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Fats 101: Myths, Types…and What EXACTLY Is Good for You?

Fats 101: What’s good and what isn’t?

Welcome to Nutrition is USA’s crash course on Fats 101, where we dive deep into dietary fats, debunking fat myths, analyzing types, and uncovering what’s ACTUALLY good for you.

In a world cluttered with misinformation, understanding fats is essential for making the best choices about your health. Join us as we separate fact from fiction.

Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are created equal, and knowing the difference can significantly impact your overall well-being. From saturated to unsaturated, we’ll break down the various types and their effects on a person’s body.

So, whether you’re skeptical of olive oil’s health claims or puzzled by the avocado craze, this post on Fats 101 has got you covered. Get ready to demystify the world of fats and debunk fat myths once and for all!

Fats 101
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All dietary fat is NOT created equally

This is the biggest fat myth people get hung up on, when, in fact, experts say that it’s crucial to understand how good fat can be.

They all provide nine calories per gram, but different types of fats have different nutritional implications and chemical structures, explains a New York-based dietitian and author of The F-Factor Diet.

There are three distinct types of fat. Trans fats concealed in baked goods, processed foods, and margarine have absolutely NO health benefits. Saturated fats like full-fat dairy, butter, and red meat raise cholesterol levels, which raise the risk of heart disease.

And healthy unsaturated fats found in peanut, olive, and canola oils, nuts, avocado, and seeds help prevent stroke and heart disease.

Taking a drastic approach to all fat in the diet could point to losing weight AND health benefits because healthy fats allow us to feel full longer, controlling our appetite.

Furthermore, the American Heart Association recently noted that replacing saturated fat with more beneficial fat in your diet reduces cardiovascular disease risk as much as taking powerful cholesterol-lowering medications.

Does eating fat make us fat?

That’s the first thing you need to learn in this Fats 101 course. The answer is a big fat NOPE, says a dietitian at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The good kind of fat is good for you and won’t make you gain weight.

But we still have this mentality that eating fat will make us fat. Good fats including olive oil, avocado, nuts, and nut butter, will take more time to digest and keep us feeling fuller longer than protein and carbs, cutting down on your cravings and the temptation to overeat.

Is a low-fat diet best for weight loss?

Many believe that following a low-fat diet is the key to weight loss success. But this is simply just another fat myth. On the contrary, experts say that fat is a significant energy source and is essential for cell growth.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines suggest that the public replace saturated and trans fats with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avoiding ALL fats won’t necessarily lead to weight loss.

It’s equally important to be mindful of what you’re replacing saturated fat with. For instance, refined carbs consumed in excess can lead to weight gain.

So, which fats are healthy?

The American Heart Association has a straightforward perspective on Fats 101: Artificial trans fat, hydrogenated oils, and tropical oils are NOT good for your body. Saturated fats are OK, but in small doses.

Just be aware that it has the potential to increase your risk of heart disease. And all in all, there’s one type of fat your body adores: unsaturated, especially omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

So now that we’ve debunked a few fat myths, continue reading to learn about the healthy fats you should be eating.

Fats 101
Photo by Evan Lorne at Shutterstock

Which foods have healthy fats?

Avocados: Just one more reason to love that avocado toast, right? Approximately 67% of an avocado is luscious, body-loving fat. They’re full of a MUFA called oleic acid.

And studies show that oleic acid can help prevent obesity and maybe even lower your risk of some diseases.

Dark chocolate: Just an ounce of 60 to 69% of cacao dark chocolate will net you almost 11 grams of fat. But what makes this delicious snack so great is how the fat serves as a medium for brain-boosting nutrients like flavonols, plus a tiny bit of an energy boost from caffeine.

Research shows that dark chocolate can lower your risk of heart disease AND memory issues later in life. So you should enjoy high-quality dark chocolate which has less than 10 grams of added sugar in each serving for the best health benefits.

Whole eggs: There are fat myths surrounding eggs at times as well. But the reality is that they’re perfect little nuggets of nutrition. One cooked egg has 4.76 grams of all-natural fat.

It comes with a heaping helping of choline, muscle-friendly protein, and heart-friendly vitamin B2. Is it starting to make sense that healthy fats frequently act as the delivery agent for all kinds of essential minerals and vitamins?

In addition to shuttling nourishment directly to your body, those healthy fats help you feel satisfied.

Fatty fish: We already know about omega-3 fatty acids. Your body will appreciate you for netting a few servings of heart-healthy fatty fish per week.

A mere 3.75-ounce tin of sardines has 903 milligrams of enriching omega-3s that are fantastic for your heart and brain. Some other delicious options include:

-Fresh tuna

Nuts: Aren’t nuts the perfect snack? They’re chock-full of energizing unsaturated fats. That’s probably why so many people go for the trail mix, whether taking a leisurely hike around the local lake or climbing a huge summit.

And chia seeds pack a whole lot of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in a tasty package. In fact, according to research, the oil in chia seeds is made up of 25% omega-3s and 75% omega-6s. This is a super-healthy balance of fatty acids.

It’s pretty easy to add chia seeds to your diet, too. Whip chia seed pudding, bake them into muffins, or stir some into your water. Here are some other nutty options you can try:

-Macadamia nuts
-Brazil nuts

Flaxseed: Like chia, flaxseed is a rising superstar with fiber and healthy fats. For instance, a 20-gram portion of flaxseed has 8 grams of fat to promote your brainpower and about 5 grams of fiber to maintain your intestines healthy.

The healthy fatty acids in flaxseed must be “unlocked” to allow your body to absorb them. That’s why most people opt for ground flaxseed mixed into baked goods, spread on top of cereal, or blended into a morning smoothie.

Fats 101
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Full-fat yogurt: You already know about the good bacteria in yogurt…probiotics for the win! But did you know that natural, full-fat, or Greek yogurt also has 8 grams of fluffy fat per cup?

Even though the fat in yogurt is saturated, studies indicate that saturated fat from dairy doesn’t raise your risk of heart disease. Taking advantage of the health perks of yogurt is simple: Simply choose full-fat yogurt with no added sugar.

But don’t worry. You can sweeten it with fresh fruit instead!

So now that we’ve concluded our Fats 101 class and debunked some important fat myths, what do YOU think? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

And don’t go away just yet! Nutrition In USA has so much more to offer it’s readers. For instance, we highly recommend you also check out: Myths Debunked: Bad Nutrition Advice Dietitians Want You to Forget

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