Many people automatically assume that fat is bad for them, but the truth is a body needs some fat from food. Fat gives a body energy, and it also helps it absorb vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, it builds cell membranes and is essential for muscle movement, blood clotting, and inflammation. It’s true that consuming some fats are better than others, but a diet that’s high in fat and low in carbs can do wonders for a person who is trying to get healthy. See what we mean by checking out the Body Reboot book and find out how people are improving their health by losing weight and eating fat. We know that trans fats aren’t the best and that polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good. Saturated fats tend to be somewhere in-between. Even though all fat goes on the keto diet (a high fat, low carb diet), monounsaturated fats are the most ideal for eating. Curious about some of the benefits monounsaturated fats have to offer including weight loss and less inflammation? All of the benefits it provides are shocking!
According to Livestrong, and we just briefly covered this in our intro, monounsaturated fats burn belly fat and keeps you full. That’s one of the biggest reasons people are so successful on the keto diet. Plus — eating fat results in less inflammation and gives you more energy (which we also just mentioned). In other words — eating fat is good and not evil!
Burn Belly Fat
Belly fat can be banished when you fill your diet with monounsaturated fats. The March 2007 issue of the “Journal For Diabetes Care” explained that eating a source of monounsaturated fatty acids with each meal of your day will help your body burn fat from the stomach area. Monounsaturated fats help to increase your basal metabolic rate allowing your body to burn fat quicker.
The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” published a study in April 2009 that found eating monounsaturated fats increase satiety unlike saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats will help keep you full and satisfied longer. This will help prevent over-eating, which will help you restrict your calories for weight loss. Add olive oils to your pasta or avocados to your sandwich to help you include extra monounsaturated fats to your meals.
Dr. Axe says it best by explaining just how critical monounsaturated fats are and how they complement a high fat, low carb diet:
Over the years, research has slowly proved the fallacy of the “all fat is bad” argument. In fact, we now understand that fats are necessary parts of a healthy lifestyle and body. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “essential,” meaning that your body doesn’t produce them on its own and must get them via dietary intake.
Would you be surprised to know that monounsaturated fats can help prevent depression, protect you from heart disease and even prevent certain kinds of cancer? As many people are discovering on the keto diet, these fats are an important element in many of the body’s processes and are also associated with lower body fat content. It’s true.
Harvard Health discusses what sources of food contain monounsaturated fats below:
When you dip your bread in olive oil at an Italian restaurant, you're getting mostly monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond. The result is that it has two fewer hydrogen atoms than a saturated fat and a bend at the double bond. This structure keeps monounsaturated fats liquid at room temperature. Good sources of monounsaturated and polysaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, most nuts, high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils.
Although there's no recommended daily intake of monounsaturated fats, the Institute of Medicine recommends using them as much as possible along with polyunsaturated fats to replace saturated and trans fats.
Want to hear about another incredible health benefit from Healthline? Eating this type of fat may also help battle heart disease! Now, saturated fat isn’t necessarily a good idea to consume, but healthy fats can reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides and thus reduce the risk of getting heart disease down the line.
There is a big debate in nutrition about whether excessive saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease.
However, there is good evidence that increasing MUFAs in your diet can reduce risk factors for heart disease, especially if you’re replacing saturated fat.
Too much cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease, as it can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks or stroke. Various studies have shown that a high intake of monounsaturated fats can reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
For example, one study of 162 healthy people compared three months of a high-MUFA diet with a high-saturated fat diet to see the effects on blood cholesterol.
This study found that the diet high in saturated fat increased unhealthy LDL cholesterol by 4%, while the high-MUFA diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 5%.
Other smaller studies have found similar results of MUFAs reducing LDL cholesterol and also increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
High-MUFA diets can help lower blood pressure, too. A large study of 164 people with high blood pressure found that a high-MUFA diet lowered blood pressure and the risk of heart disease, compared to a high-carb diet.
Similar beneficial results in blood pressure have also been found in people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
However, it is important to note that the beneficial effects of high-MUFA diets are only seen when they replace saturated fat or carbs in the diet.
Furthermore, in each of these studies, the high-MUFA diets were part of calorie-controlled diets, meaning that adding extra calories to your diet through high-MUFA foods may not have the same benefits.
Healthline also tells us that monounsaturated fats can reduce the risk of certain cancers. There have been studies that found that high-MUFA foods can protect a person from getting cancer and not the other way around.
There is also some evidence that diets rich in MUFAs may help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Prostate cancer, for example, is one of the most common types of cancer in men, especially older men.
Many studies have examined whether men who eat a good amount of MUFAs have reduced or increased rates of prostate cancer, but the evidence remains unclear.
Each of the studies examining the role of high-MUFA diets in prostate cancer has found different results. Some show a protective effect, some show no effect and others show a harmful effect.
One of these studies suggested that other components of high-MUFA foods may cause the protective effect rather than the MUFAs themselves. Therefore, it is unclear how MUFAs affect prostate cancer.
High-MUFA diets have also been studied in relation to breast cancer risk.
One large study of 642 women found that those with the highest amounts of oleic acid (a type of MUFA found in olive oil) in their fat tissue had the lowest rates of breast cancer.
However, this was only seen in women in Spain — where olive oil is widely consumed — and not in women from other countries. This suggests it may be another component of olive oil that has a protective effect.
In fact, a number of studies have examined olive oil specifically and found that people who eat more olive oil have lower rates of breast cancer.
Moreover, all of these studies were observational, meaning they can’t prove cause and effect. Thus, other components of diet and lifestyle may be contributing to this beneficial effect.
To sum it all up, the American Heart Association provides an excellent overview of monounsaturated fats and what they recommend.
For good health, the majority of the fats that you eat should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Eat foods containing monounsaturated fats and/or polyunsaturated fats instead of foods that contain saturated fats and/or trans fats.
What are monounsaturated fats?
From a chemical standpoint, monounsaturated fats are simply fat molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond in the molecule, this is also called a double bond. Oils that contain monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. Olive oil is an example of a type of oil that contains monounsaturated fats.
As we just covered, there’s no need to be afraid of eating fat because it turns out fat, and in particular, monounsaturated fats can be good for you! Learn more about the high fat, low-carb keto diet and its benefits in the Body Reboot book. Help us cover the cost of shipping and visit this page to get a free copy before they’re gone.
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