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Eat Fat- Lose Fat! What Fats You Should Be Consuming

Posted May 29 2012 10:12pm

There’s been a stigma in our culture that started around the mid nineties about fat. It started with doctors (who are not trained in nutrition) saying that people were eating too many saturated fats in the form of red meat. Too much fat, they said, equaled heart disease. Enough people got to talking about and there was a shift from eating fats to eating  more reduced fat foods.

Snackwells kicked things off by offering reduced fat and fat free cookies. My mom used to eat these when she was “dieting”. Then came reduced fat peanut butter, Wheat Thins, Chips and more. They reduced the fat, but added sugar and salt in it’s place.

We began consuming mass quantities of this stuff thinking it was “healthy” (my favorite buzz word) and better for us than full fat. We were more susceptible to hunger because we had cut out one of the three macronutrients- Fats. We are built to have fats and to eat the good ones.

To understand good and bad fats, you need to know the names of the players and some information about them. There are four major types of fats:

  • monounsaturated fats
  • polyunsaturated fats
  • saturated fats
  • trans fats

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health.

Saturated fats and trans fats are known as the “bad fats” because they increase your risk of disease and elevate cholesterol.

Appearance-wise, saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at room temperature (think of butter or traditional stick margarine), while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be liquid (think of olive or corn oil).

There is a lot of research coming out that confirms that in appropriate amounts, saturated fats can be beneficial to health, especially coconut oil.

Eating fat is an important part of a healthy, satisfying lifestyle. Exclusion of a macronutrient, be it carbs proteins or fats will result in imbalance and unsustainable. That’s why fad diets that practice this usually leave the dieter heavier after initial water weight loss and responsible for slowing metabolism.

I know it can be scary when you’re trying to make decisions about what to eat (this is why I have a job!). I always say there is not a one size fits all approach to healthy eating, but I can say without a doubt that you need fat in your body to be satisfied and get your body on the path you want to go on. Fat will not make you fat.

One last word of caution: Sugar/starch in the presence of fat acts like velcro that sticks not only together, but sticks to the inside of you (which is why donuts are like the worst things you can eat!!). Keep in mind that when you incorporate more fats into your diet, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on your sugar/starch intake.

What kinds of fats do you eat?

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