Fats have been vilified for decades. They were stricken from diets and marketed as the cause of all health problems. Nutritionists and doctors recommended low-fat diets for weight management, health improvement and general living. Recently, all of that has been proven wrong. First and foremost, fat is necessary for your body. Certain vitamins can only be absorbed in the presence of fat. The membrane of every cell in your body contains fat. Eliminating fat from your diet can damage the viability of your cells and cause vitamin deficiencies. This isn’t to say that all fats are wonderful for you, though. One type of fat, known as trans fat, isn’t always so good for your body. While trans fat can occur naturally, the primary source of trans fat in the modern diet is man-made food.
Man-made trans fats can destroy your cholesterol levels and clog your arteries. Additionally, these trans fats also create inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance. Man-made trans fats have no known health benefits and you should exclude them from your diet. If this sounds similar to the aforementioned fat hype, you’re right, but this is where the similarities end. Saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats were previously included in the fat hype. Today, nutrition scientists realize that these three fats aren’t as bad as we once thought. These fats are found in natural sources like fish, meat, avocados, nuts, seeds and dairy. Saturated fats are still vilified to an extent, but they’re credited for benefiting your body and helping to equalize cholesterol levels.
Recent studies have shown that saturated fats do not contribute to heart disease risk, as once believed, and they are generally considered safe for your diet by reputable sources like Harvard Medical School. Unsaturated fats are so far removed from the fat hype that they are now recognized as good for the body. They can improve cholesterol levels, rather than damage them, and they reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, unsaturated fats have been linked to longer life expectancy and reduced risk of disease in various cultures for reasons yet unproven. Nutrition scientists recommend consuming as much of these fats as you can. Another type of fat is omega-3 fatty acid.
Omega-3s are primarily found in fish and they have been linked to lower blood pressure, decreased risk of disease and lower risk of arthritis. Like other unsaturated fats, nutrition scientists recommend consuming as much omega-3 fatty acid as possible. Salmon and other fatty fish are excellent sources of this type of fat. With modern research, it’s time for the average consumer to quit shunning fats and to take a closer look at their diet. Carbohydrates and grains are a hot topic right now, and each person must decide for themselves whether this research is as unreliable as the fat hype of the past or if it represents the nutrition community finally figuring out human health.