Fat has a bad reputation. People tend to hold it responsible for many problems, including excess weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and much more.
In reality, fat is an integral part of our diet and existence. By trying to battle it, we are bringing on many health-related issues.
Let's look at fat from another angle. Debunking these myths can help you gain a new perspective on this important macronutrient.
MYTH #1: ALL FATS ARE THE SAME
Truth: Three major types of fats exist.
- Unsaturated fat — you can find this type of fat in meat, avocado, nuts, soybeans, olive oil, and more. These fats can be good for your heart, improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, and much more.
- Saturated fat — these fats exist in meat, butter, cheese, and other animal products. You can also find them in palm and coconut oils. Dietary guidelines suggest keeping the saturated fat consumption to less than 10% of calories per day.
- Trans fat — doesn't carry any nutritional value. You can generally find it in snacks, fried food, and baked goods. When you see "hydrogenated" oils on the label, the food contains trans fat. It can raise cholesterol and improve the chances of suffering from heart disease.
Trans fats are mainly responsible for fat obtaining a bad rep. By learning to tell fats apart, it's possible to reap the benefits of "good" fats while avoiding their "bad" counterparts.
MYTH #2: YOU DON'T NEED FAT IN YOUR DIET
Truth: Fat is a major component of our lives. By eliminating it from your diet, you are risking heart disease and other health issues. Fat brings energy to your body just like proteins and carbohydrates do. In fact, it's the most concentrated energy source.
- Fat carries fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in our bodies and supports their absorption.
- Good fat lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Unsaturated fat prevents abnormal heart rhythms.
- Good fat lowers blood pressure and prevents atherosclerosis.
Any fat your body doesn't use or convert into energy turns into body fat. The same thing happens to unused carbohydrates and proteins. So replacing fat with other micronutrients won't help you lose body fat.
MYTH #3: HIGH-FAT FOODS INCREASE CHOLESTEROL
Truth: Not all fats are created equal. Trans fats raise your "bad" cholesterol and lower your "good" cholesterol. However, unsaturated fats can reduce harmful LDL cholesterol and improve your cholesterol profile. They can also lower triglycerides.
Replacing saturated and trans fats with their unsaturated counterparts can help you improve your health.
MYTH #4: FAT CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN
Truth: Many people try to eliminate fat from their diet because they believe that it makes them...well... fat. In reality, fat consumption doesn't have that much to do with weight gain.
A long-term study evaluated 49,000 women who were on a low-fat diet. None of them experienced significant weight loss.
Sugar and carbohydrates are generally weight gain culprits. When you start reducing fat intake and beef up on other nutrients, you may be making yourself a disservice.
- You need less food to feel full if it contains fat.
- Fat tastes good so it can help you enjoy healthy snacks (e.g. a dash dressing or oil in your salad)
If you give your body too little fat, you may start experiencing fatigue due to the lack of energy-packed calories. This can eventually contribute to your sedentary way of life and higher overall calorie intake.
MYTH #5: FAT RAISES BLOOD SUGAR
Truth: Fat doesn't raise blood sugar resistance. In fact, insulin resistance can be improved when saturated fat is replaced with unsaturated fat.
When you eat carbohydrates with protein or fat, it's possible to reduce the rise in blood sugar while increasing insulin resistance and secretion.
People who suffer from diabetes need to pay special attention to the balance in their diet instead of eliminating fat altogether. By lowering the amount of fat in the food you eat, you risk eliminating important vitamins. This in turn could lead to other health problems.
MYTH #6: SATURATED FAT CAUSES HEART DISEASE
Truth: For many years, saturated fat was considered harmful. However, recent studies suggest that there is no connection between consuming too much saturated fat and heart disease.
While more studies need to be done, the research found that saturated fat can decrease the amount of denser LDL particles that scientists link to heart disease. Additionally, some types of saturated fats can increase HDL ("good") cholesterol.
Several large studies failed to find a strong link between saturated fat and heart-related issues.
It's worth noting that different types of saturated health exist. All of them can have a different impact on your health. Nutritious foods with a high saturated fat content like full-fat yogurt and dark poultry meat can be considered a part of a healthy diet.
MYTH #7: WOMEN SHOULD AVOID HIGH-FAT FOODS WHILE PREGNANT
Truth: Many women mistakenly believe that a low-fat diet can help them avoid a significant weight gain during pregnancy and keep their health in top shape. In reality, fat is an essential macronutrient for pregnant women.
While their body is seeking resources to support another human being, women are in big need of vitamins carried by fat. Meanwhile, the fetal brain needs dietary fat to develop properly.
Playing around with fats in your diet could lead to the baby's risks of obesity and metabolic disorders later in life.
MYTH #8: FAT-FREE PRODUCTS ARE GREAT FOR YOUR HEALTH
Truth: "Low-fat", "No-fat," "Fat-Free". We see these words on product labels every day. Advertisers portray the absence of fat as a good and healthy thing. In reality, by choosing these products, you may be undermining your health.
Generally, "low fat" and "fat-free" products are loaded with sugars and carbs that contribute to the progression of chronic issues like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Meanwhile, their high sugar content could affect certain hormones, leading to weight gain.
Additionally, fat-free products tend to contain harmful preservatives, artificial food dyes, and other unhealthy components.
If you'd like to learn more about healthy living without eliminating vital components from your diet, don't hesitate to contact us today.