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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly — Fat That is

There’s a three letter word that has made us run for the hill since the 80s. It makes us gain weight and become ill — or at least that’s what we were told. I’m talking about F-A-T, of course, the “enemy” with the undeserved bad rep.

The Zero-Fat Craze

In the early 80s, word spread that fat was bad, leading to an endless supply of zero-fat products. From yogurt to muffins, we were blindly led towards a diet packed with added sugar — the true culprit behind rising rates of obesity.

With research in its early stages, fat was misrepresented, causing the population to shift their attention towards carbohydrates. Although researchers recommended complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables — this message got misrepresented, as heavily processed foods began to surface.

As the years passed, we discovered that eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, your body and mind require fat in order to function at an optimal level. When essential fats are avoided, you can quickly suffer from:

  • Dry, dull skin
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Increased cravings for fatty (typically unhealthy) foods
  • Confusion and poor attention
  • Poor mood

What Is “Good” Fat Anyway?

When it comes to “good” fat that promotes positive health, it’s all about the type of fat you consume.

Here is a short list to help you increase your intake of health-promoting fats while eliminating fats that sabotage your weight and overall well-being.

  1. Completely avoid trans fats — This is the WORST fat of them all, often used within a wide range of heavily processed and fried foods. This type of fat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and potentially even dementia.
  2. Consume saturated fats in moderation — Occurring naturally in animal and plant-based products, including meat, butter, cheese and coconut oil, when eating these types of foods, make sure you opt for quality over quantity. When consumed in excess, you can increase your risk of metabolic syndrome.
  3. Happily, eat monounsaturated fat — These types of fats have been shown to promote positive cardiovascular health, reducing your risk of heart disease. Consume more olive oil, nuts, and avocado.
  4. It doesn’t get much better than polyunsaturated fat — Includes essential fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Found in foods such as fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, algae and safflower oil, it’s critical that we strive for a 1:1 ratio regarding these fatty acids.

When you begin to eat a balanced whole food diet, you won’t need to worry about “fat” content.

Stay tuned to Fitness 4 Less for more nutrition and fitness tips.