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The Straight Truth About Dietary Fat – Is It Good or Bad?
- Updated: February 2, 2013
By Drew Stegman –
One of the most important factors that will determine your health and body composition is your diet. But where many people get confused is when they hear the word fat. They automatically enter panic mode and push away their plate if a food has too much fat in it and they would not dare touch saturated fat. But what’s the straight truth behind fat? Is saturated fat really bad for us? What about trans fats? And can the right types of fats in your diet really help you lose weight?
Before I go any further, I want to list the four fat sources and what food sources they can be found in:
· Saturated fats: Found in things like meat, eggs, cheese and butter.
· Monounsaturated fats: Found in things like nuts, olive oil, canola oil and grape seed oil.
· Polyunsaturated fats: Found in things like fish, other types of seafood, soybeans and flax seed.
· Trans Fats: Found in things like fried chicken, doughnuts and pretty much anything that is packaged, processed or refined. More on this later.
You’ve probably heard of the “good” fats which raise your HDL (good) cholesterol and are very beneficial for your health. On the other hand, you’ve probably heard that there are bad fats as well which have a negative effect on your health and cholesterol, raising your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowering your HDL cholesterol as well. But is there any truth to this statement?
In addition to hearing about good fats and bad fats, you’ve probably also heard that the good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats while the bad fats are trans fats and saturated fats. While there is some truth to this, they have the saturated fats placed in the wrong category.
Do a quick Google search on the subject and I guarantee you will not find one study even suggesting that saturated fat is bad for you. In fact, you’ll find dozens of testimonials and studies that suggest the opposite. Why is this? Because saturated fat was never the cause of heart disease! Period. There is absolutely no scientific evidence linking saturated fat with an increased risk factor for cardiovascular disease; yet it is a huge nutrition myth that nearly everybody believes. Still believe that saturated fat is bad for you? Do a quick Google search on the ‘The Truth about Saturated Fat & Cholesterol’ and I guarantee that you will not find a single study even suggesting that saturated fat is bad for you. Instead, you’ll find dozens of testimonials and studies suggesting the opposite.
Quite honestly, the only type of fat that you need to avoid is trans fats, since these are the only types of fats that have a negative impact on your health. Trans fats are processed, chemically altered fats that are made in a lab and are found in many of the processed, packaged, refined and fried foods we eat today, primarily because they increase the shelf life of certain foods and besides, they taste good. But trans fats have many negative health consequences, including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, increased LDL and decreased HDL and so on. You should avoid trans fats at all times.
Now do not be deceived when you look on the nutrition labels of many foods, since you will probably see that there is zero grams of trans fat per serving. But what many people don’t know is that if there is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, then they don’t have to post it on the nutrition label. So in order to be 100% sure rather or not a food has trans fat in it, look on the label and find the ingredients. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening” or anything similar, then trans fats have been used.
Next time somebody tells you to stay away from saturated fats, tell them to take a hike. And while I will agree with the notion that trans fats are still bad for your health, this is the only thing I will agree with. As far as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats go, they are still incredibly nutritious for you as well. Fats should make up at least 30% of your diet and don’t worry – you won’t drop dead from a heart attack. In fact, increasing the amount of fat in your diet can help reduce your risk of a heart attack, stroke, diabetes and many other diseases as well. Including fat in your diet can also help you lose fat, since it helps keep you full in between meals. Some researchers are even suggesting that fat can improve your longevity, so make sure you fatten up your diet if you want to be healthy and lose weight.
My name is Drew and if there’s one thing I love doing in this world, it’s helping my clients find the best ways to lose weight and gain muscle fast. I’ve been in the fitness world now for 20 years and I have helped hundreds of people get into incredible shape, using the same workout principles and diet techniques that are in this article. I always make it my best effort to do my research on everything before telling somebody anything, because without solid scientific evidence my argument would be invalid. I hope you find this article as useful as many others have.
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