Fat has long been the vilified third cousin of the nutrition world. But with Atkins, we have learned that fat can be your friend. Countless studies show that replacing sugars and refined carbs with natural healthy fats may help you lose weight, and keep it off. As long as you are burning fat for fuel, it’s not being stored as that fat that loves to reside on your belly, hips and thighs. Fat also helps you feel full, and it carries flavor, which makes food that much more satisfying.
One of my favorite fats is olive oil. It is a monounsaturated fat, and it should be a staple of your diet on Atkins. It has many heart-healthy benefits, it’s rich in antioxidants, and it will add depth and variety to your meals. You can use it when sautéing food, or you can make your own salad dressing by adding a tablespoon to lemon juice or vinegar. Drizzle some over steamed asparagus (or any veggie) and finish with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper for a simple, yet perfect, side dish. The options are endless.
When shopping for olive oil, look for the following qualities:
- Extra-virgin olive oil in dark green glass or in packaging that shields it from light. Never buy olive oil in clear, plastic bottles.
- The words “cold pressed”
- A harvesting date on the bottle
- Look for the California Olive Oil Council Seal (COOC), which means:
- Less than .5% free oleic acid
- No chemicals or excessive heat during a mechanical extraction