Fighting Fat-Free: The Truth About Your Diet
Many people think in order to have a healthy diet, they must remove fats from their eating habits. Many grocery stores stock options for “light” products, “reduced fat” and “fat-free” options to persuade customers into believing it is healthier for them. Unfortunately, this can't be further from the truth. Marketing specialists' jobs are to advertise a product so it sells, and fat-free products are all the rage in today's world. In this article, you'll discover why fat-free isn't as great as it sounds, the different types of fats your body recognizes and much more.
The Different Types of Fat
There are several different types of fat that your body recognizes, and all of it comes from the food you include in your daily diet. Your body can't manufacture its own, so it has to rely on food sources to supply the necessary fat content. If you are including reduced fat and fat-free products into your daily diet, chances are that you are not giving your body the type of fat it needs, and instead fueling your body with harmful chemicals.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are considered beneficial fats to the body, even improving blood cholesterol levels. Studies have shown these fats to ease inflammation in the both, stabilize heart rhythms and play a number of other beneficial roles in your body's health and daily function.
There are two types of beneficial unsaturated fats, and those are monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in many different foods such as avocados, nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in many foods such as sunflower, corn and flaxseed oils, walnuts, flax seeds and fish. A type of polyunsaturated fat is called omega-3. This is most commonly introduced to the body by eating fish regularly or eating flax, walnuts, or including canola or soybean oil into your cooking.
Saturated fats are not as good for your body and may contribute to raising cholesterol levels in large amounts. Though the subject is controversial, many long-term studies have been done to find inconclusive results when it comes to saturated fats playing a role in raised cardiovascular disease risks.
One study published a presentation stating that saturated fats are not healthy.
In any case, given that you are consuming small amounts, the fat is harmless and commonly found in many foods. In fact, all foods that contain any fat at all usually contain a certain mixture of fat types. Even healthy foods such as chicken and nuts have minimal saturated fats counts, though many of our favorite foods are higher in saturated fats than otherwise. These foods consist mostly of animal products such as beef, cheese, and ice cream. Plant-based food that has a higher saturated fat count include coconut products, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
Why Fat-Free is Bad For YouTrans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, are produced by heating vegetable oils that are in a liquid state, in a process called hydrogenation. This process, creating a solid oil, is where partially hydrogenated oils come from and their purpose is both in cooking and in shelf life. These oils are less likely to become rancid and can withstand repeated, high heat without the molecules breaking down, which makes them perfect for frying fast food.
Trans fat isn't only man-made – it is also found in beef and dairy fats. Unfortunately, these fats are not healthy for your cholesterol thanks to raising your bad LDL and lowering your good HDL.
When you walk into the grocery store and see fat-free products on the shelf, it may be a wonder why these aren't good for you. Fat makes up a majority of the taste in different foods and to avoid losing any taste, manufacturers often pack their products full of fillers and chemicals. These fillers may range anywhere from sugar, flour, sucrose, modified corn starch and free glutamates.
The list goes on of GMO chemicals and fillers. Are we consuming all of that just to avoid something that is healthy for our body and necessary for optimal function, at least in the case of unsaturated fats?
Foods With Healthy Fats To Look For
To end this article, below are four examples of foods with healthy fats to look for next time you're at the grocery store. We've also included a handy example of what you can use to make with these ingredients.
- 1. Salmon
Salmon is fantastic to cook with and supplies your body with much-needed omega-3 fatty acids. You can easily grill or pan-fry salmon with a soy sauce and pecan glaze to make a tasty meal.
- 2. Avocados
Avocados are filled with healthy fats for your body, but it's tough to make a healthy meal with avocado as the focus. It goes great mashed and seasoned with chicken tacos and queso fresco.
- 3. Natural Peanut Butter
The ingredients list on the jar should simply state “peanut butter”, and it's important to avoid hydrogenated oils here.
Natural peanut butter is a brilliant source of protein and helps you feel full for in-between-meal snacks. This peanut butter is fantastic in a morning smoothie with bananas, spinach, protein powder and whole milk. This is easy wake-up fuel to help get you going.
- 4. Walnuts
Walnuts are an amazing nut for getting more unsaturated fats into your diet. With skin-on chicken thighs, place a small pat of butter under the skin and season it to your liking, adding some spice and walnuts over the top. These garnishes will cook onto the chicken skin and create a delicious spicy-sweet taste.