EDITORIAL: Friendly fats that aid weight loss

If you've tried to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, chances are you've pursued a low-fat diet. However, that doesn't mean that every food containing fat is bad for you.

While saturated and trans fats like baked goods and fried foods can increase your risks for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers, and high cholesterol, other "good fats" have a variety of benefits -- including helping you lose weight.

One group of good fats is the monounsaturated fats in nuts, olive oil, peanut or almond butter, and avocados. These foods can improve your cholesterol and decrease heart disease risk.

Another essential fat group is polyunsaturated fats, which are vital to your diet because the body doesn't produce them naturally. These fats, also called omega-3 fatty acids, are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, tofu, and various seeds. Similarly, these good fats can also improve cholesterol, decrease heart disease risk, and protect against irregular heartbeat.

Even better, a diet of healthy fats can help you shed pounds. While fats take longer to burn than carbohydrates and proteins, foods like avocado and peanut butter can make you feel fuller for longer, reducing the chances you will overeat. One study found that people who ate avocado for breakfast were less hungry and ate less food during the six hours following their morning meal.

Omega-3 or omega-6 fats also can help you feel more satiated, as good fats regulate your appetite hormones and reduce blood sugar spikes. Though it sounds strange, eating these healthy fats can help you burn more fat -- especially if you're committed to a low-carb diet.

Maybe the best news is that polyunsaturated fats in these foods are especially beneficial at lunch, as they can help you beat the midday slump. One study reported that people who ate salmon, walnuts, and tofu had significantly more energy after lunch. And more energy can give you a good reason to exercise.

Weight-Loss Surgery Assessment

If you've tried traditional exercise and diet-based methods but still struggle with obesity, it might be time to consider a weight loss procedure. Take our free weight-loss surgery assessment at https://bit.ly/NWH-Bariatrics to determine if you're a candidate.

If you're concerned about your health, speak with your primary care provider. If you're looking for a physician, visit NW-Physicians.com to find one near you.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.