We used to think that including fat in our diets was a bad idea, but thanks to the popularity, success, and research behind low-carb/high-fat diets, dietary fats are making a comeback.
In this post, I share six hunger-stopping, healthy high-fat foods as well as suggestions on how to work them into your everyday diet.
Healthy Fats Summary
- The dietary cholesterol in eggs has been shown to have little effect on cholesterol in your blood.
- Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that may improve your cholesterol profile.
- Fatty fish is a good source of two essential types of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA)
- Walnuts and Chia Seeds are good sources of ALA, which is another essential omega 3 fatty acid
- Full-fat yogurt provides healthy fats and many brands provide beneficial probiotic bacteria that support gut health.
6 Healthy High Fats Foods that are Low in Carbs [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Six different healthy high fat foods.
- Advantages of each food and how best add them to your diet.
- A diet plan for continued success.
First on our list is the egg. Eggs are perfect examples of healthy high fat foods that was once demonized. The bad reputation came from the fact that the yolk of an egg is high in cholesterol.
However, the cholesterol that we take in when we eat eggs does not affect the cholesterol in the blood. A three-month study that compared a group of people who ate 12 eggs a week to a group that ate less than two eggs a week, found no between-group differences in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterols, or triglycerides (1).
With more than 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein, eggs give you a great combination of nutrients that keep hunger away.
We also know that choline is a methyl donor, which means that it can give its methyl group to another molecule to enhance or inhibit its action.
You want methyl donors because they drive a lot of processes associated with metabolism, heart health, and the elimination of toxins from your body that could otherwise build up and cause disease (4).
Eggs are traditional breakfast foods but work great for dinner. For instance, quiche is a great low carb choice at dinnertime.
I have to include avocados next because they are right up there with eggs as far as health value. I have a half of an avocado a day as a salad topper.
Half of this avocado weighs about 70 grams and contains about 10 grams of fat, most of which are monounsaturated fats.
If improving your cholesterol profile is a goal, avocados are good to eat. A meta-analysis, which is a type of study that analyzes the results of past research, found that diets that regularly contained avocados significantly decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (5).
If fiber is something that you are trying to increase on your low-carb diet, half of an avocado will give you 4.6 grams of fiber and only 5.9 grams of carbs.
Avocados also contain more potassium than bananas. Potassium has a lot of roles in your body and helps with things like fluid balance, nerve impulses, and muscle contractions. But, this nutrient is regularly flushed out of the body, so you need to replenish it.
If you are on a low carb diet and experiencing muscle cramps, this is an electrolyte that you want to replenish, so eat an avocado or use another electrolyte supplement.
Some types of fish are high in a type of healthy fat called omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega 3s are special because your body cannot make them, but your body needs them. You have to get them through your diet.
There are different types of omega-3’s, but two of the most important are EPA and DHA. Fatty fish is a primary source for these types of omega 3s.
You don’t want to be without these fats because they are very important for various aspects of brain health. For instance, there is research to support that omega-3 fatty acids may help with lowering depression and anxiety, calming ADHD symptoms, and slowing cognitive decline as we age (6) (7) (8) (9) (10).
Good choices for fatty fish that are also low in mercury include…
- wild-caught salmon
And, I’ll add that if you are not a fan of cooking, but you want to add more fish to your diet, salmon is a good fish to start with. It has a firm texture without the fishy smell that can turn some people off.
Nuts can also be a good source of omega 3s, with walnuts being one of the highest in this particular fat. However, unlike fish, walnuts contain a different type of omega 3 called ALA.
This omega 3 fatty acid mainly comes from plant foods and is arguably a less valuable form because to benefit from it, your body must convert it into EPA and DHA.
You can get omega 3s from plant foods, but when they come in, they need to go through a conversion step before you can get all of the health benefits, and unfortunately, many of us are inefficient at converting ALA into the active forms.
Walnuts are healthy high fat foods that have a hidden advantage because they are commonly eaten raw. I call that a hidden advantage because when nuts are roasted, they are typically roasted in unhealthy vegetable oils that degrade with heat and promote inflammation in your body.
