For many years fat has been given a bad rap, and without just cause! What started as awareness for Americans, who are plagued with heart disease as a leading cause of death, to moderate their saturated fat consumption and avoid trans fat, transpired into an all-out war against fat. But there is a huge misconception on the role of fats in our body. A “low-fat” diet may do more harm than good for you in the long run. There are many different types of fats. Before we off and vilify all fats, we must identify the different types of fats. These include saturated fats, (salmon, eggs, coconut), mono-unsaturated fats (olives, avocado, almonds), and polyunsaturated fats like sunflowers, walnuts, flaxseed. These three fats are considered the ‘healthy fats’ and boost plenty of health benefits when regularly consumed in the diet.
The issue that people have with fat, comes from the lipid known as trans fat, which is a dangerous type.
Trans fat is partially-hydrogenated oil that allows food to have a greater shelf life. Until recently, not much was known about trans fat. This is actually very dangerous and should be avoided. The issue that lies with trans fat is our body’s reaction to the chemicals that produce it. That wreaks havoc with so many of our essential organs, not to mention its role in unhealthy weight gain. In addition, trans fat has been linked to heart disease and certain cancers. That means that every time you choose fast food over nutrient-dense foods that contain healthy fats, you are increasing your risk of so many health issues.
Cooking with oils that contain trans fat is starting to become obsolete by many restaurants, but many popular food establishments still rely on it. Be sure to read the nutritional label when you go shopping, especially if it is packaged. Under the section for fats, check to see the content of trans fat. If there is any, I suggest you choose something else! If you are going out and not sure if the food you are eating contains trans fat, be sure to sign up for a free account on MyFitnessPal.com (no, this is not a product promotion) to check their food database and get real nutritional facts that will help you make informed decisions.
Trans fat can be found in everything from deep-fried foods and frozen pizza, to cookies, pies, cakes, and, of course, margarine.
But this is not always the case as there are plenty of healthy alternatives to virtually every type of food. Just be sure to read the label to ensure you are getting a trans fat free product!
So now that we know what these different types of fats are, why should we include them in our diet? Firstly, our bodies require essential fats in order to properly function. That’s a big task when you think about it. Healthy brain function is dependent on these healthy fats in order to prevent memory loss, brain fog, and Alzheimer’s disease! It is recommended to consume 20-35% of your total daily calories from healthy fat sources.
Fats aid in hormonal balances in the body have been shown to alleviate depression, improve body composition, improve eye health, help prevent certain cancers, promote healthy skin, and actually aid in healthy weight loss! Be sure to get yourself a healthy serving of fats daily which can come from foods like salmon, olive oil, almonds, eggs, and avocados, just to name a few. Don’t miss out on these amazing health benefits, as understanding what you are eating and how it affects you is important to living a long, healthy, energetic, and fruitful life!