Somewhere in the 1980's, a rumor got started that fat makes you fat.
So, let's look at fat from two different sources and examine if this rumor is true.
A. The food industry's version of fat designed in a laboratory, are generally toxic to the human body, contributing to weight gain, inflammation, a rise in LDL cholesterol (that's the bad one), a lowering of HDL (the good cholesterol), increased risk of heart disease and stroke, a higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes, and adverse effects on the formation of healthy, strong bones.
These synthetic fats started appearing in our processed food supply in the 1950s, and quickly became part of many easily-recognized food products: margarine, packaged snack foods and baked goods, and fried fast foods. The most dangerous of these are the transfats which get created by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils. The chemistry is a bit complex, but the bottom line is that these altered oils are used by the food industry to make their products less expensive to manufacture, more 'stable' at room temperature, and to lengthen their shelf life. But, your body's shelf life can actually be shortened by these same fats. In 2003, the FDA finally started requiring the food manufacturers to include tranfats on the nutrition label of their packaged foods. ...However, unlike in many other countries, trans fat levels of less than 0.5 grams per serving can be listed as 0 grams trans fat on the food label*
This means that you could be consuming quite a lot of trans fats if you consume packaged and processed foods or fast foods on a regular basis.
B. Naturally-occurring fats in your everyday diet. Good or bad?
In the 1980's, there was false evidence from the medical community that fat makes you fat, and the low-fat, non-fat craze got started. People got scared of anything containing fat, and the food industry started manufacturing non-fat and low-fat products that are, unfortunately, still around today.
In fact, many people have the mistaken idea that low or no fat is much healthier for them.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Healthy fats in the right quantities will not make you fat! Sugar and refined, processed carbohydrates make you fat.
We humans need good fats in our everyday diet to absorb and utilize the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL), to increase our energy; to manage our weight; to reduce the risk of certain types of cancers; for our brain health (afterall, your brain is approximately 60% fat); to regulate our blood sugar; to regulate mood and reduce anxiety; to combat depression; to reduce inflammation; to keep our digestion regular; to stabilize appetite; and more.
Here are some excellent sources of good fats that you can use in meals and everyday cooking:
~Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil
~Coconut Oil and flaked coconut
~Seeds, esp. Flax
~Free-range eggs (the whole egg!)
~Butter from grass-fed cows
~Dairy products from grass-fed cows (if you're not allergic)
Don't be afraid to eat good fat! Just know that a little bit goes a LONG way!
Want to know more about incorporating essential fats into your diet?
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