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Posted on 11-03-2015
Can We Really Eat Fat Without Getting Fat? Find Out Why.
Author: Amanda Fuller
For years, FAT was considered a bad word…something that we should all try to avoid. Many of us started eating foods labeled ‘low-fat’ and ‘fat-free.’ Well, it turns out, we were all wrong. The body actually needs fat. Here’s why:
- It is a major source of energy.
- Helps absorb minerals & vitamins.
- Builds cell membranes
- Is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement & inflammation
Since the whole ‘fat-free’ phase blew up, obesity rates have also skyrocketed. Coincidence? We think not. In most cases, the products labeled ‘low-fat’ and ‘fat-free’ are actually high in sugar, refined carbohydrates and calories (which can lead to weight gain).
Want to learn more about which type of dietary fats to consume, and which ones to limit? Well, here’s the skinny on fat:
Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated – the ‘GOOD’ fats
These types of fats can be found in veggies, nuts, seeds and fish (and are liquid at room temperature). Here are some examples of monounsaturated fats:
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Most nuts
- High oleic safflower and sunflower oils
Polyunsaturated fats are essential and required for normal body functions. Since our bodies are unable to make them on their own, we must get them from food. They reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and improve cholesterol profile. They also lower triglycerides.
2 types of polyunsaturated fats:
- Omega-3 fatty acids can found in salmon, mackerel, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil and unhydrogenated soybean oil. These fats may help prevent and treat heart disease and stroke, reduce blood pressure, raise HDL and lower triglycerides.
- Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in vegetable oils such as safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut and corn oils. These fats help protect against heart disease.
Trans (industrial made) – the ‘BAD’ fats
These fats are a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation which turns healthy oils into solids, to prevent them from becoming rancid. You may see them listed on food labels as ‘partially hydrogenated oil.’ Trans fats can be found in many baked goods, such as donuts, cookies and cakes, along with many other processed foods. Eating these can increase amounts of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduce the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol. They also increase inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic conditions. They contribute to insulin resistance and have no real health benefits or safe levels of consumption as well. Some local governments have even gone as far as to ban them. They are slowly but surely fading from our food supply.
Saturated – the ‘SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN’ fats
These types of fats are solid at room temperature – think cooled bacon grease.
Examples of saturated fats:
- Red meat
- Whole milk dairy foods
- Coconut oil
Diets rich in these fats can increase total cholesterol. Most nutrition experts suggest limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories/day. Basically, eat these fats in moderation!
So… what did you learn? We hope you learned that eating fat is OK. Just try to stay away from those man-made fats. Eating a diet rich in healthy fats and fruits and vegetables will definitely keep your body in check. You may even lose weight. Who would have thought?!
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