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The Skinny on Fats

Most people are surprised to learn that t fat has some virtues.  Only when people consume wither too much or too little does ill health follow.  In our society, it is true, that we are likely to encounter too much fat.

In contrast to proteins and carbohydrates, fats represent a biological material defined according to their solubility rather than their chemical structure. Fats are the least soluble in water. Substances classified as fats include: Triglycerides, Phospholipids, Cholesterol, Fatty Acids and Prostaglandins

These fats account for approximately 10-15% of the total body weight in a healthy male adult and 15-25% of the total body weight in a healthy female adult.  Fats are the most concentrated source of calories, providing twice as many as carbohydrates or proteins. A certain amount of fat is needed for a healthy body.

Here’s the Skinny on Fats

Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA) are found in animal food product, i.e., pork, beef, eggs and dairy products. SFA’s are also found in such tropical oils as palm blend oils and coconut oils which are often used in commercially baked goods. These fats raise blood cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in meat, poultry, fish, egg yolks, milk cream, cheese, butter and other dairy.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PFA) tend to reduce blood cholesterol levels and will not harm your heart. They are found most often in sunflower, corn, soybean and safflower oils and certain fish.

Mono-saturated Fatty Acids are similar to PFA’s in that they help to lower blood cholesterol when your diet is low is saturated fats. MFA’s are found in olive oil (extra virgin/cold pressed is best), canola and peanut and certain plan foods, such as avocado.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat believed t help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Omega-3’s are found in flax (seed and oil) and certain fish oils (salmon).

Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to a fat, making oils more saturated and solid. This process alters the nutritional value of the oil. Margarine and vegetable shortening contain hydrogenated oils. Stay away from these!

Brominated oils are used to bring life to old juices to give them a fresh appearance. They have been added to commercial fruit for more than 50 years. Brominated oils have been linked to changes in heart tissues, enlargement of the thyroid, fatty infiltration of the liver, kidney damage and testicular atrophy. It use continues widespread. Learn to read labels.

Listen; “fat free” is not the answer. We, as consumers have been taught that reducing our fat intake will protect us from heart disease cancer and obesity. Significant dietary changes have taken place in our culture since the beginning of the 20th century. Total sugar consumption, total fat consumption and the total consumption of altered fat substances have markedly creased. All three show a strong correlation with a disease state (nationally and individually). What needs to happen is that we begin to embrace the “right fat” rather that “fat free,” “no fat” and “low fat” alternatives,

Yes, lowering your fat intake can be difficult because fats make foods taste so delicious. To maintain overall health, we must give up all high fat food forever. Never again to eat marbled steak, hollandaise imported cheese, etc. Ouch, that hurts. No I do not expect you to do that because these foods do bring pleasure to a meal and can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet when eaten in small quantities on occasion, but it is true that these foods are not every day foods. The key word for fat is not deprivation, but moderation; appreciate the energy and enjoyment that fat provides, but take care not to exceed your needs and please stay away from those nasty fats that clog up everything, including the kitchen drain.


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