Examples of fat include; butter, oils, chicken skin, fat in steak, lard, bacon, cheese, ice cream, cream, margarine, and other dairy products.
Fat is a very calorie dense material. Of all the nutrients we can eat, fat results in the most calories. One ounce of fat produces far more calories in our system than one ounce of protein or carbohydrates.
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and raises your cholesterol. Avoid this at all costs. Chicken skin, butter, certain cheeses, fat on steaks or around meat, lard, bacon are all examples of saturated fat. Avoid these. See our chapter on Cholesterol for an in depth discussion on saturated fats.
Unsaturated fats are good for you. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil are all good examples of fat that won't increase your cholesterol.
Be careful, because fat is fat. It's not ok to over-consume olive oil. That is a lot of calories. All fats are calorie dense. Be reasonable and a tablespoon or two per day is sufficient.
Fat helps slow down digestion and lowers your blood sugar. If you have to eat a small piece of bread, dip it in olive oil or put a small amount of butter on it, to slow down digestion of the sugars.
In Phase I of the C3 Diet you can eat as much fat as you like. I'd prefer if you eat unsaturated, liquid fats. But if you like butter and cheese, have at it. But remember, this is a temporary phase. Once you have moved on, you have to eat more healthy fats.
Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (fats)
These are natural fats found in fruits, fish, vegetables, and nuts. These are a much healthier alternative to saturated (solid) fats which raise your bad cholesterol (LDL). See the cholesterol section for details.
MUFAs are found in olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, avocados, peanuts, almonds, and other non-animal products. PAFUs are mainly found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are the Omega 3s that we are all trying to acquire. These don't affect your cholesterol and provide the essential fatty acids that we need to survive. We do need fat to live.
Fat is very calorie dense. One table spoon of olive (or vegetable) oil usually contains about 120 calories. For comparison, one of those yogurt snack cups with some fruit in it usually contains about 80 calories.
So be wary of how much fat you consume.
Some fats actually can help you burn fat. When your body has to metabolize them, you will burn a lot of calories. Some fats will make you gain more fat. So which is which?
Fats you have to avoid
Certain fats actually raise your blood sugar more than others, in addition to being bad for your health and cholesterol. Hydrogenated oils, butter substitutes, and margarine are the worst possible fats to consume. Not only will they make you store fat, but they are also some of the unhealthiest molecules we have ever encountered.
Hydrogenated oils are oils that began as liquids (like vegetable oil), but are chemically hydrogenated (adding hydrogen atoms) to make them thick and spreadable. They are "oil spreads" and butter substitutes. These are awful for your health. Margarine is another example and is probably the worst offender. Margarine is one molecule substitution away from being plastic. That's right! Margarine is almost plastic! It's a human invention supposedly to replace butter in foods. It can sit in containers for centuries without going bad, just like plastic. This is the worst form of fat you can consume. Margarine is also very carcinogenic.
Fats you should eat
Think natural! Olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, eggs, and milk. These fats raise your metabolism without causing a surge in blood sugar levels. In fact, combining these fats with simple carbohydrates reduces the stomach's ability to access the sugars in the carbohydrates and your blood sugar level will not rise as much. So if you must have a small baked potato, go ahead and put some butter on it. If you must have that piece of bread, dip it in flavored olive oil.
If you are cholesterol conscious, butter and coconut oil are bad options for you, because they contain more saturated fat than any of the other options.