Sweat365 » Eat More Fat - Get a Flat Belly!
Who doesn’t wish they had a flatter, tighter, mid section? Even after losing 60lbs and transforming myself from a Fat Kid to two time Ironman, I wish I had those 6-pack abs… but I’m still soft around the middle. Counting calories, cutting out fat, that’s the approach I should take to get a skinny belly right? Apparently not! New research indicates that actually eating foods with more fats, including dark chocolate, guacamole, and olive oil, could be the key to a slimmer mid section. The trick: it has to be the right kind of fat!
Research indicates that they key to a flatter midsection may be the kind of fats you consume, and not the amount. A recent study from Harvard, took more than a hundred men and women and divided them into two groups. One group ate a low fat diet. The other group at a “moderate-fat” diet, where 20% of their daily calories came from a special kind of fat called Monounsaturated Fat (or MUFA). The results might surprise you:
- The low fat group gained an average of 6lbs over 18 months, and added nearly an inch to their waistline.
- The group that ate more fats, actually lost 9lbs and trimmed off 3 inches from their waistlines.
How can this be? Aren’t we taught that low fat diets are the keys to losing weight? Isn’t that why all those products are sold with “Low Fat” labels? Well, the truth is that a healthy balanced diet should always include some fat in it. But there are so many choices of foods out there, and some have different effects beyond the well understood effects from the macro-nutrient groups of fats, carbs, and protein.In the case of monounsaturated fats, a mainstay in the Mediterranean diet for centuries, these nutrients appear to have the effect of increasing your metabolism. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed improvement in blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels for patients eating a Mediterranean diet.
|One benefit of MUFAs is that they tend to be fluid fats and therefore have the effect of lubricating arteries as opposed to building up and blocking your arteries like other fats. Another great side effect of foods rich in MUFAs is that they tend to fill you up, take longer to digest, and are a great source of longer lasting energy.Cynthia Saas, M.P.H., R.D., C.S.S.D., and author of the new book “Flat Belly Diet“, points out that Monounsturated fats “…are particularly good for athletic people…” because, “Your arteries are like tunnels that carry oxygen and nutrients to your cells, including your muscles, nervous system, and brain, which are all essential for optimum athletic performance.”|
Foods high in Monounsaturated Fats Include:
- Avocado - Yum! Who doesn’t love fresh avocados or guacamole? Avocados are loaded with flavor, and their loaded with MUFAs. You might enjoy them freshly sliced, added to a salad, or on a sandwich, or make them into a healthy guacamole by simply adding lime juice, garlic, and salt to taste. No need to add sour cream or other less healthy fats, just enjoy them as is. Recommended serving: 1/4 cup.
- Seeds and Nuts - Almonds, pecans, pine nuts, sesame seeds, spreads made from these nuts like Tahini or almond butter. We know these foods are packed with energy, but they’re also loaded with healthy fats! Perfect for a quick burst of energy while out on a long bike ride or run. Recommended serving: about a handful.
- Olives - There are so many wonderful choices of different colors, shapes, sizes and best of all flavors of olives. These make for a great snack or appetizer. You can eat them whole or make them into a tapenade or spread, just chop them up, add garlic, some spices to taste and a little bit of olive oil. Recommended serving: 1 table spoon of tapenade or a dozen olives.
- Dark Chocolate - Oh yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. It turns out the bitter and semi sweet chocolate with high cocoa percentage and no milk added is a great source of healthy fats. Recommended serving: 1 oz.
- Oils - Several oils are high in monounsaturated fats. Those include: canola, flaxseed, peanut, safflower, walnut, sunflower, sesame, and olive. Recommended serving: 1 tablespoon.