Fat You Can (and Should) Eat When You’re Losing Weight

Healthy Fat Provides Weight Loss Benefits

Close-Up Of Open Sandwiches Served On Cutting Board
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Some dieters are afraid of fat. But there are benefits to including some fat in your diet when you are trying to slim down. In fact, when you eat fat to lose weight you can actually boost weight loss success. It's important, however, that you choose the right kind of fat and eat the right amount.

Health Benefits of Fat

Fat is a vital nutrient. Fat is one of three macronutrients that your body needs to function properly so fat is not only beneficial, it is essential.

So what does fat do? Dietary fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and for the regulation of bodily functions.  Fat that is stored on your body (often called body fat) provides energy during times of starvation and protects vital organs. Some non-essential fat is needed for a healthy body.

Why You Should Eat Fat to Lose Weight

Many dieters try to avoid fatty foods (like cooking oils, nuts, or avocado) and restrict their fat intake when they are trying to slim down. As a result, they eat more carbohydrates and protein to get their daily allowance of calories. But there are three very important reasons that eating fat is important if you're on a diet.

Fat Helps You to Feel Full
Foods with fat take longer to digest than carbohydrate-rich foods. As a result, you feel fuller longer when you include healthy fats at meal time. You are likely to feel gratified with a smaller meal and you might also be able to curb a snack habit if nutritious fats fill you up and keep your belly happy.

For example, if you eat a reduced-fat cheese and egg white omelette in the morning, your tummy may grumble by the time you've settled into your workday. But if you use a small portion of regular cheese in your breakfast, or if you prepare your omelet with whole eggs instead of egg whites, the fat in your morning meal may have help you to feel full for several hours.

 That feeling of fullness may help you to skip a mid-morning trip to the vending machine where you're likely to consume empty calorie foods like chips or muffins.

Fat Is Satisfying
Eating healthy fat foods like avocado, nuts, or olive oil fat may actually help you manage your weight loss efforts by providing a better sense of satiety than other lower fat foods. Satiety is the feeling of satisfaction you get when you consume a meal. Fat feels better in your mouth and provides a texture that helps us to enjoy eating them more. When you boost enjoyment, you don't feel deprived and you are likely to stick to your eating plan longer.

Not convinced? When you're hungry and you eat a low-fat food or a product that has been manufactured to be fat-free, that gnawing hunger never really goes away. You may even overeat the food (think fat-free chips or reduced fat cookies) because you aren't able to satisfy your craving.

When you eat a food that provides some fat, the sense of satisfaction curbs hunger pangs.  But moderation is truly the key. To keep your diet on track, choose higher-fat foods carefully and then eat the right portion size. A single serving of cheese, for example, is just one ounce or about the size of two dominoes.

A single serving of peanut butter is just two (level) tablespoons. 

Fat Tastes Good
Even when we use healthy meal preparation methods,  we usually like to add a little bit of fat for flavor. Let's face it, everything tastes better with a pat of butter on top or a drizzle of olive oil.

From healthful foods like veggies to guilty pleasures like dinner rolls, we are naturally inclined to prefer the taste of food when we add fat. It's just human nature to want to eat creamy, fatty foods.
So, if adding a little bit of creamy dressing helps you to eat salad instead of a hamburger and fries, then do it, but choose your fat wisely and eat it in moderation (just a tablespoon or two of dressing!) And if your vegetables go untouched unless a little butter is applied, then add a small amount to make your veggies taste better.

You can also make smarter choices to keep fat in your diet. Instead of butter your morning toast with butter, why not smear a slice of avocado? Or skip the lard when you fry your fish and broil it instead with a small amount of olive oil. Instead of adding chocolate chips to your yogurt for texture, add chia seeds instead to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

A Word From Verywell

If you want to keep your diet on track and enjoy the benefits of fat, choose from good fats as often as possible. Try to limit your intake of saturated fat and avoid foods with trans fat because these sources of fat can be bad for your health.

And remember, fat is not your enemy. Fat helps to carry essential nutrients throughout your body and serves as a reserve for energy storage. Try not to think of fat as your diet enemy, but rather a helpful counterpart in the pursuit of your healthier lifestyle.

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