Fat – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

March 5

The very word fat carries its own stigma, making many of us cringe at the thought of being considered fat or even indulging in fattening foods. But as we all know, fat is an essential part of any diet and not all fat is created equal. There are good fats, such as those derived from plants or fruit, like olive oil. Parmesan cheese, a highly digestible fat, provides many valuable nutrients such as protein, not to mention its wonderful taste and versatility. But there are the bad fats, too. Those heart-clogging fats used for frying foods not only add calories but also are responsible for the health risks that come from ingesting saturated or trans fats.

Calories are increased when food is fried, especially when deep-fried. Chicken, though lean and relatively low in calories when grilled or baked, can become a calorie power house when fried. That’s because the meat soaks up the oil and amplifies the calorie content. Fried foods, especially those that are battered and fried should be avoided when you are dieting to lose weight.

Decades of research and study after study have proven that people in countries that consume low fat plant based diets have lower chances of heart disease, stroke and obesity than those countries that eat high fat diets, with the fat coming mostly from animal products.

Consuming too much saturated fat and other calories can have an unappealing effect on your appearance, also. Fat, especially the fat that tends to hang around your mid-section can be an indicator for poor health, too. Those with type 2 diabetes have the tendency to carry extra weight in their stomach area and studies have found that reducing this extra fat may help prevent or prolong the onset of the disease.

Fat, however, is an essential component in any diet. It is vital in building tissue and cells. It helps us to absorb many vitamins and nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that our bodies need. We can’t produce these fats on our own, so we must consume them. Foods like salmon and avocado are both good sources for healthy fats that contain Omega-3s.

The important thing to remember is to choose a diet with a variety of fresh, healthy foods. Avoid pre-packaged and processed foods and those high in saturated fats. Eat lean meats as often as possible, include 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruits throughout the day. Abstain from sugar and soft drinks and avoid alcohol. In no time at all, everything about the way you think about food will change. The more healthy foods you eat, the more you will crave a diet of healthy foods. You will soon find that you no longer have to worry if you are eating good, bad or ugly fats, because the foods you will want to eat will only be those considered on the “good list.”

Posted In: Nutrition

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