When dieting you automatically avoid fat, believing that eating fat will make you fat. Is this true? Far from it… There are many types of fats, good and bad so what is the difference? What are good fats and are they good for you?
Eating the right kind of fat is essential to our diets; our bodies depend on it as an energy source as well as maintaining a healthy body. It’s understanding the difference between what are good and what are bad fats.
The following Extract taken from Health.com will help clarify the difference and give you a better understanding on the whole fat topic
Understanding What Are Good Fats And Why You Should Eat Them
It’s just not fair: Fat got a bad rap decades ago because scientists assumed, based on the misinterpretation of a couple of large studies, that eating foods containing fat would lead directly to obesity and heart disease. Fatty foods were made out to be our sole dietary vice, responsible for raising our cholesterol levels, clogging our arteries, and causing us to get, well, fat.
And that made a kind of intuitive sense—why wouldn’t the fat you consume wind up as the fat you see on your butt and thighs? But “the low-fat diet backfired,” says Frank Hu, MD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “America’s obesity epidemic skyrocketed even while our fat intake went down.” So experts are getting off the “fat is evil” bandwagon these days—and we should, too.
The upside of eating fat
Like carbohydrates and protein, fat is an essential nutrient. This means that your body requires it for key functions, such as absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. “Fat is also an important energy source and is vital for keeping your skin and hair healthy and smooth,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.
Even more surprising: Research is revealing that eating the right fats can actually lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and improve your cholesterol levels. That’s because all fats are not created equal, Dr. Hu points out. It’s not the total amount of fat in your diet that affects how much you weigh or whether you’re at risk for heart disease, according to rigorous studies from the past decade. What matters is the type of fats you choose (and, when it comes to dropping pounds, the total number of calories you eat). Here’s a breakdown.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
Found in plant foods like nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil, and in poultry
MUFAs can actually lower cholesterol levels, and, in doing so, your risk of heart disease. In fact, a Journal of the American Medical Association study showed that replacing a carb-rich diet with one high in monounsaturated fats can do both, and reduce blood pressure, too.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
Found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, and corn and soybean oils
Like MUFAs, PUFAs have been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. One type is the omega-3 fatty acid, which is plentiful in some kinds of fish—not to be confused with omega-6 fatty acids, found in meats, corn oil, and soybean oil. Some research finds that Americans eat about 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3; we should be aiming to get closer to four times as much. To do so, Dr. Hu says, sub in fish for meat when you can.
Found in meat and dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk
We’ve been warned for decades to eat less saturated fat—after all, it raises “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels, and thus, it was assumed, ups your risk of heart attack and stroke. Lately, though, research has begun to vindicate it. For instance, a 2010 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition review of 21 studies was unable to find a link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease or stroke. Some types have been entirely exonerated: “Stearic acid, found in dark chocolate, is clearly non-harmful,” says David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. The same may be true of lauric acid, a type of saturated fat abundant in coconut oil, but there’s not enough evidence to say for sure, Dr. Katz says. Full article published here.
Having a better understanding of what are goods fats will help improve our health and diet. Depending on the diet plan you are following a lot of good fats are restricted because of the higher calorie content. You should evaluate you diet and try to include some good fats for the benefit of your health.
A short while ago I read on a FB page of several people suffering dry, itchy skin after following certain diet plans, and was concerned whether it was down to the fact they were choosing low fat foods. This could possible be the case if they were cutting out good fats from their diets.
One of my favourite good fats is avocado, according to the diet plan I follow this is a food quite high in calories but not forbidden, I am happy to include this into my diet because I know that it benefits my health along with tasting good too.
A good way to include more good fats into your diet is to include oily fish, one of my favourites is salmon, doing this a couple of times a week will benefit your overall health.
I hope that you found this article useful and now have a better understanding of what are good fats.
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