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Not All Fats Are Created Equal- There is such a Thing as Healthy Fats!

Written By Admin on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | 11:43:00 PM

The key to weight loss is adhering to a low-fat diet. Doctors and nutritionists for many decades supported this weigh loss concept, but recent studies revealed that not all fatty food are bad after all. If you are looking into keeping cholesterol in healthy levels as well as avoid developing serious health conditions, you may want to reconsider the intake of fats. The quantity of fats should not be the main concern, but the type of fat you put in your system. There are two types of fat; good fats that have proven themselves beneficial to health, including Omega-3 fatty acids and bad fats such as unhealthy cholesterols that clog the arteries.

Now let’s try to understand dietary fats.
Our obsession with dietary fats has been nothing but ridiculous in recent years. Just take a walk down the grocery aisle and you will realize our culture’s obsession with low-fat food items. Baked potato chips, non-fat ice creams, sugarless candies, pastries, and cakes; the selection is basically limitless. Despite this, the obesity rate is still fast increasing. Clearly, these low-fat or non-fat food options have failed to deliver the weight loss promises they claim to have.
Fitness and health experts claim that fat is the number one culprit for those excess fat you carry around the waistline. The truth is, there are different types of fat; some of which actually deliver positive health benefits. For instance, bad fats are actually not recommended to be included in daily meals as too much of  these can cause a multitude of chronic and debilitating disorders including atherosclerosis, heart disease, weight gain, and stroke to name a few. Unlike saturated fats and trans fats, food items that contain high levels of mono and polyunsaturated fats as well as Omega-3 fatty acids provide positive benefits to one’s health and wellbeing. Healthy or good fats are proven to improve one’s sense of emotional and mental wellbeing, increased immune health, and even helps you keep your ideal weight.
The answer to successfully losing weight is not solely on cutting down fat intake. Instead, it should be centered on making the right choices by replacing bad fats with beneficial fats to promote optimum health and wellbeing.
Some Myths and Facts about Fats
Myth # 1- All fats are created equal- meaning they are all bad for your health.
Fact: Bear in mind that there are two different types of fats. Trans fats and saturated fats are generally bad for your health as they increase your cholesterol to dangerous levels. On the other hand, good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that lower down bad cholesterol levels, while reducing chances of heart diseases too.
Myth # 2- The most important rule to weight loss is simply reducing intake of fatty food items.
Fact: The percentages of the types of fat you eat, rather than the total weight of fat is crucial when it comes to improving health and lowering cholesterol levels. Basically, you only need to eat food items rich in good fats than those containing bad fats.
Myth # 3- It’s okay to eat as much fat-free items because they’re healthy!
Fact- Don’t make those fat-free items in your cupboard and refrigerator an excuse to eat all you want, You will definitely see an increase in your waistline if you do Bear in mind that even manufactured fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbs, and loaded with calories.
Myth # 4- A low-fat diet is the secret to weight loss.
Fact- The rate of obesity in the United States in the past two decades increased despite the rise of low-fat food items in the market. With this said, it is quite obvious that cutting down on calories does not necessarily mean weight loss. Fats can be filling which means that they can only reduce overeating.
Myth # 5- All types of body fat are one and the same.
Fact- The location of fats in your body matters and tells a lot about what you are most risk of developing. For instance, there are higher chances that you develop serious medical conditions when body fats are concentrated around the abdomen as well as around the hip and thigh regions. Belly fats are also stored way under the skin; most of which surround organ systems such as those found in the abdominal regions and the liver.
In order for you to include necessary, beneficial fats in your daily meal plan, here is a quick run down of the different types of fat:
• Good Fats
– monounsaturated fats
– polyunsaturated fats
They are considered good fats as they bring health benefits, including improved cardiovascular function and reduced bad cholesterol levels.
Excellent examples of food items that contain good fats are as follows:
 canola oil
 peanut oil
 sunflower oil
 olive oil
 sesame oil
 avocadoes
 nuts
 fresh olives
 peanut butter
 safflower oil
 walnuts
 soybean oil
 flaxseed
 fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, and trout)
 tofu
 soymilk
• Bad Fats
– trans fats
– saturated fats
Bad fats are called as such since they have negative effects on health, including increased risk of heart disease and elevated cholesterol levels.
