“Good-Fat” Foods to Make Your Fat Belly Flat
Even though the word “fat” typically seems like a negative term when it comes to our bodies, fats are actually necessary for your health.
Fat plays an important role in helping to control your appetite, regulating your body temperature and blood sugar, and transporting vitamins throughout your body.
And for those concerned about losing weight, the good new is that incorporating the right fats into your healthy diet can help make your fat belly flat.
Even still, for some it’s hard to wrap their heads around that fact, in remembering which ones are supposed to be the good guys and which are the bad guys. This creates a challenge when it comes to embracing the “good-for-you” facts of this misunderstood nutrient.
To me, “fat” conjures the feeling of desperation as I lay flat on my bed, painfully squeezing myself into last years jeans. In hindsight, I probably burned a few calories having to work so hard to get them buttoned and zipped… and then wiggling around like a fish out of water trying to get back in an upright position! (That’s rational, right?)
But learning about fat, just like consuming the right kind of fat, is necessary for staying healthy, and important in getting rid of the unwanted excess that is hanging around your waistline.
A Big Fat Misunderstanding
Previously, we were told how horrible saturated and trans-fats are for our health. But a few new revelations have come to light, which has gotten health experts to change their old ways of thinking when it comes to healthy fat.
First up are the Saturated Fats…
Saturated fats used to be the “bad guys”, but scientists have now learned that while saturated fat can raise your LDL levels, it raises the good ones, too. Medium-chain triglycerides, which are a type of saturated fat, can actually be used by your body for a quick energy source. Coconut oil is an excellent example, containing the fatty acid lauric acid, which can also increase your good cholesterol (HDL).
Next are the Trans Fats…
Trans fats were previously considered to be the worst fats of all. However, there is a scientific disclaimer here, as well, in that there are actually 2 forms of trans fat to consider.
The “real” bad guys are the industrial trans fats, because scientists have shown they put you at a higher risk of developing serious diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity, as well.
In contrast, there is a “good guy” in the trans fat family, known as CLA. Conjugated Lineic Acid, is a naturally occurring trans fat, and is found in grass-fed beef, and their by-products.
Tests show that these CLA fats are chemically different from industrial trans fat.
Because the CLA fats naturally found in animal products have been shown to actually decrease the risk of those diseases, eating a lean source of protein such as grass-fed beef is recommended when following a Paleo diet.
And Finally, the Unsaturated Fats…
These are definitely still the “good guys” because they lower LDL cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats consist of 2 types of good fat, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
Good examples of the mono’s include nuts and seeds such as almonds, pecans, pistachios, and cashew, as well as avocados and olive oil.
Walnuts, flaxseed and pumpkin seeds, as well as fish (such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel), are all great sources of the poly’s.
But as with anything, too much of a good fat can be bad, as well. Your daily intake of good fats should be ~65% of your daily calories, or an easier way to remember is ~1 tsp per meal (a “thumb-size serving”).
“Low-fat”, “Reduced fat” or “Fat free”?
Another very important lesson when following a healthy diet is knowing what’s really healthy, and what poses as healthy.
Food producers spend a gazillion dollars, (I think that’s a fair approximation), in marketing products that can totally sabotage your efforts to reach your weight loss goals. So it’s highly important to understand what the label means. (Stay tuned for more on that topic).
While throwing one of those items in your cart may make you feel like you’re getting a ‘healthier version’, you are likely being deceived.
Most often, food producers have done a sneaky switcheroo, and added carb-laden ingredients in place of the fat.
So as it turns out, their “diet-friendly option” ultimately causes a blood sugar and insulin boost.
Bottom line, consumers are unaware that while they’re snatching these products off of store shelves with the best of healthy intentions, but most of those foods do nothing but leave them feeling hungry instead of healthy.
Another element of this master diet food disguise is that they are designed to make you crave them.
Inevitably, you’ll soon be fighting the urge to scarf something down when those hunger pangs hit. The cycle progresses as you continue to overeat the foods that you believe are “better for you”, leaving you wondering why your waistline is actually expanding.
Tips for Making Your Fat Belly Flat…
The best plan to help lower your cholesterol and get rid of that belly fat, is to steer clear of the industrial fats, for sure. Just stick to the good fats, and stay within moderation (~1 tsp/meal).
Before filling your grocery cart, just remember to keep it simple.
Get the fresh, one-ingredient foods, they are always best.
If it is packaged and has a nutrition label, read it closely.
You can check the “total fat content”, which is where mono’s and poly’s are usually listed. Don’t forget to check for carbs, and protein, as well.
Proteins, fats and carbs are the 3 nutrients to pay close attention to for optimal health.
Swap out margarine and shortening for olive oil, or maybe almond butter. Nut butters aren’t just regular ol’ pb&j stuff anymore. There are a variety of healthy options and many creative ways to use them these days.
Toss your salad with a healthy vinaigrette (oil and vinegar), and sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top.
Not a guacamole fan? (Honestly, I’m not either.) But I learned that avocado is an awesome substitute for dairy in a fruit & veggie smoothie, and goes great in soups/sauces, too.
Adding a little of this creamy green fruit to scrambled eggs is also a fun surprise, whether you’re a kid, or a kid at heart. (Seriously, who doesn’t wanna try green eggs and ham?)
No matter how you use it, avocado is a healthy way to get that thick creamy texture you’re looking for.
Salmon…baked is great, but throw some on the grill with some zesty seasonings and a squirt of lemon, and you’ve got yourself a new twist on fish. Or add your favorite veggies and try a grilled fish kabob!
Fat Facts Cheat Sheet
- Saturated Fats can be your friends, now. They can raise your good LDL cholesterol.
- Industrial Trans Fats are your enemy, the processed posers that lower your good cholesterol (HDL) and raise your bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Trans fats with CLA’s, which will come from animal sources (such as red meat), those are also your friends.
- Mono and Poly are always your true friends, who work hard to keep you healthy.
Also, check out this video for more info on
5 (make that 4) Foods that Burn Belly Fat!
(p.s. the 5th food on the list, oatmeal… that’s not Paleo approved, so just stick with the first 4)
Fat Loss Nutrition