Myths and Facts About Fats and Oils

Fats and oils have gotten bad reputations over the years, thanks to popular diets (fats are often cut out in menus and recipes) and some research findings (fats clog up your arteries that increase you risks of heart disease and stroke). But fats are actually necessary in maintaining good health. Aside from the amount of fat you consume, it is also important to know the type of fat that you are ingesting:

Monounsaturated fats

Main sources of monounsaturated fats include plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Other good sources are avocados; nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans; and seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.

People following traditional Mediterranean diets, which are very high in foods containing monounsaturated fats like olive oil tend to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Polyunsaturated fats

Chief of these type of fat include sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and also foods such as walnuts, flax seeds, and fish.

Polyunsaturated fats include the Omega-3 group of fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They are something our body can’t manufacture on its own, and are found in very few foods.

Saturated fat

Leading sources of saturated fats are animal products such as red meat and whole milk dairy products. Poultry and fish also contain saturated fat, but less than red meat. Other sources are tropical vegetable oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and foods made with these.

Saturated fats increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, which in turn, increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Consuming saturated fat is actually pointless since our bodies can manufacture all the saturated fat that we need when we consume enough of the good fats.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are created by through the process called hydrogenation. In this process, liquid vegetable oils are heated in the presence of hydrogen gas. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to spoil. This is why food manufacturers do this. Main sources of trans fat include vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, and other processed foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as well as lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.

Myth: Eating a low-fat Diet is the best way to curb obesity.

Fact:

The US obesity rate doubled in the last 20 years, at the same time that low-fat revolution was sweeping the nation. In the 60s, 45 percent of the calories Americans ate came from fat, and yet only 13 percent of the population was obese. Today, American s get only 33 percent of their calories from fat, but 34 percent of the population qualifies as obese.

Myth: Low-fat diets are essential to help you lose weight

Fact:

Based on the findings above, obviously cutting out fat from your diet has an opposite effect. When Americans started eating less fat, they grew fatter because they substituted healthy fats with easily digested carbohydrates, fat-free products that contain sugar and high-calorie, refined carbohydrates.

Source: helpguide.com