Are you looking for good healthy fats? A few years ago when they were saying fat was bad for you. Everything suddenly became available in “fat-free” varieties. They said if you stick to these fat-free varieties we were all supposed to be safe from the “bad” fat and we would all be thin and beautiful. A few months passed and not only were we not thin, we had all gained weight. Seems that getting rid of the fat from these products did not magically make them calorie free in any way. In fact, the lack of dietary fat left us unsatisfied and eating more than we would have if the fat had been present. The words fat-free lulled us into complacent thinking and our hips and thighs paid the price.
Flash forward to better research and a more sensible approach to food in general and a change in attitude about fats in particular. Nutritionists now tell us that some fat is healthy, and actually beneficial to a healthy diet. No longer the monster that it once was considered, good healthy fats has now earned its own place in the food pyramid, rather than being stuck in with the sweets and other treats. Fats are not as despised as they once were, and can be a good part of a healthy diet plan.
Fats should not be arbitrarily dismissed as bad – some of them are actually beneficial. The best of the good healthy fats are the Omega-3s. These can be found in wild fish – (salmon, herring, sardines) flax seeds and oil, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
Some more good healthy fats is monounsaturated fat. You see the health benefits when you realize that the Mediterranean diet is made up of what could be described at first glance as unhealthy. Nearly half of the total calories are fat calories, (about 40%) – but most of that is monounsaturated fat. The diet has been touted in books especially since it has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. There is also the chance that olive oil, (the source of most of the fats in this diet), can have other helpful benefits from reducing inflammation to reducing blood pressure and blood sugar. Besides olive oil, good sources of these monounsaturated fats are hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, avocado and seeds such as sesame and pumpkin.
Although saturated fats are generally thought of as bad for you across the board, there are actually some potentially good ones here too. Further research will be needed, but preliminary findings suggest that the saturated fats like those found in coconut and coconut milk may be beneficial. For now, the only thing that everyone can agree on is that the major sources of saturated fats in the American diet should be limited or avoided altogether. These would include: lamb, feedlot raised beef, and pork.
It would be very difficult to eliminate every source of fat from your diet. It would also be very detrimental for your health as you lose some of the benefits that come from the good healthy fats. In the end, your body will not be as satisfied with the low-fat or fat free food anyway, leading you to eat even more than you would have, so look out for the good healthy fats in products, mind your portion sizes and stop thinking of all fat as bad.
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