When it comes to healthy eating, can you really have too much of a good thing? Unfortunately, the answer is a big, fat "yes," according to registered dietician Maria Bella. While "healthy fats" are a better alternative to artery-clogging saturated and trans fats, overdoing it can still lead to weight gain and health issues.
"Healthy fat is still a fat, and just like unhealthy types of fat, is loaded with calories," Bella explains in the above #OWNSHOW video. "If you eat too much, you will gain weight."
Not only that, but Bella says excessive amounts of any type of fat increase your risk of cancer. "Fat is a hormonally active tissue," she says. "It produces estrogen, making people prone to certain cancers such as breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Even with the healthiest types of fat, such as avocado and peanut butter, you need to watch the quantities."
To put it into perspective, a single avocado can have up to 500 calories.
Though the numbers are eye-opening, that doesn't mean you should stay away from healthy fat altogether. The important thing, she says, is to limit your portion sizes. For instance, if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of butter, substitute it for one tablespoon of olive oil -- not three or four.
As a rule of thumb, Bella says to incorporate one serving of fat per meal. Examples include:
- A quarter of an avocado
- 10-15 nuts
- 10 olives
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter, peanut butter or any other nut butter
Flax seeds and chia seeds may be all the rage right now, but Bella says to be careful with these high-fat superfoods. "Make sure you use measuring spoons with your fats and level those spoons," she says. "Unless level, the calories can almost double -- and so can the fat."
Along with sticking to one serving of healthy fat per meal, Bella says her biggest healthy eating tip is to diversify the foods in your diet. "Have meat on Monday, have chicken on Tuesday, have fish on Wednesday," she says. "And ensure six colors of produce in your diet."
Purple produce, for example, contains a lot of antioxidants, she says. Orange produce is rich in vitamin A and green produce is full of calcium.
"You need a rainbow of colors in one day to have an adequate, nutritious, low-calorie diet," Bella advises.