In terms of appearance, food items that contain bad fats are more solid in nature, such as in the case of butter and margarine.
Examples of food items that contain bad fats are as follows:
 butter
 margarine
 cheese
 ice cream
 lard
 palm and coconut oil
 high fat cuts of meat found in pork, lamb, and beef
 whole-fat dairy products such as cream and milk
 manufactured candy bars
 vegetable shortening
 fried foods
Rules and Guidelines when Choosing Fats
It’s generally easy to change your life around with simple replacement of bad fats to good fats. Improving your health by decreased risk of developing heart conditions and diabetes is as simple as omitting trans fats and saturated fats with food items that contain unsaturated fatty acids.
For instance, you may want to replace fried chicken or fried meats with fresh seafood. Instead of satisfying your hunger with meat, you may want to substitute it with legumes and beans instead. They are also high in protein. Instead of indulging on butter and using it for cooking, try using canola or olive oil.
– Make sure to eliminate the use of trans fats
Studies reveal that trans fats can cause a host of health problems. They are commonly present in commercial baked goodies. Limiting the intake of these food items will reduce your bad fats intake.
– Reduce your intake of food items filled with saturated fats
Replace red meat and whole-fat dairy products with healthier sources of both fat and protein such as nuts, poultry, fish, and beans whenever possible. Instead of filling your system with whole or full-fat products, switching to the use of low-fat versions is more ideal.
– Daily intake of food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Buy fresh grocery items that contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids namely nuts, ground flax seeds, flaxseed oil, fish, canola oil, and soybean oil to name a few.
Fat intake limitations
The amount of ideal fat that you should eat will depend on the following factors:
– Lifestyle
– Age
– Weight
– Overall health condition
The USDA released the following recommendations when it comes to fat consumption:
– Ideally, fat intake should be between 20% and 35% of total calories
– Limit the intake of saturated fats down to 10% of your total calorie intake. For instance, if you are following a 2000-calorie intake per day, fat should be equal to 200 calories only.
– Trans fats consumption should be less than or equal to 1% calories. Therefore, you should only have 2 grams per day of trans fats if you are following a 2000-calorie diet.
Trans Fats- The Bad Fat
If your goal is to lose weight and promote excellent health, a great place to start is by immediate elimination of trans fats from your diet. By definition, trans fat is a normal fat molecule that has been modified, resulting in a twisted and deformed molecule through the process called hydrogenation.
The process of hydrogenation includes he use of vegetable oil that is heated and is then combined with hydrogen gas. The resulting product is partially hydrogenated oils. These types of oil is more stable in chemical composition thus they are less likely to suffer from spoilage. This is perceived as a benefit among manufacturers as it ensures longevity, but certainly bad news for your health.
Bear in mind that no amount of trans fat delivers healthy benefits to your overall wellbeing In fact, trans fat intake is the cause of many health problems, such as those involving the cardiovascular system.
Sources of trans fasts
People most often think of margarine when the topic of trans fats surfaces. However, you should also remember that margarine is not the only source of trans fats. In the United States and the rest of North America, the primary sources of trans fats are as follows:
– Premixed food items like cake and pancake miixes
– Solid fats in the form of semi-solid vegetable shortening and stick margarine
– Fried food items such as chicken nuggets, hard taco shells, and muffins to name a few
– Junk foods manufactured such as those made from corn, potato, as well as tortilla chips, candies, and microwaveable popcorn
– Baked goods such as cupcakes, cookies, cracker, cakes, muffins, pizza dough, and hamburger buns
Best Shopping Practices to Reduce Trans Fats Intake
– Make it a point to read labels before picking up items at the grocery store.
Watch out for partially hydrogenated oil as this is a trans fats. As much as possible avoid anything with partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients.
– When shopping for margarine, make sure to pick up the soft-tub variety. Make sure that any ingredient or food item you choose contains zero trans fats such as partially hydrogenated oils.
– When you are eating at a restaurant, try to stay away from fried and baked goods. Avoid all fried and baked meals unless the menu indicates that they contain zero trans fats.
