When it comes to dieting or eating healthy, it’s easy to go to extremes. There are health benefits you can experience by avoiding fatty foods. However, it’s not so clear-cut when it comes to fat in your diet.
Completely cutting fat out of your life isn’t the answer. A completely fat-free diet plan can be harmful. If you are still growing, eating a balance of proteins and fats can help your body stay healthy. Many people think their only option to get taller is to see a chiropractor. While you don’t have too much control over your height, keeping your body as healthy as possible is important. Being able to recognize good fats versus bad fats is the beginning of your journey to eating healthy.
The word fat has developed such a negative connotation it’s difficult to believe good fats exist. These fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, are not just good for you but essential. The names can be a mouthful, but the important part is the “un-saturated”. This means that at room temperature these fats are liquid. Think oils.
Monounsaturated fats can be found in a common kitchen ingredient: olive oil. Olive oil is a great example of a good fat that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. In a now famous study, the question was asked why the people of the Mediterranean, who ate more fat on average, had lower cases of heart disease. It turns out that the oleic acid in olive oil’s monounsaturated fat reduced inflammation around the heart.
Polyunsaturated fats are again commonly found as oils, in the corn and sunflower oils used for cooking around the world. The Harvard Medical School’s blog tells us that polyunsaturated fats aren’t just good for us but form some of the building blocks of life. Polyunsaturated fats can’t be made by the human body; they need to be consumed through food. These fats are vital in maintaining cell wall structure and the coverings of nerve endings.
In the Middle
Saturated fats exist in an awkward grey area between good and bad fats. Studies and experts don’t say that these fats are good, but neither can they agree on how bad for you they are. Saturated fats, typically consumed through meat and dairy, are solid at room temperature. The consensus is that you want to take in less saturated fats and more unsaturated fats if you’re worried about heart disease. Like a lot of things in life, moderation is important with saturated fats.
Unlike saturated fats, trans fats have no redeeming qualities. Trans fats are the dietary equivalent of a black hole. They were linked with causing insulin resistance and raising levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Once upon a time, it was hard to avoid trans fat as it was in
- Baked goods
- Fast food oils
In the United States and many other countries trans fats are considered so harmful they have now been banned.
Putting It All Together
Life is a balancing act. Every day we are confronted with countless little decisions that add up to make our daily existence. Eating the right balance of good fats and bad fats can lead to an overall improvement in your health. Better fats equal a better you!