"All that fat ultimately becomes the modern equivalent of acid-washed jeans," I told my friend as we overheard someone at our nearby Whole Foods grimace about a food that actually contained perfect amounts of healthy fats.
Seriously, can we declare 2016 the year low-fat diets officially die?
While I can't make those fat-free fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt cups disappear from your grocery shelf, I can explain why healthy fat becomes your best friend for fat loss and glowing health.
When you incorporate healthy fat into a low-sugar impact diet, lots of fab things happen. You crush cravings. You boost your energy and metabolism. You steady blood sugar and insulin surges. You feel full and get by for longer periods of time without eating again.
All fats are not created equally: Skip damaged and trans fats like vegetable oils and buffet scrambled eggs. To dial up fat loss and overall health, make these 7 healthy fats among your top choices.
"The saturated fats in coconut are mainly medium chain—they're also known as MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), [which] are preferentially used for energy rather than stored as fat around your hips," writes Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. in
One study found compared with olive oil, a MCT-rich diet created better fat loss. Coconut becomes an incredibly versatile food. I toss unsweetened coconut milk in protein shakes, coconut oil for medium-heat cooking, and roll turkey, raw spinach, and avocado in coconut wraps for an easy lunch.
Need a before-dinner nosh? Skip the breadbasket and ask your server for a dish of olives, which are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. One study found a high-monounsaturated fat, high-protein diet helped people with Type 2 diabetes lose weight and improved cardiovascular disease risk. Extra-virgin olive oil also gets a gold star.
Compared with grain-fed beef, studies show grass-fed cows yield a superior nutrient and fatty acid profile, making grass-fed beef the meat of choice. That includes conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a unique fatty acid that studies show can help burn belly fat. For those and other reasons, spending a few more bucks on grass-fed beef becomes totally worth it, especially when you consider all the gross things beef cattle eat.
Do you really need another excuse to eat this rock star fruit? OK: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008 found folks who regularly ate avocado had "improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome." Avocado proves very versatile: Slice it into salads, mash it into guacamole, or scoop it straight out of its skin, even the overripe ones.
Thought you'd love this one! Part of chocolate's health benefits and fat comes from heart-healthy oleic acid, the same stuff in olive oil. One 18-week study found women who watched their diet but indulged in a daily sweet treat lost more weight. Not all varieties make the cut. Look for an 85 percent or higher cacao, preferably raw, organic dark chocolate with five grams or less of sugar per serving.
This fabulous fish comes loaded with the antioxidant astaxanthin, protein, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. If you aren't eating wild fish regularly, supplement. One meta-analysis of 21 studies found people who combined fish oil with other healthy choices significantly reduced abdominal fat.
One 24-week study found people who add almonds to a healthy diet have "a sustained and greater weight reduction" compared with those who ate carbohydrate-rich foods. Besides heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, and hard-to-get nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E, almond butter just tastes freaking amazing. Read those ingredients: You want a raw almond butter that only contains almonds, not added sugar and other nasties some commercial brands include.
What's your fave healthy fat? Did I forget one? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.