– Try not to eat at fast food joints. Majority of states does not have regulations when it comes to indicating or advertising the contents of their meals, such as if their items contain trans fats or otherwise.
– If you have no option but to eat out, ask the server if they can replace the oil they usually use to healthier oils such as olive oil.
How to Reduce Bad Fats Intake
Saturated fats are mainly sourced from anima products found in red meat and whole milk dairy products. There are also some poultry and seafood items that contain saturated fats, but only in small concentrations.
– If possible, try not to eat a lot of red meat such as lamb, pork, and beef. Make an effort to consume more poultry and fish instead.
– If you have no choice but to eat red meat, make sure to choose leaner meat cuts or white meat. These cuts contain less saturated fats
– Method of cooking should be broiling and baking instead of frying
– When preparing chicken, make sure to remove the skin part. It is also best to trim off the fat before cooking
– Avoid consumption of breaded meats and those that are deep fried
– Opt for low-fat dairy products such as low-fat milk and mozzarella cheeses. You may consume whole dairy products but make sure intake is in moderation
– Opt for oils in liquid form such as canola oil and vegetable oil instaed of using lard, shortening, and butter
– If possible, try to cut down on intake of cream and cheese sauces. Serve them as an optional side.
Sources of Saturated Fats and their Corresponding Healthier Options
– Butter should be replaced with olive oil
– Cheese should be replaced with low-fat or reduced-fat cheese versions
– Red meat should be replaced with clean, white meat from chicken or turkey
– Eggs should be reduced to egg whites if possible. Another excellent substitute is tofu
– Ice cream should be replaced with frozen yogurt or non-fat or low-fat ice cream
– Whole milk should be replaced with skim or 1% milk
– Sour cream should be replaced with plain, non-fat yogurt
The Problem with Saturated Fats
For many decades, medical experts as well as health authorities have supported the notion that a diet high in saturated fats can result in healthy complications such as increase in blood cholesterol levels as well as increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. In recent studies however, studies reveal that individuals who consume more saturated fats do not have experience of developing cardiovascular diseases. When compared to those who consume food items that contain lower levels of saturated fats.
Does this study lead us to the conclusion that it’s generally okay to eat saturated fats?
This is not necessarily the case. The case only tells us that we should greatly reduce the amount of saturated fat intake and then replace them with healthier food options. For instance, it may be better to swap the use of animal fats to vegetable-based oils. This practice can significantly reduce the cholesterol levels, thus reducing your chances of developing heart diseases. Consequently, replacing your saturated fats with intake of complex carbohydrates, such as in the case of substituting bacon with bagel, is not a healthy idea too. Refined carbohydrates such as bread and pastries have negative effects on the cholesterol levels, resulting in an increase in the risk of developing heart diseases.
Reducing your intake of saturated fats only reduces your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Replacing them with refined carbohydrates puts your health in the same amount of risk too. In summary, one should be wiser in cutting down fat intake simply by replacing the bad fats with food items containing good fats.
Tips on How to Increase Good Fats in your Diet
Now that we have laid down the negative effects of trans fat and saturated fats to our health and wellbeing, the next activity is identifying ways on how we can increase consumption of good fats.
Here is a complete list of food items that contain good fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
– Cook with olive oil
When cooking using the stovetop, make sure to skip on solid fats such as margarine, butter, and lard. Replace them with healthier options such as vegetable, canola, or olive oil.
– Enjoy more avocadoes in your meals
When it’s seasonal, avocado should be consumed as often as you can. They contain high levels of good fats. Incorporate this fruit as a main ingredient to salads and sandwiches. Avocadoes are not only healthy, but they are extremely filling and satisfying too.
– Enjoy healthy snacks
Healthy snacks such as olives should be included as part of a well-balanced meal. Fresh olives in particular contain monounsaturated fats. When eat as a snack, you can enjoy its main healthy benefits as they are not only low in fats, but low in calories too.
– Dress on the side
Instead of topping your salad with a ton of dressing, why not have it as an optional side? In this way you can reduce your chances of bad fats intake. If possible, make sure to create your own salad dressing, and fill it with healthier ingredients such as flaxseed oil and sesame oil to name a few.