Not all fat is bad. In fact, some fats – also referred to as lipids – are very healthful, and help you to lose fat on your body.
Healthy fats have several beneficial properties. They provide a feeling of satiation. They aid in the management of insulin, and prevent diabetes by helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. They are cardio-protective; they improve your hormone and cholesterol profiles; they are helpful in combating diseases of the brain.
Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA)
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are made up of the components EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Fish oil tends to be the best source of essential fatty acids, but flax oil can also serve well, if you can keep it fresh. Flax oil is very unstable, and denatures very quickly, so I personally prefer fish oil.
Another excellent source of fat is oleic acid. This fat is technically an essential fatty acid, but since it comes from different sources of food than EPA and DHA do, I classify it separately. Oleic acid is an integral part of digestion, because its molecules are used by the small intestine to transport fat-soluble nutrients. Olives, olive oil, and avocadoes are the best sources of oleic acid.
Linoleic and Linolenic Acid
Nuts are the best form of these two essential fatty acids. Opinions differ on whether raw, or sprouted and roasted, is best. Regardless of which research you read, it is important to buy organic nuts whenever possible to avoid the heavy amounts of pesticides used in the agricultural process.
Medium chain triglycerides are another good source of dietary fat. Coconut and palm kernel oil are the best sources of medium chain triglycerides. Both of these fats make ideal cooking oils because of their high flash points, and coconut oil has excellent thermogenic (fat burning) applications in exercise.
NYC Personal Trainer / Strength Coach
Mark Diaz is the head strength coach and owner of Physiqology, a personal training business based in New York City. He offers New Yorkers a sustainable system of personal fitness training that seamlessly integrates exercise, flexibility training, diet and supplementation.