"All that fat ultimately becomes the modern equivalent of acid-washed jeans," I told my friend as we overheard someone at our nearby supermarket grimace about a food that actually contained perfect amounts of healthy fats.
While I can't make those fat-free fruit-on-the-bottom yoghurt cups disappear from your grocery shelf, I can explain why healthy fat should become your best friend for fat loss and glowing health.
When you incorporate healthy fat into your 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.
But all fats are not created equally: Skip trans fats like vegetable oils. To dial up fat loss and overall health, make these healthy fats among your top choices...
"The saturated fats in coconut are mainly medium chain - they're also known as MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, which are preferentially used for energy rather than stored as fat around your hips," writes nutrition specialist Dr Jonny Bowden. One study found that compared with olive oil, a MCT-rich diet created better fat loss. Coconut is an incredibly versatile food. I use 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.
One 24-week study found that 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, fibre, and hard-to-get nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E, almond butter just tastes amazing. But remember to read those ingredient lists: You want a raw almond butter that contains only almonds, not added sugar and the other nasty ingredients some commercial brands include.
Need a before-dinner nosh? Skip the bread basket and ask your server for a dish of olives, which are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. One study found a diet high in monounsaturated fat and protein 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 meat with 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? One study found that folks who regularly ate avocado had "improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome." Avocado is super-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 comes from heart-healthy oleic acid, the same stuff in olive oil. One 18-week study found that women who watched their diet but indulged in a daily sweet treat lost more weight. Not all varieties make the cut. Look for organic dark chocolate with an 85 percent or higher cacao content, preferably raw, with 5 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, take a fish oil supplement. One meta-analysis of 21 studies found that people who combined fish oil with other healthy choices significantly reduced abdominal fat.