For years we have been told to avoid dietary fats at all costs. They are the leading cause of heart disease and so many other ailments it would take years to talk about all the dangers which have been attributed to fat intake. The witch hunt seems to have taken hold in the 1980s and since then has become a multi-billion-dollar industry in which many have grown very fat pockets while Americans have been deprived of some fats which can actually be good for you.
So, in answer to the question, “Is there any such thing as a healthy fat in your diet,” the answer is yes. Even so, it isn’t quite that simple. You first need to understand the difference between the three basic kinds of fats and how to avoid the three groups which medical science has proven are not good for you.
A Look at the Three Groups of Fats to Be Concerned With
According to information published by Harvard, there are three groups of fats which are mostly to be avoided. The bad fats are called trans fats which is nothing more than a process whereby healthy oils are turned into solid form. (More about healthier fats in a minute.) These are hydrogen heavy fats and you will find them labeled as “partially hydronated oil.” If you see this, don’t buy the product!
Then there are those fats which are what Harvard classifies as “in-between” fats and these are the saturated fats commonly used in the American diet. Common sources of saturated fats are whole milk and dairy products, red meats and coconut oil. Saturated fats are bad for you because they can drive bad (LDL) cholesterol limits through the roof.
Finally, we have the good stuff, or rather, not so bad stuff. Monosaturated fats would include olive oil and have fewer hydrogen atoms which make them easier to digest and also remain liquid at room temperature Good sources of these fats include peanut oil, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, safflower oil and sunflower oil.
But, What About Fish Oil?
Here we have a conundrum. Fish seems to be ‘almost’ in a world of its own. While it is a polyunsaturated fat by which many food industries claim health benefits, is it really good for you? Harvard says yes it is! It can help to reduce LDL, the bad stuff, in your blood, thereby reducing arterial buildup of plaque. Harvard warns against believing that fish oil which includes the omega 3 complex can cure disease.
What they do state is that there are known benefits that can relieve muscle soreness and other types of ailments brought on by inflammation. If you aren’t partial to fish, you can take omega 3 supplements which contain the fish oil without the taste of fish. It’s much like taking garlic capsules to avoid walking around smelling like a plate of scampi.
The bottom line is to understand the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly. If you can’t eat foods rich in healthy fats, supplements are available. In either case, nothing will do much good if you continue to eat the bad or in-between stuff. Your health is in your hands when it comes to fat consumption, so always choose wisely.