Before I get into monounsaturated fats, I wanted to point out that all the different types of fats still equate to 9 calories per gram. This means that the same amounts of butter and olive oil will yield the same amount of calories. So if you think that one type of fat is better than another for weight loss then you are somewhat mistaken. While there is some evidence showing that monounsaturated fats make help aid in weight loss compared to saturated fats, we still need to remember that the total calories consumed compared to the total amount of calories burned is still the best means to achieving weight loss. Monounsaturated fats may be touted as healthy and able to help with weight loss, but you can still get fat if you eat too much of them. So remember, moderation is key!
Now that I got that out of the way, monounsaturated fats have some evidence showing that they can aid in weight loss. More importantly, there is some evidence showing that monounsaturated fats (in replacement of saturated fats) can help lower cholesterol, improve cholesterol ratios, and possibly help decrease a risk for cancer! There is also some evidence showing that they can help reduce the risk of stroke and play a role in reducing blood pressure. Overall, monounsaturated fats have been touted as very heart healthy above all.
There is one crucial point that can’t be missed or ignored. All of these benefits of monounsaturated fat sources came when used to replace saturated fat sources in one’s diet. These sources were also consumed in moderation. So you are going to have to first consume the right amount of fat, and secondly consume monounsaturated fats in replacement of saturated fats. If you consume too many monounsaturated fats on top of your current intake of saturated fat then you will likely not get any of the health benefits as well as put on body fat and gain weight. So it is important to remember that you have to first consume the proper amount of fat into your diet and secondly replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats in order to potentially reap those benefits!
My favorite monounsaturated fat sources are the following:
RAW ALMONDS AND RAW ALMOND BUTTER
This has become a popular replacement for peanut butter in the fitness industry. My favorite part about this monounsaturated fat source is that it comes with more protein than other monounsaturated sources. My second favorite part about this source is that it comes in either a whole nut form or in a blended butter form. There are times when I crave whole almonds and other times when I want to eat the butter or mix it in with my food. It can also be blended into protein shakes fairly easily as well.
I wanted to make a point to mention that “raw” sources for this fat are ideal. The roasted sources come with the potential that the roasting process damages the fat and will void the benefits you wish to get from it. This isn’t something that has been 100% proven, but something to keep in mind.
So enjoy raw almonds as a snack, or mix some almond butter into your protein shake. This is a great way to get some monounsaturated fats into your diet, a little extra protein, some dietary fiber, and it tastes great while you do it!
Avocado’s can be made with all sorts of tasty meals. The only problems I have with avocado is making sure I pick a ripe one and preventing myself from eating too much of it. It’s easy to get carried away. Avocado’s are an excellent monounsaturated fat source and also come with a fair amount of fiber to help with gut health. Avocado’s are likely the most tasty form of monounsaturated fats available. Try eating some with seared ahi, baked salmon, sushi, spread on toast, as part of guacamole, and eat it by itself as part of a meal.
You can’t go wrong with avocado’s as one of your primary monounsaturated fat sources.
RAW MACADAMIA NUTS AND MACADAMIA NUT OIL
Macadamia nut oil is arguably the best oil to use as a monounsaturated fat source. It has a fairly high smoke temperature so that means it is better to cook with than other monounsaturated oils. Macadamia nut oil also provides a nice flavor to a lot of foods as well! I have also mixed macadamia nut oil into my protein shakes and even taken tablespoons of it straight when I was looking to get some extra calories for my prior bulking periods.
If you don’t want to cook or use the oil then you can also eat raw macadamia nuts. These are still an excellent monounsaturated fat source and come with some protein and a small amount of fiber as well.
The only downside to using macadamia nuts and macadamia nut oils is that they are pricey. They will be the most expensive monounsaturated fat source on this list.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND OLIVE OIL
I saved the most popular source for last! Olive oil (and it’s virgin) have become known as a heart healthy oil to cook with and add in replacement to butter and other saturated fat sources. The upside is that good olive oil comes chocked full with anti-oxidants and vitamin E, on top of it being a solid monounsaturated fat source. The downside is that it tastes very bitter and doesn’t have as high of a smoke temperature as you would think. It’s best to cook things on medium heat or lower if you intend to use this oil.
Olive oil can be added to shakes, although it is bitter, and you can take it straight, if you’re down to do that. There is absolutely nothing wrong good quality olive oil outside of a lower than expected smoke temp and the fact it is bitter.
I do want to point out that you shouldn’t skimp on which olive oil you use. Price doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. I’ve seen some cheap olive oil products that were high quality, and I’ve seen some expensive ones that were low quality. I highly suggest doing your research on the company to determine the quality of their oil. I suggest BRAGGS Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They are a little more expensive than some of the others but they have been making a quality product, with our health in mind, for decades. You can’t go wrong with them.
So just remember, first you need to figure out how much fat you should be consuming in your diet daily. From there you need to solve your macros to find out how much fat is coming from foods. After you do that then you can work to replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats to help improve your health (and possibly improve your physique) while you’re out there making gainz.
Let’s get better together!