Know Your Fats to Slim Down and Stay Healthy
There are quite a few myths you may have heard about fat. No doubt you've heard some useful information too, but if you're not a nutritionist, how can you tell fat fact from fat fiction?
No problem. That's why we're here, bringing you your monthly portion of sense and sanity in The Diet Data Files.
Let's look at the proven facts about fat:
Fat Fact #1: Yes, There Are "Good" Fats and "Bad" Fats
Let's start with the "bad" fats. Try to limit the amount of trans fats you eat: trans fats are often used in snacks such as cookies and crackers, as well as some margarines, and food products that use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Food labeling now includes trans fats, so you can check before you buy. The healthier fats are ones like olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil or canola.
Scientific evidence shows that consumption of trans fat raises "bad" cholesterol levels that increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Fat Fact #2: Eating Saturated Fat Isn't So Bad
Adding saturated fat to your diet doesn't necessarily increase the levels of saturated fat or triglycerides in your blood. High carbohydrate diets, on the other hand, directly increase triglycerides in the blood, which may be linked to atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
Fat Fact #3: Fat-Free Doesn't Always Mean Healthy
Many fat-free foods are healthy, of course, but there are plenty of foods in your local supermarket and grocery store with a big "Fat-Free!" label that still won't do your health much good. For example, sugar is fat-free, but if you eat a bag of sugar each day you won't lose weight or feel healthy.
Fat Fact #4: Fat Cells Don't Vanish When You Slim Down
Here's an interesting fact about your fat: no diet or exercise can actually remove fat cells from your body. We have the same number of fat cells throughout adulthood -- when we lose weight, our fat cells shrink but they don't "die" or "disappear" (and sorry, gym fans, but you can't "turn fat into muscle" either).
Fat Fact #5: Fats Contain Twice the Calories, But Are More Filling
Ounce for ounce, fat is twice as calorific as protein and carbohydrate -- one ounce of sugar contains half as many calories as one ounce of fat. However, fat is also 2-3 times more filling than carbohydrates or protein. So if you eat a meal that includes fats, you won't feel hungry for 2 or 3 times longer than if you eat only proteins and carbohydrates.
Fat Fact #6: Fat In Your Food Doesn't Equal Fat on Your Body
This is the most important and commonly confused fat fact of them all. Just because you eat fat doesn't automatically mean you'll gain fat. People on high-fat but low-carb diets typically lose more weight and lower their risk for heart disease, atherosclerosis and stroke compared to those who go the opposite route with a high-carb, low-fat diet.
So the next time you're reaching for the low-fat option, just remember fat is not your enemy. And keep a watchful eye on those pesky carbohydrates!
By Sophie Lizard