brain health, helping the intestines absorb fat soluble vitamins and regulating hormones.
Then there are the bad, toxic fats that you want to stay away from such as hydrogenated trans-fats, excess consumption of omega 6 fats and oxidized fats. Omega 6 fats are typically from corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils (abundant in processed foods), and the meat of animals that eat a diet rich in corn and soy. Oxidized fats are polyunsaturated fats that have been damaged by exposure to high heat. These are often found in deep-fried foods and packaged baked products.
The vilification of fat has been a really hard habit for me to kick, but I’ve finally done it! I am a big proponent of ensuring you are getting adequate healthy fats since they are essential to proper functioning of your body. For example, I recommend coconut sprinkled on your smoothie, avocado on your salad and nuts and seeds for snacking. But this can lead to the question: Can you over-consume healthy fats?
Absolutely! It’s possible to eat too much of any one food. Even the healthy ones. It wouldn’t be healthy to eat carrots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, all year long! Variety is not only the spice of life but also the key to a healthy diet.
I’ve created this meal plan to help guide you on a healthy quantity of fat to include in your diet. This includes a variety of sources including oils, nuts/seeds, and avocados.
Back to the question on almonds
How do I know if I’m eating too much? My answer is that your body will tell you. Many resources only focus on the calories contained in the almonds, but that is only part of the picture. Each of us is unique and has different needs, and we will only know what’s working for us if we listen to the boss.
… if you are avoiding the refined sugars and starches that lead to food cravings, and listening to the messages from your body, you will be very unlikely to over-consume healthy fats.
Are you getting digestive upset? Are you gaining weight? Are you so full from your almond snack that you are not hungry for your next meal? These are all signs that your snack of almonds may be too big for you. The key here is, if you are avoiding the refined sugars and starches that lead to food cravings, and listening to the messages from your body, you will be very unlikely to over-consume healthy fats.