How much healthy fat?

A 'fear of fat' has gripped the western world since the introduction of the traditional food pyramid over 40 years ago and low-fat products have flooded the market.

At Nutrition for Life, we recommend that you replace low-fat products with full-fat alternatives and encourage the inclusion of healthy saturated fats in your diet. But how much fat is too much fat and what does a balanced Lower Carbohydrate and Healthy Fat (LCHF) diet look like?

Lower Carbohydrate

We recommend lowering your intake of processed and refined carbohydrates and enjoying carbohydrates that are derived from fibrous vegetables instead. This includes non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and spinach) and high water content vegetables (celery and cucumber), as well as smaller amounts of starchy vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, corn, peas) .

We also suggest limiting fruit intake to a maximum 1 serve of fruit per day. Berries are the best option, as they are the lowest in fructose.

Healthy Fats

We recommend the inclusion of healthy natural saturated and monounsaturated fats as part of a balanced diet, in particular for blood glucose control.

Good sources of saturated fat include butter, ghee, organic or grass-fed meat, free-range poultry, fish, game, full-fat dairy products, eggs, and coconut oil.

Good sources of monounsaturated fat include avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives and oily fish.

We recommend avoiding processed oils such as margarine and vegetable oils (canola oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil, cotton seed oil ect.) as these are highly inflammatory in the body. These also tend to be the oils used in our purchased/takeaway foods - simply because these are the cheapest.

Tips for adopting LCHF

Include natural healthy fats as part of each meal, however, do not aim for this to be your primary fuel intake. Vegetables should be the largest portion on your plate, followed by a palm to hand-sized portion of protein and a small amount of saturated fat. Follow our LCHF food pyramid as and example...

Tips for including healthy fat in your diet include:

  • using full fat, plain dairy products
  • cooking with small amounts of olive oil, butter, coconut oil etc.
  • choosing high fat cuts of quality grass-fed meat
  • enjoying baked chicken with the skin on
  • adding avocado as a side to your breakfast or into a salad
  • adding cream into scrambled eggs instead of milk
  • drizzling macadamia or olive oil over your salad
  • a small dollop of herb & garlic butter on top of grilled meat
  • snacking on small amounts of nuts and seeds
  • If you are including enough healthy fats into your meals, you should find that you are less hungry between meals and do not need to snack.

    Be careful not to over-eat healthy fats when transitioning to LCHF. You still have to consider the caloric intake of healthy fats, especially if you want to lose weight. You still need to account for your energy intake vs energy expenditure, excess energy intake will be stored as fat.

    LCHF for weight loss

    If your goal is to lose weight, once you are conformable with the LCHF diet, experiment with reducing the extra fat in your meals. Eat just enough to avoid hunger, this will allow your body burn its internal fat stores, accelerating weight loss.

    Once you have reached your goal weight, you will no longer have the internal fat stores to fuel body. This is the time to gradually add more fat to your diet until you find the satisfying balance of hunger-free weight maintenance. You may also want to increase quality sources of carbohydrates, such as starchy vegetables, higher carbohydrate nuts and low fructose containing fruits (limit to 2 serves/day).

    Mixing healthy fat and high carbohydrate will not work!

    We understand it can be hard to give up the refined carbohydrates that have been a staple in your diet for so long and it is exciting to be able to include these healthy fats that you've restricted yourself from for so long however, it is important when adopting an LCHF diet, that you do not continue to include highly refined carbohydrates while continuing to increasing fat intake. This is where weight gain will occur, and the benefits of an LCHF diet will be lost!

    Note: Any changes to your diet should be made in consultation with your General Practitioner and/or a Nutritional Consultant. Contact our friendly team today for more information about our services and let us help you take back control of your health.

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