There has been so much confusion about fats and oils and the content in our foods. I hope to clear things up for you in this 3-part article. Through this, you will see that the answer to the question, “will eating fat make me fat,” is no unless someone consumes unhealthy fats along with other unhealthy poor quality nutrition. Fat has been vilified for decades, and I am here to speak on behalf of healthy fats and them being essential in a healthy dietary plan.
The 3-parts of this article will include content as follows:
What Makes a Good Fat?
A good, or healthy fat is one that nourishes the very core of your cells, since the cellular membrane designed to protect health and fight disease is comprised of fat. This includes but is not limited to fatty acids such as omega-3s found in fatty fish, monounsaturated fats in avocados, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s) in coconuts. All and some others too are good fats that nourish your body and health in many beneficial ways.
Let’s look at several pieces of information that have been promoted about fats (the old way) and what is actually correct so that you have an accurate perspective (the new way).
Promoted1-6: Saturated fats cause cardiovascular disease, heart problems, and higher mortality rates.
Actual1-6: Though never proved, American Dietary Guidelines have promoted for decades that saturated fat is bad for our health. On the contrary, studies show that saturated fat does not contribute to cardiovascular disease, heart problems, a higher mortality rate, or other health problems.
Promoted7-9: Low fat diets are better for heart health and weight loss.
Actual7-9,12: After low fat diets were promoted in the US starting in the 1960’s, not only did heart disease rates not improve, our nation’s overweight and obesity problems rose. It is evident that low fat is not the way to go, especially when it is replaced with carbohydrates.
Promoted10-11: Seed and vegetable oils (e.g. Corn, Soybean, Cottonseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Rice Bran, Peanut, Canola, etc.) are better for your health, are considered “heart-healthy,” and you should replace saturated fats with these types of oils.
Actual10-11: These oils involve a harsh extraction process with harmful solvents and they are high in Omega-6 fatty acids. It is true we need both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, yet the excess of Omega-6 contributes to inflammation, which is a cause of illness and disease. Some of these oils also contain trans-fats, which have consistently, without debate, been accurately promoted as unhealthy and a cause of disease.
What Are Types of Fats?13-14
What Are Health Benefits of Fats?
Healthy fats must be consumed to build optimum health. Though there are rare cases when someone should be consuming a low-fat dietary regimen, as it is not best for most. That even goes for those who may no longer have a gallbladder or deal with fat malabsorption issues. If that is the case, there are things you can do to mitigate that, enjoy healthy fats, and absorb essential fat-soluble nutrients.
Many degenerative diseases are due to eating habits based on fiction, not facts—or fats. There are healthy fats; there are killing fats. Here are just some examples of conditions where healthy fats are important. This, of course, is not an exhaustive list of diseases that benefit from consumption of healthy fats as there are so many more:
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
This is that can-of-worms. We established much of the correlation, or lack of correlation between healthy fats and cardiovascular disease.
• Omega-3s and the brain:
Fat consumption is key in many other health conditions including arthritis, PMS, migraines, yeasts, constipation, and more. There’s alot to explore about how fat can better benefit you and your particular health concerns, but for the most part the rules are the same:
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series. We will discuss terminology used with fats and oils, how to use fats for best quality, specific healthy and unhealthy fats, usage guidelines for consuming healthy fats, and other tips about fats.
1. Hite AH, Feinman RD, Wood RJ, et al. In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee. Nutrition.. 2010;26(10):915-924. doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2010.08.012.
2. Hooper L, Martin N, Abdelhamid A, Smith
in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Systematic Review. 2015. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011737.
3. de Souza RJ, Mente A, Maroleanu A, et al. Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2015. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3978.
4. Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725.
5. Chowdhury R, Warnakula S, Di Angelantonio E, et al. Association of dietary, circulating, and supplement fatty acids
with coronary risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ann Intern
Med. 2014. doi:10.7326/M13-1788.
Schwab U, Lauritzen L, Tholstrup T, et
al. Effect of the amount and type of
dietary fat on cardiometabolic risk factors and risk of developing type 2
diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer: a systematic review. Food
Nutr Res. 2014. doi:10.3402/fnr.v58.25145.
7. La Berge AF.
How the ideology of low fat
conquered America. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 2008;63(2):139-177. doi.org/10.1093/jhmas/jrn001.
8. Howard BV, Van Horn L, Hsia J, et al. Low-fat
dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease: The Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled
dietary modification trial. JAMA.
9. Yancy Jr WS, Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC. A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Int Med. 2004. http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/717451/low-carbohydrate-ketogenic-diet-versus-low-fat-diet-treat-obesity
10. Evidence based studies and research references within this article. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/are-vegetable-and-seed-oils-bad.
11. Ascherio A, Willett WC. Health effects of trans fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;66(4):1006S-1010S. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/66/4/1006S.short.
12. Carnahan JC. Groundbreaking news: low fat diets increase risk of death, study says. https://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/public/1266.cfm. Accessed February 11, 2018.
13. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/. Accessed October 29, 2018.
14. Jacob A. Balancing Act. Today’s Dietician. (2013);15(4):38. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/040113p38.shtml.
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