Walnuts have a nice mix of fat, protein, and fiber, which are all things that will keep hunger away.
You can work walnuts into your daily diet. They go great on top of a salad, and because they have a mild flavor, you can crush them up and hide them in recipes or make them into a crumble topping for cooked vegetables or fish.
Chia seeds are another plant food that is high in the ALA form of omega 3 fatty acid.
They are also a great source of fiber with one tablespoon contains 4.2 grams of carbs, 3.9 grams of which are fiber, and only 49 calories.
So, if you are looking for a natural way to increase the fiber in your low-carb diet, chia seeds are a great choice.
One of the most interesting things about chia seeds is how they absorb liquid to form a gel. This is going to slow digestion and help you feel full longer.
I encourage you to experiment with chia seeds. They have a mild, almost undetectable flavor, so you can add a spoonful to a smoothie, or make a chia seed pudding, or mix them into a full-fat yogurt recipe, which takes two already healthy high-fat foods and combines them together.
I will sometimes add a tablespoon of chia seeds to yogurt with berries to boost the fiber and nutrient value of the yogurt. But, full-fat yogurt by itself is a great high fat food, so let’s talk about that.
You can use yogurt as a breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Full-fat yogurt is a good source of fat, and if you buy a brand that contains live cultures, you get a whole host of probiotic bacteria that improve the health of your gut.
There are few areas of nutritional research that are exploding like the research we are seeing on how important the bacteria living in your gut are to your overall health and ability to lose weight.
Any change in your diet that promotes the health of the gut microbiome is worthwhile.
Both Greek and regular yogurt are fine to eat. Greek yogurt is strained during processing, which lowers the lactose content, so if you are lactose intolerant, this would be the better choice.
The things you want to look for when picking yogurt are the following…
- 4 to 5% milkfat
- live cultures
- no added sugar
I mentioned foods that work from breakfast, to snacks, to dinner, to dessert. Each of these foods is easy to prepare, delicious, and filled with nutrients that your body thrives on. In other words, they are Easy, Enjoyable, and Effective parts of a healthy weight loss diet.
When you have those 3E’s going for you, there is no reason to go back to the old, nutrient-poor foods that drove your cravings. These are the foods that I eat and the foods that I discuss here at Dr. Becky Fitness.
(1) Fuller, Nicholas R., et al. “The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study—a 3-mo randomized controlled trial.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 101.4 (2015): 705-713.
(2) Sherriff, Jill L., et al. “Choline, its potential role in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and the case for human and bacterial genes.” Advances in nutrition 7.1 (2016): 5-13.
(3) Corbin, Karen D., and Steven H. Zeisel. “Choline metabolism provides novel insights into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and its progression.” Current opinion in gastroenterology 28.2 (2012): 159.
(4) Obeid, Rima. “The metabolic burden of methyl donor deficiency with focus on the betaine homocysteine methyltransferase pathway.” Nutrients 5.9 (2013): 3481-3495.
(5) Peou, Sokunthea, Brittany Milliard-Hasting, and Sachin A. Shah. “Impact of avocado-enriched diets on plasma lipoproteins: A meta-analysis.” Journal of clinical lipidology 10.1 (2016): 161-171.
(6) Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., et al. “Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 25.8 (2011): 1725-1734.
(7) Bos, Dienke J., et al. “Reduced symptoms of inattention after dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in boys with and without attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” Neuropsychopharmacology 40.10 (2015): 2298-2306.
(8) Richardson, Alexandra J., et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid for reading, cognition and behavior in children aged 7–9 years: a randomized, controlled trial (the DOLAB Study).” PLoS one 7.9 (2012): e43909.
(9) Heilskov Rytter, Maren Johanne, et al. “Diet in the treatment of ADHD in children—A systematic review of the literature.” Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 69.1 (2015): 1-18.
(100 Fotuhi, Majid, Payam Mohassel, and Kristine Yaffe. “Fish consumption, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and risk of cognitive decline or Alzheimer disease: a complex association.” Nature Reviews Neurology 5.3 (2009): 140-152.
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.