Bealert says going fat-free (dressings are just one example) is one of the biggest misconceptions she sees in clients who want to lose weight. In fact, not all fats are bad for you. “Good” fats keep you full and help you absorb more nutrients from food. They’re also beneficial for your heart: monounsaturated fatty acids (found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil) can lower cholesterol levels and your risk of getting heart disease, while polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as corn and soybean oils) are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Another downside to low-fat diets: When you take out fat, you replace it with artificial sugars and other additives to pump up the flavor, Bealert says. When it comes to salad dressing, she recommends making homemade vinaigrette with honey mustard, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar instead of purchasing a low fat bottled variety.