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Healthy…Fat?

Healthy fats are crucial to maintaining optimal health. 

There are many questions that regard what is good for you and what is not. A common misconception is that fat will make you fat, when in fact it can do just the opposite. Research will support that eating the right amount of the right fats will enhance your health.  Healthy fats are crucial to any diet and will help you in reaching your health, fitness, and weight loss goals. The more you know about what is going into your body, the better you can discern what is good for your body from what is not. The difference in fat compounds—saturated, unsaturated, and trans—lies in their composition. Each fat is composed differently and can affect the body in different ways. Knowing which foods contain these fats and what they will do your health will add value to your dietary lifestyle and remind you that health isn’t just about weight loss. Several benefits will also be evident with maintaining the right balance.

Common Misconceptions about fat:

Myth: All fats are equal—and equally bad for you.

Fact: Trans fats and some saturated fats are bad for you because they raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. But monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease.

Myth: Eating a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss.

Fact: The obesity rates for Americans have doubled in the last 20 years, coinciding with the low-fat revolution. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss, and since fats are filling, they can help curb overeating.

Myth: Lowering the amount of fat you eat is what matters the most.

Fact: The mix of fats that you eat, rather than the total amount in your diet, is what matters most when it comes to your cholesterol and health. The key is to eat more good fats and less bad fats.

Myth: Fat-free means healthy.

Fact: A “fat-free” label doesn’t mean you can eat all you want without consequences to your waistline. Many fat-free foods are high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and calories.

Read more about common misconceptions here.

Good Fat, Bad Fat : How To Chose

Fat is a fuel for the body, and the main form of fat is triglycerides. It is recommended that less than 30% of your calories in a day come from fat.

Polyunsaturated fat: This is an essential fat needed by the body for the building of hormones, and cell wall structures. It also helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Examples of this fat are oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oil.

Monounsaturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, but helps lower cholesterol. It is healthier for the body than saturated fat. Canola, olive, and peanut oil as well as avocado are examples of this type of fat.

Saturated fat: This type of fat is not essential to the body, and should be reduced as much as possible.Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, while unsaturated fats are liquids, or oils at room temperature. In small amounts, this will not be harmful or have an ill effect on health. It is recommended that 10% or less of your calories come from saturated fat.

Nutrition for Everyone talks about sources of saturated fats. But other saturated fats can be more difficult to see in your diet. In general, saturated fat can be found in the following foods:

  • High-fat cheeses
  • High-fat cuts of meat
  • Whole-fat milk and cream
  • Butter
  • Ice cream and ice cream products
  • Palm and coconut oils

Recent studies show the positive health benefits from coconut oil. Read more here. There are common misconceptions about coconut oil, but Web MD addressed the truth in their article Truth About Coconut. 

Trans Fat This fat is created during hydrogenation by making healthy, unsaturated oils solid into partially hydrogenated fats for use in food manufacturing and solid margarine. Food labels are required to list the amount of trans fat in one serving of the food. Research suggests that this fat like saturated fat increases the bad LDL cholesterol and reduces the HDL good cholesterol. This type of fat is solid at room temperature. Examples are found in processed foods like chips or crackers, solid margarine, processed and convenience foods.

Good Fat Found Here

  • Coconut oil not only helps your health, but can aid in maintaining your ideal weight. Read Dr. Oz’s article, The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil. Start using coconut milk, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut flour, or coconut butter.
  • Raw Cocao  contains:
    • Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
    • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
    • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
    • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
    • Protein
    • Fiber

For more helpful information see my previous post, Dark Chocolate: It’s food, not candy. Start using Cocao powder as a spice or toping on fruit. Hershey will show you nutrition facts to assure you, its not a fad.

Almonds are a natural source of protein and naturally high in fiber, while being naturally low in sugars.  Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free. Almonds are the tree nut highest in when compared ounce for ounce.Plus, a 1 ounce serving has 13g of good unsaturated fats, just 1g of saturated fat, is naturally salt-free and is always cholesterol free.

Whole almonds are a naturally high source of :

    • Magnesium
    • Riboflavin
    • Protein
    • Fiber
    • Vitamin E

Visit California Almond Board for more information about almonds. Almond butter, almond milk, almond meal are all good variations to use to soak up their health benefits. Click on each for more information, recipes, and how to make your own at home.

Now that you have all the information and resources to base your decisions, don’t let the words fool you. Add these healthy fats into your diet and you will see the health benefits you have been promised.

 

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