While fat was painted as the dietary enemy back in the '90s, doctors and nutritionists have since recognized this substance for its many health benefits. "The tune has changed on recommendations for fat intake, and these days, low-fat diets are out, and healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are in," writes Fitness of the shift.
The magazine points out that even the American dietary guidelines for 2015 to 2020 have changed; while no more than 10% of daily calories should come from saturated fat, they no longer recommend an overall daily limit for calories from fat in general. Even the meaning of the word fat has changed; it once conjured images of pasta dishes, sugary sodas, or butter, whereas now, avocados, salmon, and almonds are thrown into the mix.
Registered dietitian Lea Basch would add coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, fish oil, krill oil, algae oil, walnuts, flax seeds and oil, avocado oil, olive oil, cashews, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts to that list of nourishing healthy fats. "We need a certain amount of fat in our diets to stay healthy," she writes over on MindBodyGreen. "It provides energy in the form of calories, without stimulating insulin production (like sugar does) and helps the body absorb important fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Fats also make food taste better and help us feel full after meals."
She does specify that some of these healthy fats are better for you than others and that all should be consumed as a part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fats contain a higher amount of healthier fats than unhealthy fats and are found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flax. "Problems can arise if we eat too much fat—even healthy fat—since dietary fats have more than twice the calories per gram as proteins or carbohydrates," she clarifies. "This is especially true if you couple the fat with sugars and processed carbs."
Next up: the three foods dietitians eat every day for a healthy gut.